Home selling Deal Breakers

home selling

Is there a ‘perfect home’ out there? It’s good to start searching with a list of needs and wants but is it possible to check each off? When shopping for a home, most buyers are willing to compromise a little but some issues can be definite home selling deal breakers. For example, clients of mine recently bought a property that had an odd-shaped yard lacking RV parking. However, because it fit in so many other ways they were comfortable moving forward with the purchase.

On the other hand, there are some large issues that are definitely home selling deal breakers. Recounting my experience, below are the top 10 items you should consider fixing prior to listing your home to avoid a longer sale time and lower offers.

The list below is in no particular order but fixing each issue before selling will encourage quicker and better offers.

old roofing impact home selling

Old roofing

One of the biggest home selling deal breakers for anyone buying, unless they are a roofer, is a dilapidated roof. Ask most buyers how much they think it will cost to replace a roof and they generally guess a high number. That means they will turn away or request more off the price than the cost of replacing the current roof. With old roofing being very noticeable it can turn buyers off before seeing the rest of the property or inquiring at all.

Structural issues

Structural issues are a definite deal-breaker because they are expensive and can point toward other big issues. A property with structural issues is almost unsellable so it’s important to fix issues. Even if a buyer was interested in purchasing a home with structural problems they’ll only offer a fire sale price. Check with your insurance company to see if a claim is possible to help mitigate the cost of repairs.

“Avoid as many home selling
deal-breakers as you
can to encourage the
best sale price.”

Old furnace

Furnaces are viewed as expensive home repairs so if you have an old furnace replacement might be a good investment. Buyers see a new furnace as one less thing they have to replace and they see the improved efficiency as more affordable long term. Always give your furnace a good cleaning too to make it look newer.

Home selling deal breaker poly-b

Poly-b water supply tubing

Currently, polybutylene (Poly-B) plumbing is a major home selling deal breaker in Alberta. Insurance companies are reluctant to provide coverage on homes with Poly-B plumbing as losses from ruptures can be massive. Poly-B water supply plumbing isn’t always obvious but it will come up in a home inspection. And if insurance companies won’t insure a home with Poly-B tubing, and buyers require insurance for a mortgage, it’s an absolute deal-breaker. The quotes to replace Poly-B tubing I’ve seen range between $4000 – $10,000 and because of insurance concerns replacement is needed.

Old hot water tank

Hot water tanks aren’t as durable as before and home inspectors consider them replaceable after 10 years. If your planning to sell and your water heater is old replacing it will avoid an “X” on an inspection. Buyers imagine the cost to replace a water heater as much higher than it is and that’s why replacing an old one is beneficial. If your water heater isn’t very old give it a really good cleaning to make it look newer.


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Old windows

Old windows are an issue most buyers want to avoid even though they might operate fine. Replacing windows is very expensive but it can improve your sales price. To determine if it’s cost-effective to replace your old windows consult an experienced Realtor®

old fencing shows badly

Old decking and fencing

Buyers want to be proud of their new home and show their friends and family. An unkempt yard might be easy to remedy but old fencing and decking are embarrassing for buyer. If your fence is in disrepair it’s a good idea to repair it. Rotten wood will scare buyers. If your fence and deck only need paint or stain it will pay off to do so. Don’t just paint over rotten wood because when it’s pointed out in the home inspection buyers will assume there’s more.

Broken windows

If a window is broken buyers will want it replaced before moving in. It can also affect a buyer’s first impression. You’d be surprised how relatively affordable replacing a pane of glass is and it’s definitely worth doing before selling.

Worn flooring and old carpet

More and more buyers are avoiding carpet but all worn flooring can be a home sale deal breaker. Even buyers who appreciate carpet aren’t interested in old carpet. To make your home more likeable consider replacing carpet with hard flooring and replace worn flooring with something new. If your home is full of old flooring you will receive lower offers because a new owner won’t be proud of showing it off. If an entire home is out of date replacing only one item like flooring might not encourage a higher price and renovating everything might not show a high enough return. In cases where you don’t know where to stop with improvements, you might be better off pricing accordingly rather than investing more than it’s worth.

Golden oak can be a deal breaker

Golden Oak finishings

Golden Oak was a hot feature a few decades back but there are very few buyers searching it now. Replacing all the golden oak in a home might be expensive but refinishing it can help immensely. Be sure if you do decide to refinish or paint cabinets and trim to do it professionally. A rough non-professional paint job will negatively impact your sale price more than the original golden oak.


Blake King is a Realtor® in Central Alberta working with Big Earth Realty. He make home buying and selling easier and more affordable. He’s worked in real estate going on two-decades as an investor, contractor, home inspector and Realtor®. To contact Blake visit his website at www.BlakeKing.ca.

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