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REALTORS® Reveal The Interesting Things That Make or Break A Sale

While there may never be a perfect home, there’s a home that’s perfect for you. We all have an idea of what our dream home might include, whether it’s big windows in the bedroom, a basement with an in-law suite, a fenced-in backyard, or even your favourite type of tree on the front lawn. These are all things that can make or break a sale for people, and they all make relative sense. 

But sometimes there are things that turn off buyers or sellers that aren’t as … shall we say, typical. We spoke with REALTORS® across the country and asked them to share the most interesting thing they’ve seen make or break a sale. 

Collections and paraphernalia

Aaron Santos, a REALTOR® and salesperson with Real Broker in Calgary, Alberta, admits that de-personalizing a space when you’re trying to sell is often the way to go, but he’s also seen sales made on people connecting with a common hobby. 

“The most common and surprising experiences are when someone connects to either a LEGO® collection, racing paraphernalia, and my personal favourite, “Threat Level Midnight” posters from The Office,” he tells us. “I’ve also seen numerous occasions where photos of labradors trigger a connection with buyers. All of these have induced sales and may not have been something that my sellers had even thought would be a connection with their buyers. 

“Declutter, but also remember it is a really personalized experience, so leave pieces of your personality or fun hobbies,” he continues. “More than likely, it’s a reflection that this home has witnessed some fun experiences and can hold space and do the same for its next occupants.”

Haunted dolls 

If you’re a fan of horror movies, what was lurking in the closet of this home might appeal to you. But for Taylor Coutts, a REALTOR® and salesperson with Bendz Real Estate in White City, Saskatchewan, his clients decided it was a dealbreaker. 

“I was working with some pre-approved buyers with specific wants,” he shares. “We were touring a vacant three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a finished basement that checked all of my buyer’s boxes… Until we walked into the primary bedroom, opened the closet door and were surprised to find a replica of an Annabelle doll sitting in the middle of the closet just staring at us. Keep in mind that this house was completely empty except for this closet. My buyers looked at me, and I knew this house was no longer going to be the one.

“Although I’ve never come across another Annabelle doll replica since, I have dealt with other spooky findings. From rocking chairs rocking back and forth as soon as we enter a room, cabinet doors opening by themselves and lights turning off and on at random times,” he continues. “Normally I would tell my buyers to try and look past the clutter, knicks in the walls, etc. that can have buyers questioning their purchase. But paranormal activity speaks for itself and isn’t the easiest thing to get buyers to accept.”

A bad shower experience

A hot shower after a long day can change your mood drastically, but if the water pressure isn’t there, that relaxing feeling doesn’t always pull through. Jemma Sallay-Carrington, a REALTOR® and salesperson with Royal LePage Westside in Vancouver, British Columbia, once had clients who decided to put their foot down on a potentially poor shower experience. 

“In my experience, the most interesting thing to break a sale is low water pressure in the shower,” she shares. “I know sometimes low water pressure can be fixed quite easily and sometimes there may be a larger underlying issue. For these particular buyers, though, they love having showers but absolutely cannot stand having showers with even slightly low water pressure. They were not wanting to take a risk here. So after talking with the sellers about the water pressure in their home to possibly understand whether this could be easily fixed, the buyers decided to step away from the property altogether and find something else with guaranteed good water pressure! 

“You can always (and should always) get an inspection done on a property to learn more details on everything in the home, including the water pressure, and chat to some professionals about it,” she continues. “When getting an inspection, the inspector is usually happy to chat about their findings while they’re there. If the property ticks all of the other boxes, I recommend going back to your needs versus wants list and see where water pressure lies. These clients were not into the idea of hiring a professional to explore the issues further, and that was that. Though after this happened, I went home and had a shower, and honestly, I get it! Now it’s common practice for me to talk to my buyers about water pressure specifically, and we always make sure to turn on taps before writing on a property.”

A wedding shower gift 

Brittany Evans, a REALTOR® and salesperson with Cottage Vacations Real Estate Brokerage Inc. in Huntsville, Ontario, once saw a microwave break a sale—but don’t worry, it ended up working out in the seller’s favour!

“The chattels said ‘all appliances’ but the sellers wanted to keep the microwave because it was a wedding shower gift, and the deal fell through because of that,” Evans tells us. “The property was taken off the market for six months and that microwave lead to the sellers getting more from their original offer when they re-listed. The lesson here is sometimes it’s not always meant to be, go with your gut.” 

Another aspect that buyers sometimes overlook? Cell phone service.

“A big factor when buyers are purchasing in Muskoka is cell phone reception; the house and property may be perfect for the client, but if there is no cell phone reception, it is a no go. 

“Selling and buying a home is incredibly emotional and at times those emotions take over logic,” she continues. “When you are selling, be super clear with your REALTOR® what your non-negotiables are and make sure your REALTOR® is conveying those non-negotiables to potential buyers. For potential buyers looking to purchase, remember why you are buying that particular home in the first place. It’s not because of the microwave or window coverings, it’s because of the location, structure, the views—the things that are not easily replaceable.”

A mid-century modern credenza

Almost everyone has a piece of furniture, memento, décor piece, or accessory they want to keep forever. People will often base a room design around that one statement piece, but Heather Kelly, a REALTOR® and salesperson with Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, had a client whose affinity for mid-century modern furniture was the basis of her entire home purchase. 

“She based her decision on whether to buy a house or not, depending on if her 8-foot long teak credenza would fit,” she shared. “Gotta love that mid-century modern furniture; it’s so timeless! Every client has different wants and needs. It’s my job to help them understand what is a hard boundary, and what they could be more flexible on. I always try my best to check off all of their boxes, but sometimes it’s about compromise!”

A light fixture with a mind of its own

Shirin Purewal, a REALTOR® and salesperson with BC Home Group in Victoria, British Columbia, also had an experience with some potential paranormal activity, but this time with a flickering antique light fixture above the dining table. 

“It was like the Mona Lisa of illumination—captivating, mysterious, and slightly tilted,” she told us. “The client adored the delicate artwork etched onto the glass. It had to be included in the deal. But here’s the twist: it also had a mind of its own. Sometimes it would flicker like an old-timey Morse code message, leaving potential buyers both intrigued and mildly concerned. It was the ultimate conversation starter during house tours. ‘Oh, that? It’s our enigmatic light oracle. It predicts the weather and occasionally recites Shakespeare. But don’t worry, it’s included!’

“Sometimes, a hot tub becomes the ultimate deal breaker,” Purewal continues. “Buyers step into the backyard, envisioning themselves sipping champagne while jets massage their worries away. To those considering a hot tub: weigh the pros and cons. Sure, it’s a mini oasis of relaxation, but it’s also a commitment. It demands attention, love, and maintenance. Real estate is ultimately an investment, and these deal breakers can always be added on to your initial investment.”

You never know what’s going to be a dealbreaker when it comes to buying or selling a home, and alternatively you never know what’s going to make the entire sale come together. Working with your REALTOR® to nail down your wants and needs is a good place to start. That way, when you’re touring open houses it’s easier to figure out what will work for you and what won’t. 

At the end of the day, a lot of the process comes down to what feels right. Don’t force yourself into a purchase if it doesn’t feel like home! 

-Credits: (06/18/2024) REALTORS® Share the Interesting Thing That Made or Broke a Sale. REALTORS® Share the Interesting Thing That Made or Broke a Sale - Blog

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