5 Defects That Can Kill Your Listing

Updated: April 7, 2021

Above-ground pools. Magenta-colored living rooms. Shag carpet in the bathroom.

In a seller’s market, buyers are a lot more forgiving of the small stuff than they’d normally be.

But, no matter the market conditions, they’re not going to overlook the big defects that could plague their top-dollar investment for years to come.

Any visible signs of a larger problem are often enough to send buyers running – and keep your listing on the market much longer than it should.

Avoid complications and sell faster by taking care of these five deal-killing defects before you list.

Structural Issues

Floors can be refinished and walls can be painted, but a cracking foundation or a faulty footing may send buyers running for more stable ground.

Simply put, signs of structural issues are an instant turn-off. They give buyers visions of invasive, costly repairs and make them wonder about what else could be wrong – even if the rest of the home is pristine.

If you can see major cracks or wonky floors, so can a buyer. Get these issues inspected and repaired.

Black mold and moisture in the corner of room on white wall.


What’s that smell? Oh, it’s mold.

(Sound of car starting)

Nothing stops a buyer’s excitement dead in its tracks faster than the scent of underlying water issues and the potential health hazards they may bring.

While mold can grow out in the open, it is often hidden under cabinets, in crawl spaces, or in basements.

Glade PlugIns and freshly-baked cookies are not the answer. Find the source of the issue and remove mold from the equation.

Wood Rot

Is that door frame crumbling? It’s probably wood rot.

The last thing buyers want to do is invest in a home that could fall apart between their fingers.

And, like with mold or foundation cracks, the sight of even a little rot could be enough to make buyers question everything else. It’s an obvious defect which should, obviously, get fixed before you list.


Bugs in the backyard are one thing; bugs gnawing at the framing of your home are another.

Termites, or any kind of wood infestation for that matter, can be a terrifying problem for a new homeowner to tackle.

Most buyers will take their bug spray – and their business – elsewhere.

If there is evidence of wood infestation – whether it be holes in the wood, mud tubes, or living (or dead) termites – take action! 

Crawl Space

Most homeowners steer clear of the crawl space under their home because, well, it can be scary down there.

But, for that same reason, a homebuyer will 100% want to know what lies beneath (even if they never go down there again!)

This is not a case where ignorance is bliss. The crawl space is a key part of the home, supporting everything that sits on top of it.

Get it checked before you list, and remove any serious issues – specifically, anything related to water intrusion and structural integrity.

How to Remove Deal Killers from the Listing Equation

The issues most likely to ruin your listing? They exist right now!

The presence of even one critical defect can be enough to scare off a buyer.

That’s why, as a Realtor or homeowner, your best course of action is to identify and eliminate these deal killers before putting a FOR SALE sign on the lawn.

We make the repair process quick and easy by:

  • Providing one easy-to-understand estimate for all repairs
  • Having all the trades you need to complete the repairs available on demand
  • Guaranteeing our work! We provide a 1-year warranty that stays with the home (a great selling feature that gives buyers the confidence to move forward!)