Carlsbad Real Estate News and Views: Buyers, What Are Your Deal Killers?

Here's the REAL scoop on living in Carlsbad ~ beaches, things to do, places to eat, community events, and of course neighborhoods, homes and the Carlsbad real estate market in general, including surrounding communities like Encinitas, Cardiff, San Marcos, Oceanside, Solana Beach and Del Mar.

Buyers, What Are Your Deal Killers?

Buyers, What Are Your Deal Killers?



Knowing what you want in a new home, or better yet what you need and why, is essential in any house search in order to be effective. I’ve talked about this before in my series on how to buy a house. You’ll waste plenty of time if you really don’t have a good idea of the things that are important, which of course includes knowing your budget and what you qualify for if a loan is needed.




Location, say a particular community, might be very important for lifestyle and other reasons. You may require a certain number of bedrooms or baths. Having a single story house as opposed to a 2-story might be necessary or something you simply prefer. The list goes on. I use a checklist for buyers to help them think through these issues.



The other issue to consider in your search are the deal killers. These are those issues that could prevent you from moving forward with an offer on a particular home even if it met all your important needs. Perhaps there is nothing that would stand in the way if everything else was right. But for some buyers there are factors about the house or the location that would prevent them from saying “yes, let’s make an offer.” I ran into this again yesterday.


Carlsbad home with wires 


So what do some buyers have on this list?


A house that was smoked in and still reeks of smoke


A busy road in front or behind the property


Significant road noise (this varies from person to person), say from the freeway nearby


Close-by rail road tracks, train whistles due to RR crossing


Barking dogs at the neighbor’s house.


The view – high tension wires and/or towers overhead or in plain view in the back or front yard, looking directly into a neighbor’s house, a neighbor’s house looking down on your yard


Too close to a school, retail facility, industrial area, fire house, etc.


A home in the flight path of the airport




Barking dogsI showed a home the other day that was a beautiful remodel with great views and a large yard. It met all the requirements. But the house next door had 5 dogs, with a couple that barked the entire time we were in the house. That was enough to kill that deal.



You may have other concerns not mentioned above as well, but whatever they might be it’s important to give this some thought in advance. There are always trade-offs of some sort when buying a home – you just have to be aware of what your personal ones are so you can make the best decision when weighing all the pros and cons.



Something to keep in mind…if it’s a big issue for you, there’s a good chance it will be for other buyers in the future should you move forward and buy. Lots of homes get bought and sold that have issues like this, although value is often impacted, and it’s just a matter of your personal taste.


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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad homes and real estate for sale and surrounding areas, the housing market in general (or locally), or otherwise assist you, friends or family in a home search or sale, please contact my mobile office or text me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at

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Comment balloon 28 commentsJeff Dowler • May 26 2017 08:35PM


Thank you for your post. The seller's attitude can also be a deal killer.  At one point my buyer made a full price offer. It was a clean offer, buyer didn't ask for closing cost or anything and we were the only offer on the table.  Seller countered $10k above list price after given a ful price offer. My buyer walked away.  

Posted by Susie Kay, North Dallas Specialist (Ultima Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Some issues I understand.  But  one I don't is wrong color of paint.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 3 months ago

That's pretty odd Susie Kay  Not surprised at the buyer's actions! I have another post planned about other types of issues that kills deals, or could.

Yep, that's hard to understand William Feela  - it's just not that difficult nor expensive to change.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Hi Jeff... great post. I always tell my clients that they need to develop a list of non-ngotiables and negotiables... that way we can avoid wasting time on the wrong properties.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) 3 months ago

Jeff, I sense that with some buyers just getting started in their search they really don't know what they want. Spending time looking at open homes in various locations and price points will help them get connected so they can narrow their search and maximize their time looking at homes that do meet their criteria. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) 3 months ago

I think it's essential to think about what you are willing and not willing to negotiate, Nina Hollander . I find most buyers have some "definites" right up front, like road noise but may be less specific about other tradeoffs. Sometimes these evolve over time, especially when buyers are not clear about what they want and need in the beginning.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Hi Kathleen Daniels 

That's an excellent point. Some buyers are more prepared when they start looking than others, and it can take time to develop that sense of what is really important and what they can trade off. Others are more definitive.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Hi Jeff, 

Great post. Sometimes it takes seeing a few homes before the agent can focus in on what is that potential deal killer. But...

There is always a buyer for a home.  What happens is that buyer is probably going to get a pretty sweet deal on that home that is hard to sell. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 3 months ago

Barking dogs would send me running in the other direction. Mold and cigarette smoke are deal killers for me. Knowing your buttons at the beginning saves everyone time.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional) 3 months ago

Great post Jeff Dowler  lots of wonderful tips for buyers . Congrats for the gold star it is well deserved

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing great tips for buyers. 

Posted by Mega Team Real Estate, San Francisco and Peninsula Real Estate Concierge (Realty ONE Group Alliance) 3 months ago

Cool.  Not only the pros, but the cons to buying a house.  I actually sold a home very close to a train track because the buyer LOVED trains.  A negative into a postive for the right buyer.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing Jeff.  Property not being appraised at value in escalating market.

Posted by Sam Kader, Real Estate and Mortgage Broker (Pacific Coast Financial LLC) 3 months ago

I agree with you--there are some details buyers will not compromise on. I would add to that list--condition of neighbor's home. Living next door to someone who doesn't keep their house maintained, who has junk littering the yards, peeling paint, overgrown yards--that' s a reflection on the owner.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 3 months ago

Dear Jeff,

Deal breakers vary by client. I once sold a home on a noisy street, that I personally would not have purchased, but the buyers were happy with it because it reminded them of the place they lived in a European City. It was also convenient for commuting. Different strokes for different folks.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 3 months ago

Showed the smoke 'em if you got 'em house yesterday to a lady who noticed nothing. Felt right at home as a smoker. To each his own. Match 'em up.

Posted by Andrew Mooers, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) 3 months ago

I enjoyed reading your post. Home buyers should read this post and discuss their deal killers with their agent.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 3 months ago

Good morning Jeff Dowler ,

A very good article and video because deal breakers vary by client. One should always think that if it bothers you it could bother another buyer down the road when you go to sell and could impact the value. Congratulations on a well deserved featured post. 

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 3 months ago

It is always good for buyers to think through clearly what they want and maybe easier for them to say what they don't want. Good post.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Oh boy this really hits home with me. We are currently looking and nothing is good enough for me. LOL

The barking dogs would have been a deal killer for me.

An in ground pool would kill the deal.

Too much improvement needed would kill the deal.

If the neighborhood is bad....bad part of town or run down deal no matter how perfect the home in question is.

This is just a few examples. It's beginning to look like we are staying put in our current home.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 3 months ago

You're so right about the "big issue being future buyers too"Jeff Dowler ... most buyers become Sellers at some point in the future.  Those "issues" will matter ...



Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) 3 months ago

Your last paragraph sums it up nicely...don't buy if its an issue on day one because it will be an issue the last day!

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) 3 months ago

Jeff, I've got some buyers who added a new deal breaker to the list - listing agents who underprice, over-stage, and wait a week before reviewing offers.  We just ratified on a house that was empty, and the extraordinary and clean offer they made during the first hours on the market was quickly accepted by the seller.  I'm still getting emails from agents who tried unsuccessfully to foment bidding wars - wondering, "Where are all the offers?"

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, For Your Home in the Capital (Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.) 3 months ago

Great post.

I find many people who are just starting the search process reply with the bare necessities, 3/2 etc.

But the list of deal killers helps to focus the search in much more detail and will save a lot of useless looking.

Thanks for a great post.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,SFR,PSA (Jones & Co. Realty) 3 months ago

I think asking buyers for their list of deal-breakers before you begin the search is a wonderful time-saving idea.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 3 months ago

Great post.  Knowing the deal breakers saves us and our buyers from wasting their time.  Cigarette smoke seems to be  ahuge deal breaker for most of my buyers.  Cats too if their is a allergy.

Posted by Amy Gutschow, Professional Real Estate (RE/MAX) 3 months ago

I agree with every one of these. I showed a house to someone three houses away from an active freight train track and I was relieved that they decided against it. I don't want to try to sell it in 5 years or 5 months.

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