Ten things a buyer may not like about your home

There’s always time to make a few alterations to your home if you’re thinking of selling.

Whilst I have emphasised in previous blogs the importance of presenting a clean and tidy home, there are one or two things you might be surprised to learn about buyers’ tastes. Some urban myths that people think may attract a buyer can actually be a turn-off.

1. The smell of fresh coffee

There was a time when any self-respecting vendor was keen to make his home smell like a Starbucks and fill the air with the smell of fresh coffee or baking bread. Sure, this is a vast improvement over the whiff of soiled nappies or of wet dog but studies in America suggest that freshly mown grass is actually a bigger pull – except for hay-fever sufferers like me I presume!

2. Showers not baths

In a recent GoCompare survey 61% of potential buyers preferred to shower raher than to bathe. If you are cheering up your bathroom ahead of a sale then consider some mixer shower/bath taps, even if you can’t fit in a self-contained Lefroy Brooks shower.

3. Garden rather than garage

In the same survey, 68% of prospective buyers said they would prefer a garden to a garage. Since most people now use their garage as a store rather than somewhere to park the car this comes as little surprise. Still, if you already have the garage don’t be tempted to pull it down, it’s almost certainly worth more as a potential room than as a patio!

4. Proximity to local amenities

Proximity to shops is more valuable than good schools according to buyers surveyed by GoCompare. More than twice as many wanted a local shop rather than a school around the corner. When writing up your sales details it’s easy to overlook the fact that many potential buyers won’t know where your local 7/11 is and many will consider a ‘mini-supermarket’ a serious plus.

5. Better a home that is too tidy than one that is too messy

Whilst you don’t want buyers to step over the dirty washing as they look around it’s equally important that they feel that the property is a home. Having to look in cupboards to see if anyone actually lives in the place can be off-putting when a buyer wants to find a home rather than admire a show house.

6. Energy efficiency is a hot topic

Buyers these days will pay particular attention to the central heating in a property and will want and expect you to know how old it is, what it costs to run and how efficient it is. Be prepared to explain how it works, when it was last serviced and why it is a warm and yet economical home to run – considering it’s a Victorian terrace!

7. Access to the World Wide Web

Broadband connection to the internet is a hot topic at the moment, expect buyers to whip out their mobiles to test your broadband speed.  These days people expect to be able to stream movies, surf the net and to be able to work from home in many cases. Check with your provider that you have the latest settings on your router. For broadband speed in your area check out Rightmove’s broadband tool.

8. Be clear what you’re selling

Speak to your estate agent and solicitor before you show anyone around and prepare a list of the things you are including in the sale and a further list of what you might be persuaded to sell. Buyers like to know what they’re paying for and hate surprises like finding the light fittings are being taken and bare wires left behind. It happened to me once, we didn’t stay friends!

9. Make it easy

It sounds obvious but if you want people to buy your property then make it easy for them to come and see it. If you can’t show them around yourself then make sure your agent has keys and that he will. Also, it may seem cool to say “viewings are from 1-2pm on Saturday, take it or leave it” but it sets the wrong tone for buyers who may not end up as the purchaser but whose interest will help bid up the one who is.

10. Some people are rude, others just insensitive

You’d be amazed just how ‘honest’ some people can be as they look around a place. Try not to be crushed by their plans for the place, they need to feel that they can make your house their home. Most viewers will pay you unnecessary compliments so be honest and listen to their concerns. Buyers are looking for faults and every home has some but help them to avoid the misunderstandings.

Here’s a handy round up of Go Compare’s research:

Henry Pryor is a buying agent. He is a regular commentator on the BBC and in a number of national newspapers.


Follow Henry Pryor on Twitter – @HenryPryor



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