Five of the biggest homebuyer turn-offs and what they could cost you

Estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed the five biggest homebuyer turn-offs and how much money each of them can remove from a home’s market value.

Bad/nuisance neighbours

For most people, living next-door to nuisance neighbours is a worst case scenario. Sometimes they make loud noises long into the night; sometimes they’re constantly in the garden partying; and sometimes they’re committing rowdy, even abusive behaviour towards everyone living around them. Sometimes, of course, it’s all of the above and more.

Homebuyers will move heaven and earth to avoid moving in next door to bad neighbours, so much so that a property can struggle to even garner buyer interest and the seller ends up having to lower the asking price by at least 10%. With today’s average house price, this means bad neighbours reduce value £27,376.

 

Poor upkeep of home’s exterior and gardens

Unlike bad neighbours, this one is completely within the control of the seller, so there’s not really any excuse for letting it happen. General disrepair and shoddy appearance have a huge impact on first impressions, completely turning off a buyer before they’ve even stepped inside the property. 

It is easy to make a home look clean and tidy from the outside, requiring only a broom, a pot of paint, and maybe a rented power washer. When it comes to the garden, if it’s overgrown or being used as a dump site, buyers are likely to already have a negative opinion of the home before they’ve even stepped foot inside it. Such is the power of this turn-off that it can reduce the value of a home by more than 14%, or £38,600.  

 

Evidence of pets

We are a nation of pet lovers, but we’re also fastidious when it comes to cleanliness. Evidence of pet hair in the carpets and strong odours in the air are big buyer turn-offs and can reduce their perceived value of a home by 4%, or £11,000. 

 

Parking problems

A convenient and secure parking space continues to be one of the most important things for homebuyers, so much so that a safe, private space can increase the value of a home by as much as £22,500 while the complete absence of a parking option will strip 7%, or £19,500, off the value of a home. 

 

Dirty, cluttered and smelly 

It is absolutely essential that sellers clean and tidy their property before inviting prospective buyers to view it. It is easy to do and improves first impressions ten-fold. In the days leading up to a viewing, it’s always good to open the windows for a few hours and let some fresh air in to make sure that the home doesn’t smell musty and to eliminate any odours that the current owners no longer notice but strangers are likely to clock. If a house is not clean and tidy, it can again knock as much as 11% off the potential market value (£11,000). 


Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester
, James Forrester, commented:

“Homebuyers are an understandably picky bunch. They’re looking for their own version of perfection and this can differ wildly from one buyer to the next. So don’t take it personally if they aren’t all as enthusiastic about your house as you once were, or if it takes you a little while longer than expected to sell. 

Of course there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of impressing a buyer and securing a sale, as well as plenty of things that can do the opposite.

“Presentation is vital and you need to ensure you are presenting the best version of your property that you can, whether it be in the initial photos taken or during the viewing process. Failing to do so can not only reduce interest and see your home remain sat on the market for far longer, but it can also cost you when you finally do find a buyer.”

 

Table shows the impact of each issue on the value of a home based on the current UK average of £273,762
Turn-offs Impact to property value (%) Impact to property value (£)
Nuisance neighbours -10% -£27,376
Unkept garden -14.1% -£38,600
Evidence of pets -4.0% -£10,950
Parking issues such as no private parking -7.1% -£19,437
General poor upkeep -4.0% -£10,950

 

Average house price data sourced from Gov.UK: HPI.

Data on the impact of each issue to a property’s value sourced from Speed Property Buyers, The Express, Chronicle Live, Essex Live, and Chancellors.