News: New survey reveals buyer hell

Mon, 12 Nov 07

51% of buyers are completely put off by litter or junk outside a property or in the street...

According to the latest survey by propertyfinder.com, potential buyers are completely put off by a range of factors - from more obvious evidence of vandalism and graffiti, to an untidy front lawn.

When it comes to having difficulty selling a property, all circumstances are individual and at times complex. However, the survey reveals numerous small measures that could make all the difference towards clinching that sale. According to the survey, house hunters agree that they are completely put off by:

  • Put off completely - Agreed by
  • Vandalism/graffiti - 79%
  • Teenagers loitering in the street - 52%
  • Litter or junk in the street/outside the house - 51%House exterior in poor condition - 38%
  • House on a main road - 30%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, vandalism and graffiti are the biggest turn-offs with 79% completely put off by it, followed by teenagers loitering in the street, which completely puts off 52% of potential buyers. While these factors are perhaps out of a buyer’s control, there are smaller factors that it seems could make all the difference.

Neighbours can have an impact

For example, with 51% of potential buyers put off completely by litter and rubbish in the street or outside a property they are viewing, it stands to reason that vendors clear away any rubbish or junk left lying in the garden and that they remove any over-spilling bags in the street from view where possible.

For those that know their neighbours well, it may be worth asking them to help out by removing their rubbish bags temporarily from view. Previous research has shown that the state of a neighbouring property can have a bearing on the success of a sale.

Those looking to sell should take an objective look at their property and its surrounding area, as if they were thinking of buying it. While the estate agent is trained at doing so, he or she cannot know the property as well as the vendor, who should consider all the things that could put others off, and try to make alterations to what can be changed, without dwelling on what cannot.

38% say that they are completely put off by a house exterior that is in poor condition so it is worth rectifying peeling paintwork. It may be a bit of a nuisance but painting the front door, clearing children’s toys and mowing the front lawn could help to secure an offer.

Low crime a huge plus

The survey also asked potential buyers as to what was most important to them when looking for a property and what factors would attract them. It is worth ensuring the agent knows the positives of the property and its surroundings, especially as he or she is likely to carry out the viewing.

Most important

  • Low crime in the area - 55%
  • Good schools in the area - 40%
  • Low noise levels - 38%
  • Good access to parking - 35%

Most attracted by

  • Well tended gardens - 66%
  • Tree lined streets - 55%
  • Nice cars in street/drive - 43%

For example, with 55% citing low crime as most important, if the area is really safe with low crime, it stands to reason to highlight this point. If the schools are great, it is worth letting a potential buyer know, who may have a young family. This may be particularly true for those living in the country, as the estate agent is likely to have travelled some distance to reach the property and may not be as familiar with its immediate surroundings. If there is a real sense of community, then this is worth briefing the agent on in advance.

Living on a main road is something that a vendor cannot change, but it is worth mentioning if noise levels subside after a certain time or if traffic is infrequent, especially as this is important to 38% of people, and could sway their decision in the vendor’s favour.

According to Warren Bright, Chief Executive Officer of Propertyfinder.com, “Having difficulty selling a property is an incredibly frustrating situation for any vendor to be in. Home owners need to do everything in their power to ensure that their home is as presentable as possible. The presentation of the home, along with its price and its marketing are the three big factors that determine whether a home will sell.”

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