Guild Blog: What are the 10 biggest turn-offs for home buyers?

Pink cottage on the South West Coast path as it passes through Empacombe Quay at Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall

When it comes to selling your property, making a good first impression is imperative. Our Guild agents share their expertise and identify the top 10 biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers and how to avoid them.

 

1. Clutter

Clutter is not only distracting, but it could indicate that the property does not have adequate storage.

Nick Manson from Mansons Newcastle upon Tyne said: “De-cluttering is a great way to increase your chances of completing a sale, but that doesn’t mean that you have to part with your prized possessions. You can box them up and store them in the loft or garage. If this is not an option, ask family or friends to store them. Failing that, there is always the option of self-storage.”

Creating a clutter-free, minimalistic environment will help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. Additionally, too much furniture can make a property seem a lot smaller than it is.

 

2. Smells

No matter how pleasant your home appears, persistent odours such as the smell of pets, cigarettes, or pungent food can be detrimental when it comes to selling your property.

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire explains: “An unpleasant odour is sure to put off a prospective purchaser or tenant. Whether it’s the whiff of stale food, pets or even something more… ‘human’… make sure that your property is free of unwanted smells. Ask a trusted friend to give your home a ‘sniff test’!”

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we suggest opening your windows to air out your property before a viewing and use air freshener or light a candle to ensure your home doesn’t smell unpleasant.

 

3. An untidy exterior

Overgrown, unkempt gardens are a big no-no. Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “The first thing viewers see is the exterior. Ensure your bins are not overflowing and your pathway is weed free. Do whatever you can to make your home feel inviting from the outset. Don’t forget, our viewers have probably already done a drive-by before making an appointment.”

 

4. Noise

Most people expect their home to be a place of peace and tranquility. It may not always be preventable, but there are steps you can take to reduce unwanted noise from your property.

Mandy Thomas from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Upgrade your glazing or install sound proof fencing. Alternatively, try to avoid organising viewings at busy times of the day such as rush hour, when traffic will be particularly bad.”

 

5. No natural light

Light and warmth are two of the most important factors to attract a buyer for your home, especially in the colder months of the year. Angie Kraft from Simmons & Sons Henley-on-Thames explains: “A cold or poorly lit home can be an instant turn-off  to potential buyers by making the property appear dingy and dark in places. If this is the case, it gives the impression of a house that is unloved and uncared for.”

Resolving this issue can be simple. Philip Trollen from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Natural light is very important as dark rooms are always off-putting. Ensuring the room is well lit, whether that be naturally or with staged lighting is quite simple to do. Make sure the curtains are open and remove those net curtains!”

 

6. Bad décor

Avoid controversial or quirky décor in your home as it is not to everyone’s taste. What you think is retro, others may consider dated. Bold colours and patterns can turn-off a prospective buyer, as it is important for them to see themselves living there and décor plays a huge part in this.

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller Wakefield said: “Replace heavily patterned retro carpets, when purchasers are greeted with such a carpet all they see is decades of dirt and grim – I can guarantee the viewer will want to leave as soon as they’ve stepped through the door.”

 

7. Nightmare neighbours

Nobody enjoys noisy or messy neighbours, especially not a potential buyer. This is something you cannot change, but it is something you can manage. Whether their garden hasn’t been cleaned in years, or their pet dogs incessantly bark, get to know your neighbour and perhaps they may be able to help. If all else fails, organising viewings for when they are not home might be beneficial, too.

 

8. Poor presentation

Poor attention to detail such as: flaking paint on soffits, grubby kitchen units, tatty net curtains, unemptied ashtrays and nicotine stained walls are taken into consideration when viewing a property.

Lizanne Simmons from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “First impressions are massive and we often find ourselves apologising for the sights of the less cared for properties. We always arrive early to a viewing to open the windows, curtains, close the lids to the toilets and pull a duvet into position here and there.”

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire said: “Dirty kitchens or bathrooms are not a nice thought and certainly not something that a viewer will want to see. My best advice: have the property professionally cleaned before going to market.”

Small and affordable fixes such as: freshening up the paint work, or having your home professionally cleaned will make a world of difference and worth it in the long run.

 

9. An unexpected problem

Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole Mid Wales said: “There is nothing worse for a viewer than turning up to find there is a significant issue with a property which they were not aware of such as a structural defect, a problem with something in the neighbourhood or compromised accommodation. It is a wise precaution to maintain compliance with Consumer Protection Regulations, but it also makes good business sense – the viewers are more trusting of us and willing to discuss the issues and the available solutions.

 

10. An over zealous vendor

It is common for a vendor to want to take part in the viewing or show off their DIY aspects of the property. However, vendors being present at viewings may not always be a good thing.

Stephen Ingram from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “A seller that follows the viewer around is never well-received. With the best intentions, those scenarios always highlight why it’s best to leave it to your agent.”

Take a step back and let your agent do the work, it is their job after all and you will thank them later.

 

Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

Guild Blog: Which room convinces you to buy?

Which Room Convinces you to Buy your New Home?

When you step into a house there is naturally one room which buyers gravitate towards. The important question is, which room convinces you to buy? If you’re looking to sell your home it is useful to know which room to prioritise for open houses, images of the property or facts about your home.

Read what some of our Guild agents had to say about their experiences of which rooms convinces people to buy.

Simon Davies, Branch Manager of Norman F Brown said: “I believe the kitchen is the heart of a home. The current trend is a space where everyone can be together. Historically this was the sitting room, but recently there is a shift to living kitchens, especially if there is an open-plan design with the sitting room. The best kitchen I have seen interlinks the garden with French Doors or Modern Bi Folds to bring the outside in and make the garden more inclusive.”

Simon Bradbury, Managing Director of Thomas Morris said: “The room which I believe most convinces a buyer to purchase a home is the hallway, although it’s not technically a “room”. Normally, it’s the very first internal part of a property that a buyer will see. Therefore, the hallways establishes the tone for their experience with the rest of the property by setting a positive or negative level of expectancy. The hall should be bright and feel warm (or cool depending on the time of year) and inviting. Clutter should be put away to make the area appear more spacious. Air fresheners, diffusers, scented candles or flowers are simple, but effective methods to enhance a buyer’s first impression of a property.”

Does the Living Room help you to decide whether to purchase a new home?

Simon Miller, Partner of Holroyd Miller said: “Open-plan kitchens create the lifestyle of family and friends coming together in a space that can accommodate eating, drinking and socialising. The kitchen is normally the most expensive and time-consuming room in a home to decorate or renovate. A kitchen already supplied with good quality appliances and high-end worktops are favourable. Buyers are usually looking for minimum effort, focusing on moving in and opening a celebratory chilled bottle of fizz.”

Steve Wayne, Director of Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “The centre of any home is often thought of as the kitchen. Depending on the size of your kitchen, it can often be the social hub of any home. It is where loved ones come together and a space in which you can get creative, both in design and culinary delights. The advantage of an eat-in kitchen allows for communal meals and socialising. Good food and communication makes for a happy household.”

Jenny Owen, Head of Marketing for Sawyer & Co. said: “A room with a view is always a great selling point for buyers. A well-fitted, spacious bathroom is really popular and at the moment.”

Pav Lotay, Account Manager for the Guild of Property Professionals Head office said: “For me, the living room is the most social space in a property and the area which I spend the most time in. This is the room that stands out the most and would convince me to buy. I look for a homely property: a spacious living room where I can see myself having guests to visit and putting up a Christmas tree.”

Are you looking to sell your property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

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Guild Blog: The Top Ten Mistakes you may be making when buying a house.

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things you can do.

Between looking through beautiful new houses and choosing the perfect area, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new-home ownership. However, ignoring the details could end up costing you. Our estate agents have seen it all, and have identified the top mistakes that people make when purchasing a new home.

 

 

1. Looking at property without setting a budget 

“Taking a hard look at your finances is critical before you begin to look at property”, says Guild of Property Professionals CEO Iain McKenzie. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen fall in love with a property to realise that it’s out of their price range.” After you look at your finances, consider seeking professional advice, especially when it comes to mortgages.

According to Steve Thompson of Thomas Morris St Neot’s, “buyers should fully consider their property requirements and get the advice they need to organise their finances and solicitors before they find a property so that they do not miss out.” Do your research before viewing properties, and get a good idea of what you can afford to avoid heartbreak later.

 

2. Understand their reasons for moving 

Buying a property is a huge emotional and financial decision, and certainly not one to take lightly. According to Siobhan Jordain of Boyce Brixham, it’s important to make sure that you’re running toward something better, rather than away from something unsuitable. Siobhan encourages serious thought before moving into a different area, saying that “a bit of self-reflection on what you think moving from one area to another will give you can save time and money – perhaps you just need a lifestyle change rather than a location change.”

 

3. Buying too quickly

If your property purchase is the direct result of a relocation, Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris cautions against buying immediately. Steve encourages potential buyers to “rent first, and then figure out what you like. Then you know you’ll be buying in the best area for you, rather than simply having to make an educated guess.”

4. Having too many non-negotiables

When you view a property, it’s a good idea to know what you’re willing to be flexible on and where you’re not willing to negotiate. Stick to your convictions, but keep your list small. According to Steve Barron, “it’s best to prioritise what you want, as you’ll never get everything on your wishlist.” Mark Noble of Castle Estate Agents echoes this sentiment, saying “one of the biggest mistakes I see is buyers being too fussy about a property when a few simple alterations could make it perfect.”

5. Being closed off to alternative suggestions 

“One in three people end up buying something completely different than what they thought they wanted,” says McKenzie, “so be sure to broaden your horizons while you’re looking.” The perfect property for you might not be what you think you want, so being open to alternative suggestions is critical when buying a home.

6. Not using an estate agent in addition to looking online

Steve Thompson cautions: “heavy reliance on the internet to find your home is a mistake. Although it is a fantastic source of information, simple to use and available round-the-clock, the internet will never be able to replicate the local knowledge and expertise of your local estate agent. Build a good relationship with your estate agent, and they will tell you about properties that fit your specifications before they hit the market, search for properties that might now have hit the market just yet, and think of all kinds of out-of-the-box solutions to help you find the perfect home.”

7. Waiting too long to make an offer

Celeste Hamilton-Parker, Mark Noble, and Iain McKenzie all agree that waiting too long to make an offer on a house is one of the easiest ways for someone else to buy the house of your dreams. If you have a good feeling about a house and it ticks off your list of non-negotiables, then making an offer is the sensible choice.

8. Negotiating poorly

Negotiating is an important part of the property buying process, and negotiating poorly (or not at all) is one of the most common mistakes estate agents see in buyers. According to Mark Noble, “offering a price that’s too low and then taking too long to make a more acceptable offer is the reason I see many people lose homes they really love.” Iain McKenzie has been in a similar situation. “I’ve have buyers offer the asking price on houses where the seller would have negotiated. Negotiating will almost always result in a better price, especially if you maintain an air of ambivalence at a viewing. Never gush when you view a house, as gushing will make the seller think you’re willing to pay more for the property.”

9. Appointing the wrong property professionals

“Choosing the wrong solicitor or mortgage broker can be a huge mistake for buyers” says Mark Noble. Celeste Hamilton-Parker of Hamilton Parkers agrees, arguing that “a solicitor that’s either online or unfamiliar with the area can delay the conveyancing process, and the whole process in general.” When you buy a property, be sure to choose mortgage brokers that are reputable and local to your area. Local professionals will have a much better idea of how the market in your area works than non-local brokers or solicitors.

10. Not thinking ahead

“While it’s tempting to prioritise what you need now over what you’ll need in the future, but choosing a home is a relatively permanent decision,” warns Steve Barron. “Be sure you prioritise what you’ll need in the future, as well as what you’d like now.” Siobhan Jourdain agrees, adding that you should “consider a situation where you should have to return to your original home area, and make sure that you can afford to buy back in – this is particularly important if you are downsizing and using equity as pension funding or buying in a cheaper area.”

 

Are you thinking of moving? Click here to contact your local Guild agent.