Selling or renting? 13 things that put off buyers and tenants

If you’re thinking of renting or selling your home, remember first impressions count! You’ll want to get the best price, so putting some time and effort in first could really pay for itself.

Even if it costs you a fair bit, it could help you find a tenant / buyer a lot faster – and end up increasing your bank balance in the long run. wanted to find out what people look for (and look out for) when they’re looking at a property. So we asked* “If you were viewing a property, which of the following would most put you off buying or renting?” and asked everyone to tick their ‘top 3’.

The number-one put-off, unfortunately, is something you can’t do much about. 55% of respondents said noisy neighbours would put them off moving in. Further down the list, though, there’s plenty that landlords and sellers can do something about…

Top put-offs – our unlucky 13

1. Noisy neighbours (55% said this would put them off)
2. Mouldy rooms (49%)
3. General poor state of repair (43%)
4. Lack of central heating (30%)
5. Untidy neighbours’ gardens (28%)
6. Unpleasant smells (e.g. animals or tobacco smoke) (27%)
7. Badly kept communal areas (flats) (16%)
8. Lack of double glazing (14%)
9. Half-done decorating / building work (8%)
10. Stone cladding (7%)
11. Brown or green bathroom suite (4%)
12. Untidy or overgrown garden (4%)
13. Decorating ‘not to our taste’ (2%)

Some of these things are pretty easy to tackle, of course. It doesn’t take too much effort to go outside for a cigarette, for example. Tidying the garden or painting the bathroom might be an afternoon’s work. If it makes the selling / renting process easier and / or more profitable, that’s time well spent.

But others are a big deal. Fitting central heating or double glazing, for example, can be a major expense, so it really comes down to (a) how much would it cost? and (b) how much would it add to the rent / sale price?

Don’t forget: it depends who’s looking

Having said that, different people expect different things. Older people seem a lot less worried about things the younger generation see as essential:

  • While 21% of 18-34 year-olds said they’d be put off by a lack of double glazing, just 10% of the over-55s would be.
  • 36% of 25-34 year-olds wouldn’t fancy the idea of a house without central heating, compared with just 25% of people aged 55-64.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are some things that worry older buyers / tenants a lot more:

  • 65% of people aged 65+ said they’d be put off by noisy neighbours.
  • Just 35% of the 18-24 year-olds we asked put this worry in their top 3.

So what should you do?

If your property’s affected by one or more of our ‘unlucky 13’ factors, is there anything you can realistically do about it?

You can’t ‘fix’ noisy neighbours, but if there’s something you can deal with before people come to look at the property, it could make a big difference to the outcome. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth it, it’s at least worthwhile getting an expert in for a quote.

*Consumer Intelligence carried out online interviews with a representative sample of 2,202 UK adults between 31st July and 5th August 2013.

Written by: Matthew Plant

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