New research has revealed the top 10 things that are most likely to prevent sellers from getting the maximum asking price for their property.
The survey, carried out by wallpaper brand Inspired Wallpaper, spoke to some 1,500 people across the UK to find out their biggest gripes and turn-offs when it comes to viewing a property.
Bad smells, poor layouts and half-finished DIY jobs topped the list.
Unpleasant odours were identified as the biggest turn-off by 36% of those surveyed, closely followed by bad layouts and ‘do it yourself’ tasks that really should have been left to the professionals instead.
Shabby, sub-standard fixtures and fittings, too much clutter and gaudy décor were other things that are likely to put would-be buyers off, while the rest of the top 10 consisted of 'mould', 'lack of character', 'disappointing gardens' and a 'lack of natural light'.
Fortunately, most of these bugbears are easily addressed and resolved. For example, bad odours can (and definitely should) be eradicated before someone comes to view your home.
It may be something you can do yourself, depending on the severity of the odours, or you may have to hire someone in to sort the problem for you.
The same goes for mould, which needs to be dealt with as soon as it’s identified to prevent it becoming a more major (and costlier to repair) issue.
Botched DIY jobs can also be put right. As a seller, you might think you can get away with half-completed or badly-completed DIY tasks. You might think buyers won’t notice. But trust us, they will.
They will be on the lookout for any little flaw, so give them no reason to find fault with your home. If you don’t feel confident in fixing the DIY jobs yourself, you can hire in a handyman to do the job for you. You may even have family or friends who will be willing to help you out as a favour.
Either way, wonky shelves, broken chairs, skewwhiff handles and poorly painted walls won’t go down well with buyers and could harm your chances of selling. It pays to get your whole home looking tip top.
This also includes the garden, which will need to be spruced up if you want your home to appeal to a wide range of prospective buyers. Many, in particular families with young kids, will be paying a great deal of attention to the garden.
They will be expecting a neat, tidy, well-kept space; shabby, unmaintained and overgrown will simply not cut the mustard.
Poor quality fixtures and fittings are also something that can easily be remedied – these can either be upgraded or completely replaced at fairly low costs.
Garish décor, too, is something that you have total control over. Loud, bright, effervescent colour schemes are very unlikely to have wide appeal. For every buyer that loves such décor, there will be hundreds more who hate it. Less is more is usually the way forward, which means light, subtle, neutral colours tend to work best.
You want your home to be characterful and welcoming, but you don’t want it to have too much character. You don’t want it to actively put would-be buyers off. A home can be quirky, interesting and distinctive without the need to resort to wacky décor, extravagance or gaudiness.
As stated above, clutter is also unwelcome. Decluttering your home can be a therapeutic experience and a necessary evil at the same time.
There is likely to be quite a few items that you have no use for anymore – depending on their condition, these can either be donated to a local charity shop, binned or sold online via various auction websites.
Poor layouts, on the other hand, is something you have less control over, but you can still point out to buyers how they can make different use of the space if the home was their own.
A lack of natural light, too, is something you can’t have too much say over – you’re at the mercy of the seasons and the weather when it comes to that – but if you can flood your home with as much sunlight as possible it will undoubtedly increase your chances of achieving the asking price or above for your home.
More than anything, though, you need to ensure your home looks clean, tidy, bright, attractive and well-maintained.
Avoid any of the pitfalls outlined above – bad smells, mould, dodgy DIY jobs, clutter, et al – and you can feel happy that you’ve done everything you can to attract potential buyers.
You then have to hope they like what they see and subsequently place an offer.