Property turn-offs – here’s what could deter buyers from your home

Property turn-offs – here’s what could deter buyers from your home

Online estate agent Tepilo analyses the biggest turn-offs for property buyers, with damp and bad smells unsurprisingly topping the list.

When selling a home, the last thing you want to do is actively put buyers off your property. So it pays to know what the biggest turn-offs are for prospective homeowners.

According to research commissioned by GoCompare Home Insurance, damp, poor maintenance and broadband blackspots top the list as the major deterrents to would-be buyers. A lack of parking space, rubbish strewn in neighbouring gardens and incomplete building work were other potential deal-breakers.

Damp stains and bad smells the top turn-offs

Whenever research is carried out into the things that are most likely to put prospective buyers off, damp stains and unpleasant odours tend to feature prominently. And it was no different this time, with the findings showing that 69% of people see damp stains on walls and ceilings as the biggest turn-off.

For 63%, meanwhile, the biggest offender would be bad smells – for example those created by food, pets, cigarette smoke or damp – while 59% cited a property in poor state of repair (rotten window frames, peeling paintwork, etc) as their biggest deterrent.

No parking, homes located in a broadband blackspot, unfinished building work, no garden, property not connected to mains gas, rubbish strewn in neighbouring gardens and a dirty house completed the top 10.   

Small and outdated not the way to a buyer’s heart

For 40% of those surveyed, small room sizes and a small kitchen (now often seen as the most important part of a home) would serve to put them off a property. Equally, outdated electricals/wiring would be a turn-off for nearly half, while an old boiler or central heating system would have 37% of people looking the other way.

An outdated kitchen, meanwhile, would deter 24% of buyers, 22% said the same about an old-fashioned bathroom and 14% would be put off by outdated or over-the top décor and carpets.

The exterior of a home, too, can put certain buyers off, with 31% saying stone cladding, render or pebble dash on outside walls would have them running for the hills.

Keeping up appearances

Another major red-flag to potential buyers is a property with an unkempt appearance. As well as 46% being put off by a dirty property, 31% said they would deterred by rotten or broken boundary walls or fences.

For 17%, an overgrown garden would be reason enough to look elsewhere, while 15% would be unhappy with cluttered rooms. Bad or botched DIY jobs would also be a significant deterrent, with 38% of those surveyed citing this as a major turn-off.

Light is often an important factor too, with homes with poor natural light/dark rooms a turn-off for 43% of buyers. Allowing natural light to filter into your home, particularly when you hold viewings, is vitally important to enable you to show off your property’s best attributes.

Furthermore, proximity to a major road or motorway would be an issue for 43% of people, despite the excellent transport links this would provide.

Neighbourly issues

You can’t choose your neighbours – but for 37% of prospective buyers, a student let next door would be off-putting, while 43% would see a dilapidated neighbouring property as a considerable turn-off.

Luckily, for most people, bad neighbours (or decrepit neighbouring properties) aren’t an issue, but it’s something to be aware of as a possible deterrent to would-be buyers.

Of course, the perfect property doesn’t exist – people will always find things that are not to their taste, or little flaws here and there, but if you can largely avoid the turn-offs outlined above your chances of selling quickly should be good.

Things like damp, bad smells and rectifying poor DIY jobs are entirely in your control, as is making sure any building work is finished. Maintenance, too, is something you can influence – aim to keep your home in good condition and replace anything that looks too shabby, tired or substandard. A dirty home will actively deter buyers, so it’s an absolute must that your home be clean, tidy and attractive.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to give your home a pristine sheen, it may be worth hiring a cleaning professional to give your home the once-over before you bring it to market.

Trying to second-guess potential buyers is never a good idea, but a clean, tidy, well-maintained home will increase your chances of selling without a fuss. If you have a garden, parking spaces and fast broadband speeds, your chances should be even greater.