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20 things buyers hate about your home

26 April 2016

Damp and odious odours put off more house-hunters than outdated kitchens and bathrooms or small rooms

Damp, poor maintenance and nasty smells top the list of turn-offs for potential homebuyers according to new research released today.

Commissioned by Gocompare.com Mortgages, the survey* found that damp was the biggest area of concern for house-hunters.  Most (71%) of those surveyed said that evidence of damp patches on walls or ceilings would put a stop to them buying a property, while 65% said they would avoid homes that had been poorly maintained.  Odious odours were also cited as deal breakers with 61% saying that bad smells from pets, damp or cigarette smoke would turn-them off a property.  

 Top 20 property turn-offs


Damp patches and/or stains on walls or ceilings



Property being in poor state of repair e.g. rotten windows, etc.



Bad smells including pet smells, damp, cigarettes, etc.



No parking space



No garden



Unfinished building work



Poor natural light and/or dark rooms



Outdated electrics



Small, poky rooms



An old, inefficient boiler or central heating system






A small kitchen



General untidiness and/or dirtiness



Wooden windows



Stone cladding, render of pebble dash on the outside of the property



An outdated kitchen



An outdated bathroom



An overgrown garden



Artex or textured ceilings



Cluttered rooms


Commenting on the research, Matt Sanders, mortgages spokesperson for Gocompare.com said, “Moving home is a big undertaking for sellers who want to attract the best price for their property and buyers who, in the main, want well maintained properties.  Our survey suggests that many homebuyers want a home that’s ready to move into and are put off by properties requiring repairs or maintenance work.  Damp is a particular area of concern - a musty smell, black mould, stained ceilings or crumbling plasterwork are all warning signs of problems which, depending on the cause, can be costly to remedy.  Interestingly, while many buyers are put off by poor maintenance and bad DIY, only a quarter would shy away from properties which have outdated kitchens or bathrooms – two of the most expensive rooms in a home to update.

“Our survey also revealed that many buyers are simply put off by grubby, cluttered homes with out-of-control gardens.  When viewing a property, buyers try to imagine themselves living there - which may be hard to envisage if the kitchen has a grimy sink full of washing-up or if they have to step over dirty clothes strewn over the bedroom floor.  So if you’re thinking of selling your house, one of the easiest and most cost effective things you can do is clean and tidy your home – both inside and out – before putting it on the market.”

Gocompare.com Mortgages’ top tips for easy and inexpensive ways to get your home ready to sell:

1. Spring clean:  Freshen-up your home by giving it a good clean – top to bottom and inside and out, and remember to air the rooms.  Cleaning the windows will also help increase the natural light into rooms.  Banish nasty smells by having the carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned and, if you have a cat, before a potential buyer views your home make sure the litter box is clean.

2. De-clutter:  You can make your home appear more spacious by de-cluttering rooms.  It will also make it easier for potential buyers to view your property if they don’t have to pick their way through piles of shoes in the hallway or toys in the lounge.  Pack away rarely used or out-of-season items, including clothes and footwear.  Thin out piles of books, magazines and DVDs.  Collect toys together and store in baskets or boxes.         

3. Repairs and DIY:  Carry out minor repairs such as fixing a dripping tap, filling holes or dents in walls or woodwork or fixing fences and gates.  Complete any outstanding DIY jobs.

4. Tidy the garden:  Cutting the grass, weeding the flowerbeds, trimming hedges and removing any litter from your garden, especially the front garden, will make your property look more inviting to potential buyers and improve its kerb-appeal. 

5. A fresh lick of paint:  Repainting tired or worn décor can give a room a lift and, depending on the colour chosen, help make it look lighter or larger.

Gocompare.com has produced a guide on how to sell you home.

If you’re looking to buy your first home, your next home, or want to remortgage, use Gocompare.com’s mortgage calculator to find out how much you can borrow, what your monthly payments will be and how long it will take to pay off your mortgage.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*On 3 February 2016, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/-2.2%.  The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of the United Kingdom.  Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.