Money conscious buyers don’t’ want big old properties with work needing done

Properties in the country that are in good condition are likely to sell quicker than those needing work as cash strapped buyers cannot afford to undertake major renovation work, it has been suggested.

It means that buyers who would have previously only considered period and older properties are now showing more interest in new homes, according to the team at Stacks Property Search.

‘Buyers have lost their appetites for projects. Increasingly, our clients want a property to be in perfect condition so they can move straight in. It's hard enough to raise finance to buy the property, but it becomes even harder if you have to factor in money for renovations too,’ said the firm’s Bill Spreckley.

‘The current psychology is that finances need to be certain, and that means knowing how much you need to spend and what the running and maintenance costs are. That does of course mean there are more opportunities for those who are actively looking for a project,’ he explained.

‘The market has reversed. Ten years ago, wrecks would go for barmy prices at auction as developers, builders and renovate to live buyers competed with each other. Today the auction rooms are a much quieter place,’ he added.

His colleague Catherine McAllister has found that buyers who would previously have only considered period property are being seduced by newer homes. ‘The unpredictable nature of repairs and maintenance that old properties can require, together with the sometimes eye watering heating bills, is making cash conscious buyers see new, insulated, double glazed, efficient properties as a very attractive proposition,’ she pointed out.

‘Certainly buyers are more interested in EPC data than ever before, and question vendors closely about running costs. Eco features are a very strong selling point in today's market,’ she added.

It also means that larger properties with a lot of land are being divided into more manageable proportions to make them more attractive  and affordable for buyers. ‘Large properties with many acres of land, and separate annexes or cottages are being re-lotted and sold as separate titles. In some areas there is a real shortage of buyers in the £2 million plus bracket due in part to the new stamp duty band, and partly because property at this level can be difficult to sell,’ said Amanda Ake.

‘Selling some of the land separately, or packaging up a separate cottage with its own parcel of land, can open up completely new markets. Buyers can keep their eyes open for opportunities to approach a vendor's agent about an extra bit of garden or land, a barn, or a separate property. Anything goes, and there's nothing to be lost by asking,’ she added.

Country house buyers are increasingly searching for property that has potential to generate income, according to the firm’s Briony Mathams. ‘An annexe that can be used for holiday lets, B&B accommodation, land and stabling for liveries are options. Or at a less commercial level, space for chickens, pigs, or vegetables for a taste of the good life,’ she said.