Clutter and a lack of storage matter to people viewing homes in the UK

Clutter, an obvious lack of storage, pets, bad smells and general mess are the top turn offs when buyers view a home, a new study has found.

With prospective buyers forming opinions within the first few seconds of walking through the front door, the survey from sofa and carpet specialist ScS looked at the top turn offs and the top attractive features cites by viewers.

It found that 41% listed clutter and an obvious lack of places for storage was the biggest turn off while 40% said pets, bad smells and a general mess around the property.

Some 36% said that they would be put off by old or damaged carpets, 35% by an old or messy kitchen and 33% if the property was affected by a nearby main road.

When it comes to the kind of attributes that attract buyers some 57% said the right number of bedrooms was necessary while 40% said off-street parking. Then 32% said it was a well maintained garden, 31% new windows and 30% a new kitchen.

Over a third, some 39% of males were put off by pets, bad smells and general untidiness, whereas clutter or obvious lack of storage came up as the biggest bugbear for women.

Although people in most places in the UK voted clutter or lack of storage the biggest turn-off, in Manchester 41% of house viewers said that old and damaged carpets would be the first thing to put them off putting in an offer. While 51% of people in Liverpool said inconsiderate neighbours would be the biggest issue to deter them from buying a property.

Older buyers, those aged 45 an over, were more concerned with pets, bad smells and general untidiness. People in this age bracket are usually searching for their ‘forever home’ and lingering smells can be very off-putting when moving in to a new property.

Aaron Cambden, managing director at Fairview Estates, pointed out that buyers will look at the front of a house and immediately create perceptions of the entire home before viewing it.
‘If your front door needs a fresh lick of paint, sort it out quickly, those first impressions help buyers and estate agents understand how they should be viewing and evaluating a home from the offset,’ he said.

‘Colours are key in the home for helping to sell the property. Red is scientifically proven to raise heartbeats and evoke an energetic atmosphere. Yellows and oranges are perfect for creative thinking and kick off trails of thought when seen. These colours can, therefore, be considered to be distracting to viewers, there is science behind sticking to simple tones and colour choices, so think first before picking up the paint roller. Decorating is a key part of presenting your property adequately,’ he explained.

‘If your property doesn’t offer broad appeal and has too many quirky design features and impractical pieces throughout the home, it’s not going to be viewed positively,’ he added.