We are always looking to provide useful advice for our sellers and buyers. We were thinking about what buyers look for in their new home. Is it the condition of the garden or that all-important third bedroom? You’ll be surprised by what some buyers actually look for…
If you’re reading this as a seller, be sure to check out our guide to selling your home and our home staging article. And if you’re a buyer, make sure you read our series of buying guides for a range of tips on buying a house.
Here’s what buyers look for in a new home…
The golden rule of buying a home is about where you buy, not necessarily what you buy. Houses, flats, bungalows – depending on your time and budget – can all be renovated and improved. However, there’s not really a lot you can do about the area, which is why many buyers may consider geography to be a key factor when looking for a new home.
If you’re buying, you may want to think about:
If you’re moving your family (or plan to start one), what are the nearest and best schools in the neighbourhood?
Look around to determine the quality of the neighbourhood. Things like whether the neighbours’ homes are well-kept and what cars are parked on the street could be an indication of how affluent the area might be.
How easy or reliable is the commute to your existing job? You might also want to think about roles you might take up in the future if you change companies.
What are the nearby facilities – will you easily nip out for milk or toilet roll? How close is your nearest cinema or gym? All might be important factors that influence your decision.
You don’t have to be a chartered surveyor to get a sense of whether a home’s in a good condition for its age. Good housekeeping and hygiene are often good indications that a home has been looked after.
However there may be issues you cannot see or are unsure of. If you have doubts, a chartered surveyor will help you identify major pitfalls. You’ll then have to assess whether you’re prepared to rectify the building where necessary and if you have the budget and time to do so.
When viewing, look out for the following:
Are there any immediately visible problems with the roof?
How new is the kitchen? Also, are the oven and hobs clean? Finally, do the taps work and does the sink drain quickly? If not, this could be an indicator of hidden problems which could be costly to rectify.
Tell-tale signs of subsidence, which can include thick, diagonal cracks that are visible inside and outside.
Can you smell or even see signs of damp? It’s important to distinguish the difference between condensation and rising damp since a damp course could set you back thousands – are you prepared for this investment?
Buying a home is an investment, therefore you should buy it with the future in mind. Of course, this is circumstantial to the individual buyer, but what suits you now, might not be appropriate in 5 years time.
For example, are you newlyweds planning to start a family? If so, you might want something larger to accommodate any newborns. Or – if you’re planning an early retirement – stairs may not be an issue now, but what about in a few years time when your knees start wishing you’d opted for a bungalow instead? It certainly pays to think ahead.
Ok, you’ve not even bought your new home yet, but if you do and eventually want to resell later down the line, what’s going to bring the return on your investment? Features like room size, parking, outdoor space, additional bathrooms and quality of the kitchen will determine the resale value. Home-buyers may look for ways to optimise any of these qualities and make more money out of their investment over the years to come.
More and more of us are rightfully concerned about the environment and therefore want a house that’s the kindest it can be to Mother Nature. Energy efficiency also means economy in most cases, so it stands to reason that potential buyers are also concerned about possible outgoings, even at this early stage.
With today’s growing dependence on technology, it’s understandable that buyers look to see if they get a decent mobile service in potential new homes. Also, fast and reliable broadband speeds are a growing concern for buyers as more of us stream TV and spend more time on the internet.
Finally, any gadgets like automatic hoovers, security systems and keyless front doors will need to be in full working order to impress potential buyers, otherwise, they’re just seen as a nuisance.
If you’re reading this as a buyer, try to look past the vendor’s belongings, clutter or decor. You’re buying a house, not the seller and their sense of style. That being said, sellers should put their best foot forward and give the very best impression. Some of the things listed in this article might be out of your control, but where changes can be made, you may want to consider doing so in order to increase the appeal of your home.