Survey reveals house buyers' biggest turn-offs

Vendors even leave adult material on display

Updated: 
English suburban house with a 'For Sale' sign outside a row of houses, in the suburbs of a city, United Kingdom.

House sellers are making basic errors when marketing their homes, new research has revealed.

A survey from builder Harron Homes has highlighted buyers' biggest turn-offs - and found that many vendors are doing nothing to eliminate them.

"Considering that a house seller only has a crucial 0-5 minute window to appeal to a potential buyer, our research shows that they may actually be missing a few tricks and making some rookie errors that in many cases can be easily avoided," says the firm.

The problems start before the buyer even sees the property, with 58% saying their biggest turn-off is a lack of photos on the listing. However, 6.80% of UK house sellers admit to leaving them out, and 15.30% uploading poor quality photos.

While 46.20% of house buyers said a lack of floor plan was a big turn-off, 14.40% of UK house sellers didn't bother including one. And although 43.20% of house buyers said they were put off if a listing didn't show every room in the house, 20.90% confessed to not doing this.

Some big turn-offs can't be avoided. More than half of people said they'd be put off by a lack of parking, for example, but 15.60% of UK house sellers can't oblige.

Similarly, more than a third of buyers said that a shared driveway would put them off, but more than one in ten vendors has one. And while four in ten buyers wouldn't want a shared garden, 8.20% of properties have one.

Inside, it's damp that's the biggest turn-off, more than half of buyers say. However, 6.90% of UK house sellers admit that they have this in the property they're selling.

Artex ceilings are also a no-no for 21.30% of buyers, but are found in 12% of UK homes for sale.

And, says the firm, "At a house viewing, nearly half of UK house buyers said the main thing that house sellers need to avoid doing is cover things up or act dishonest about issues within the property. However shockingly, over 1 in 10 UK house sellers admit to doing this."

It's also not a good idea to follow the buyer from room to room.

The research also revealed some of the worst sights buyers have encountered in properties for sale. More than a quarter have seen dirty bathrooms, for example, and nearly as many say they've seen dirty dishes and unmade beds.

Astonishingly, more than one in ten say they've even seen adult material left lying about.

Buyers: Top 10 turn-offs
Appearance or smell of damp - 52.20%
Smell of smoke - 47.50%
Smell of dog or other animals - 40.40%
Unclean appearance - 38.00%
Noise, for example from traffic or neighbours - 34.10%
Lack of storage - 32.10%
Property appears cluttered - 28.70%
Signs of outdated electrics such as old fixtures and fittings - 27.00%
Smell of grease - 26.10%
Lack of double glazing - 25.00%

How to Avoid Home Sellers Mistakes

The house of dog mess: after

The house of dog mess: after