Posted on 22nd September 2011

Dirty Kitchens and Bathrooms are Biggest Buyer Turn-offs

By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors

While I have talked previously about how home owners who want to make their property fit for market, should have all of the relevant paperwork ready to hand, there are more basic things that anyone can do to attract a buyer.

Grimy kitchen units, dirty dishes stagnating in the sink, and less than spotless bathrooms have been highlighted as the biggest buyer turn-offs, according to a recent survey by Rightmove.

Buyers were asked to rank how off-putting they found a range of factors when visiting a property for a viewing, with dirty kitchen and dirty bathroom rated as the most offensive to their tastes by 26% and 28% of respondents respectively. It may seem obvious to many that one of the key things you should be aware of when aiming to attract potential buyers, is to present your home in the best possible light.

The pollsters asked prospective buyers to rank seven problem areas of the home on a scale of one to ten, with one being the most offensive when it comes to home-hunting. The importance of dirt-busting continues with dirty internal decoration the third ranked biggest buyer deterrent by 16% of respondents. The area found least off-putting was an internal colour scheme offensive to your tastes, with just 4% of respondents ranking this at number one on the scale.

If you have small children, one of the simplest things you can do is to ensure that any toys are tidied away. There is nothing worse than potential buyers viewing a property to find clutter that could have easily been removed before a viewing. Similarly, if you have pets, you should ensure that any hairs are vacuumed away, including pet hair attached to furniture or cushions. Be objective when you look around your home, and imagine your house as if you are viewing it for the first time through a strangers eyes.

Conversely, many potential buyers will try to imagine themselves living in the property during a viewing and having their senses offended by a dire lack of cleanliness or hygiene can be a real problem. Ironically however, cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom to give a sparkling finish can cost far less than other areas of the home in need of a complete makeover. Another tip is to invite a friend who you can trust for an honest opinion round to view your property and to give an honest opinion. Dont worry or be offended if that opinion is critical, however, as its important to remember theyre only trying to help!

In this current tough market, sellers should always try to ensure that their property is presented in the best possible light.

Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: call 01325 341 500.