What do potential buyers really want in a home?

June, 2014

What buyers look for in a new home is very subjective; it depends on who you are, your personal circumstances, financial situation and many other individual factors. Some want a place they can move straight into without having to touch a thing, while others relish the thought of knocking down walls and converting the attic. A number might dream of period fireplaces when others envision state of the art home automation systems. Of course, if we all liked the same properties, wouldn't it be boring?

That said, there are several basic characteristics that all buyers, no matter whether they are retirees, first-timers, professionals or couples, seek when hunting their next abode. Here's what potential buyers want in a home:

The perfect location

Most buyers' first thoughts pertain to location. While they may have narrowed it down to a physical area, the exact desirable situation will naturally vary. Busy professionals might need to be close to Elgin station for an easy commute to work, retired buyers might want to be closer to (or further from) their grandchildren and energetic first-time buyers might wish to be smack-bang in the centre of town, where the action is. Location is key as it can impact significantly on quality of life.

Value for money

With strict budgets to adhere to, all buyers want to find a home which offers value for money - if not a little bit extra. That's especially relevant once you get into the realms of stamp duty. This much-disliked tax is a huge consideration when choosing a home, so much so that some buyers reportedly take drastic steps to avoid paying it. It's worth knowing that from 2016, Holyrood - rather than Westminster - will have control over stamp duty rates in Scotland, though what will happen to these rates is not yet known.

Value for money doesn't just come at the expense of knocking the vendor's price down by £10k. It might also cover lower council tax, cheaper energy bills or saving on petrol by being further up the A95. Regardless of what it is, we all want it.

A good vibe

Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. You will spend a lot of time in the building, possibly working from the spare bedroom or eventually raising a family. Ultimately, you could be there for several years. It stands to reason, therefore, that buyers seek that 'good vibe' when they view a property. Ridiculous as it sounds, we all get 'a feeling' about a home and most of us will trust that gut instinct, even when there's no clear explanation for it. How many new home-owners claim they walked through the door and "it just felt right"? Thousands.

To be in good condition

Whether or not you intend to wield that hammer and exert your DIY muscles in your new home, all buyers want the property to be in good condition with a roof that doesn't leak, efficient insulation and plumbing devoid of pipe hammer, etc. At the very least, we want to spend our money on a home that is not riddled with structural issues unless we're warned via the surveys and offered a reflective price.

The deal-sealing features

There's a Carrie Bradshaw-esque walk-in closet, you say? A home cinema in the basement? Let me sign the contract now! Sometimes, just one feature can be all it takes to sell a property. It might be totally in the wrong direction for Keith, Lossiemouth or [insert chosen region here], it might push you above budget, but you always wanted a swimming pool, right?

All right, the above might seem a little glib, but essentially most potential buyers are looking for the same thing: to buy a property that feels like home, makes them happy, enhances their life and doesn't cost the earth. That's not really much to ask for, is it?

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