The top 15 homebuyer turn-offs that could cost sellers more than £65k

7 min Read Published: 23 Aug 2021

The top 15 homebuyer turn-offs that could cost sellers £50kNew research has revealed the top 15 issues which put prospective buyers off, with some knocking more than £65,000 off the value of the home.

What did the research find?

Property acquisition company Yes Homebuyers has collated a list of the 15 most costly homebuyer turn-offs, from noisy neighbours to unlucky door numbers, and calculated how much each issue could wipe off the value of a property. 

We’ve calculated the costs based on Rightmove’s estimation of the average UK property price of £337,371.

1) Subsidence

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath a property is sinking or collapsing, which can compromise the structural integrity of the home, and is estimated to wipe as much as 20% off the value - that amounts to a whopping £67,474.

2) Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a rapid-growing plant, which can grow as much as 10cm in a single day, and is known for being able to take over entire properties and damage the strength of walls, foundations and other integral structures. A Japanese knotweed infestation could knock up to 15% off the price of your property, leaving you down as much as £50,605.

3) Poor upkeep

Arguably the most obvious turn-off, a poorly-kept property - such as an overgrown garden or a kitchen needing refitting - paints a less-than-desirable first impression for potential buyers, and could drag a property’s value down by 14% - or £47,231.

4) Unattractive surroundings

Although this issue is largely out of your control, unattractive structures around your home - such as electricity towers or excessive overhead power lines - that disturb the view from the property could cost you as much as 13% of your house’s value, setting you back an average of £43,858.

5) Nuisance neighbours

Whether they’re noisy, messy, or just difficult to live next to, nuisance neighbours could wipe up to 10% - £33,737 - off the price of your property.

6) Flood risk

An ever-present issue with climate change driving seas and rivers higher with every year, a property on flood-risk territory could also sell for 10% less.

7) Lack of convenient parking

If you live in a flat or on a busy street, you’ll be no stranger to the struggle for a convenient parking space, but it may be a surprise to find out that this issue can knock as much as 7.1% - £23,953 - off your property’s value.

8) Door number

Whether you’re superstitious or not yourself, there are plenty of prospective homebuyers who would be put off by an unlucky door number (such as 13 or 666), with a property with an ill-omened address losing on average of 6% - £20,242.

9) Structural issues

Any outstanding structural defects, such as a cracked load-bearing wall or a leaking loft, could wipe 5.3%, or £17,880, off a house’s value. It’s best to get these issues sorted before you put your house on the market anyway, to ensure your property performs well should a surveyor visit.

10) Local power stations

The hum and visual clutter of a power station near to your property can also be a major turn-off for prospective buyers, cutting 4.9% off your house’s value - that’s £16,531.

11) Pet damage/odours

It’s a no-brainer to make sure your house is clean and tidy before a showing, but any lingering damage - such as chewed furniture or fittings - or unpleasant smells left behind by pets could cost you 4%, or £13,494.

12) Cluttered rooms

Similarly, cluttered or untidy rooms in the listing photos or when a prospective buyer comes for a showing could cost you 4%. Make sure to remove clutter and keep your property organised to give buyers the best impression.

13) Damp and/or mould

Another of the problems you should seek to solve before putting your house on the market, damp and/or mould can be a health risk as well as an unsightly feature, and could see your property devalued by 0.9% or £3,036.

14) Asbestos

Usually an issue specific to older properties, a property with asbestos - a notorious carcinogen - could sell for 0.9% - £3,036 - less than its value. Removing asbestos can be expensive, but makes it much more attractive to a buyer looking for a safe home without having to front the cost of removal by themselves.

15) Woodworm

Finally, a woodworm infestation - both a major buyer turn-off and a genuine risk to a property’s structural integrity - could knock 0.5% (£1,686) off the average house’s value.

How to make your property more desirable when you sell

There are a number of ways you can boost your property's desirability when it comes time to sell up.

First of all, focus on addressing any of the issues above, such as repairing damp or deep-cleaning to get rid of any lingering pet stains and/or odours. These problems could cost you up to 20% of your property's actual value, so pay special attention to sorting them out first. For more of the most common seller faux pas, head to our article "6 mistakes people make when trying to sell their property".

Next, take a look at "Selling your home: 10 tips on how to showcase your property" for our list of ways to get the most out of your house for those all-important first impressions, including why natural light is the most flattering and if you can make an extra bedroom out of that disused office space.

If your house is still struggling to sell, read our article "5 reasons your house is not selling & what to do about it" to help you work out why and how to get your property snapped up as soon as possible.