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What are the must-have features for most prospective buyers? As a property seller, you’ll be eager to know what buyers prioritise above all else to improve and enhance your own sales pitch.
Luckily, research has been carried out into this very topic by comparison website Gocompare.com (less said about their adverts, the better!), which has revealed the top 20 must-have features for buyers.
Topping the list with 69% of the vote was central heating, closely followed by double glazing (68%) and a garden (65%), which suggests that buyers are most interested in warmth, energy efficiency and a pleasant place in which to relax and hold BBQs when the weather is good.
Security, as you would expect, is also a high priority, with secure windows and doors a must-have for 61% of people. Parking is often a key consideration when it comes to property purchases, and so it proved in this research, with 54% citing a driveway or a dedicated parking space as a key selling point.
Meanwhile, half of those surveyed (50%) place a lot of emphasis on good local shops and amenities, while the popularity of electrical sockets (54%) and good reliable broadband (49%) highlight how important technology now is to buyers. Fast broadband is often listed as a must-have feature nowadays, with the internet now such an integral part of our daily lives – for work, leisure and entertainment purposes, as well as things such as booking holidays, purchasing goods and applying for jobs.
Still, the more traditional feature of friendly neighbours also scored highly, with 47% of those surveyed highlighting this as a must-have.
Increasingly, buyers expect homes to have two toilets (46%), a bath (46%) and a good energy efficient rating on an EPC certificate (46%). For 45% of people, a new boiler/central heating system would have significant appeal, while a clear and consistent mobile phone signal would be a must-have feature for 44% of those surveyed.
The rest of the top 20 list was made up by a shower cubicle, a garage, cavity wall insulation, a landline, a dining room and a living room large enough to house a big flatscreen TV.
There are some must-have features from the past, though, which have fallen off the radar of buyers, including period features (which had long been a popular trend), open plan kitchens/living spaces and good local schools. In addition, buyers now tend to place far greater importance on garden space than more traditional selling points such as conservatories, extensions or loft conversions. Investing heavily in such features to increase the value of your home may therefore not have the desired effect, as they are not as in-demand as they once were.
The biggest surprise about the research, however, was the fact that ‘good local schools’ didn’t make the top 20 must-have list, with only 13% naming it as a priority. This is probably a reflection of a more mobile population, where car, train and bus travel allows children to travel further to reach schools. A school on the doorstep, like a place of work on the doorstep, is as a result of that no longer a priority.
As we know, tailoring your property to one type of buyer or one specific demographic is a selling strategy that will only serve to restrict you, but it is still a sensible idea to be aware of the features that have the widest appeal to buyers. Nearly all homes have central heating and double glazing as a given, but if you have a driveway/dedicated parking space, good broadband and mobile connectivity and a favourable energy efficient rating, these can all be used as part of your sales strategy.
Equally, garden space will have considerable appeal, particularly as we enter the warmer summer months when people will be eager to be outside as much as possible. Certain demographics – in particular families, downsizing retirees and young professionals – will place a specific focus on outside space, so it’s important that yours looks up to scratch.
You should also be aware that practical features are now overshadowing aesthetic ones. According to the research, security, heating, connectivity and energy efficiency are now more important than grand features or showpiece rooms, with more call for effective central heating than stylish conservatories.
As a seller, it’s important that you keep up with changing buyer trends and tastes to increase your chances of selling. To appeal to as many buyers as possible, a clean, well-maintained, homely and characterful property – with décor that is kept neutral and unobtrusive – is likely to yield the best results.
If you would like further guidance on buying or selling a property in North London, East London, Hertfordshire or Essex, we would be delighted to help.
To find out how much your home could be worth on the current market, you can request a free instant online valuation.