The London Economic

Will stroppy sellers, annoying agents and noisy neighbours send buyers packing?

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

Work on your curb appeal, clean the interior of your home, declutter, decorate the corridors, brighten the place up… all things we’re told when selling our home. We’re also told about obvious deal-breakers with buyers, such as location, schools, public transport and crime rates. But often we forget, or haven’t been told other (not so obvious) factors that can potentially ruin a deal – rude sellers, pests and messy gardens are just a few.

So can these issues really send buyers packing?

A recent survey of over 1000 potential homebuyers’ revealed rude sellers and bad neighbours are among the UK’s biggest hidden property deal-breakers – with 42 per cent saying they would pull out of a possible purchase if the seller was rude, and 28 per cent revealing they would punish the offending vendor by reducing their offer. Another huge problem was noisy neighbours, where a massive 70 per cent said they would opt to withdraw from the deal.

The survey conducted by also exposed hiring an unpleasant or annoying estate agent could be almost as costly for sellers, with 35 per cent considering it is enough of a reason to drop a deal entirely, and 19 per cent saying they would make a lower offer.

Respondents had a list of potentially problematic property issues. They were asked to what extent they thought it would influence them making an offer. The top ten key findings were:

1. 42 per cent would slam the ‘purchase door’ if the seller was rude.
2. Any sign of noisy neighbours would silence 70 per cent of buyers.
3. A poor energy rating would cool down the deal for 75 per cent.
4. A bad mobile phone signal would turn off 53 per cent.
5. Evidence of pests would make 44 per cent of buyers scurry off.
6. Aeroplane noise would send 41 per cent of deals flying away.
7. Poor home security risks 77 per cent of deals going astray.
8. The price could be cut down by 42 per cent over a messy garden.
9. 25 per cent may shy away from an embarrassing street name.
10. Being next door to a cemetery would kill off the deal for 31 per cent.

Oliver Lewis, research manager for said: “The aim of the survey was to remind sellers to think like a buyer when marketing their property and try to sort out as many flaws as they can.

“When sellers are getting ready to put their property on the market, they are always being told to tidy up and make the place presentable, but there are many more factors they need to consider if they want to attract the widest number of buyers.

“Clearly with some ingrained issues like aeroplane noise and a bad mobile signal there is little or nothing the vendor can do. They simply have to hope that the buyer doesn’t notice or care.

“On other points like evidence of mice, badly overgrown gardens or poor home security there is much greater scope to take action in advance. Hiring a pest control company, a gardening firm or a security specialist to resolve any problems might cost a few hundred pounds but could save them thousands when selling.”

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