Research suggests that most buyers take only a few minutes to decide whether or not they like a property.
Certain factors that are sometimes beyond the homeowner’s control can influence the buyer’s opinion and the marketability of the home before the buyer has even stepped past the front door.
The reason that most industry experts give for a home not being seen in a favourable light by buyers would be the property’s location. A property’s proximity to good school, supermarkets or malls, recreation areas such as parks and other amenities all weigh heavily on how the property is valued in the buyer’s eyes. Other factors that will negatively influence a home’s appeal when considering its location would be its proximity to power lines or unsightly mobile phone masts. Although currently no definitive scientific proof exists that mobile phone masts are a danger to residents that live nearby, people generally avoid living close to them and the re-saleability of the property can be a problem in the future. Noisy highways or airports and anything else that could be seen by the buyer as an annoyance or eyesore will also impact the opinion of a property.
Many buyers also consider the condition of the neighbourhood in which the property is situated. A rundown neighbourhood that has not been maintained or cared for could push buyers away, even if the property for sale is the best in that area. The condition of the neighbourhood and surroundings could force the seller to lower their asking price even if they have cared for and maintained their property well. However, it is still important for homeowners to ensure that their home has curb appeal and stands out from other houses in the neighbourhood. If two homes are for sale in the same area, buyers are more likely to purchase the one that is the most ascetically pleasing. With a home’s curb appeal as a deciding factor in a property’s value, a fresh coat of paint and a mowed, weeded and de-cluttered lawn could make all the difference.
A factor that many buyers are considering is the availability of parking. This is especially prevalent among buyers looking to purchase sectional title homes or property situated in heavily populated city areas like in the centre of Cape Town, where parking is a premium. In some cases additional parking or lack thereof could seriously influence the properties perceived value with buyers. Most properties will have some kind of allocated parking space for residents; however some buyers want available parking for visitors.
While most renovations will generally increase the value of a property, certain unusual renovations could impact on the value of the home in a negative manner. A home gym or greenhouse for example, could be exactly what the current homeowner wanted but it may not necessarily appeal to the buyers looking at the home. Unfinished renovations or poor workmanship can also devalue the property. Homeowners should also try as far as possible to ensure that all renovation is complete and painted in a neutral colour. There are simply no excuses for poor DIY renovations that could be very costly to fix. It is also important that if any major renovations have been undertaken, all documentation and permission has been granted by the necessary governing bodies.
Where possible, homeowners should avoid pitfalls that could devalue their property and buyers should do the necessary research to avoid purchasing a property that could become a financial burden in the future. Knowledge will be a vital key for buyers looking to invest in a property that will appreciate in value and give them a good return on their investment.