What features sell a home?

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Before putting your home on show, make sure you know what features buyers are looking for, so that you can put your best foot forward.

Do you ever wonder what buyers think when they come to view your property? Ask anyone who has spent a week spring cleaning their home before putting it on show and you’ll quickly figure out that everyone wants to put their best foot forward when it comes to selling up.

The Rawson Property group published a press release recently which revealed some really interesting information. This included noting what happened when prospective buyers were asked to wear eye-tracking goggles.

The goggles recorded not only where the buyers were looking, but also how long they spent examining certain things, and the results showed which specific areas received the most attention.

Location, location, location

It turns out that buyers are more concerned with the property’s location than with its assets. Some 95 percent of those who viewed homes while wearing the goggles spent notable amounts of time looking out of the windows into the garden and the neighbourhood beyond. Armed with this knowledge, it makes perfect sense to clean the windows and tidy up the garden, but what else do buyers look for?

Obviously different things appeal to different age groups and in an effort to keep things simple we’ll focus on the ‘millennial’ (those born between 1980 and 2000) buyer.

Time is of the essence

Buyers in this age group don't generally have time for a ‘fix me upper’ and are therefore more likely to buy a property that is in tip-top condition. They will pay particular attention to the state of the fixtures as most won't have the extra cash needed to overhaul expensive areas such as kitchens and bathrooms once they've moved in.

Working from home

Don't be surprised if a buyer in this segment asks about office space. A growing number of young professionals now work from home and preference will undoubtedly be given to homes that have additional rooms that can be transformed into practical workspace.

On the working from home front, millennial buyers are really, really interested in technology and will almost certainly show far more interest in a home that has good internet access than in one that doesn't. The same goes for cell phone coverage. While sellers may have little control over the type of lines service providers have made available in their area, if these are high-speed or fibre optic, this can become a major selling point which should be mentioned to prospective buyers.

Maintenance costs

Modern buyers also look at homes that are low maintenance. Tiled or wooden floors are far easier to maintain than carpets, and granite work surfaces are going to look good for years. Another thing that young buyers are acutely aware of are energy costs. The price of electricity has soared in recent years and most of these buyers are going to be drawn to homes with more ‘green’ fixtures such as a solar geyser.

Safe and sound

Security is always going to be paramount in any buying decision and while not every home will have advanced security features, if your home is going to appeal to buyers, it should at least be well lit, have burglar bars, and have security gates fitted to all exterior doors.

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