Messy neighbours can scupper house sales

Yorkshire Bank says a messy neighbour can greatly influence the selling of a house.

A survey by the bank finds one in three people would be put off buying a property if the house next door looked in a state of disrepair or had an overgrown garden.

A further one in five would turn their noses up at a property that was otherwise perfect if they detected an unusual smell.

And 31% would like to buy a home they could move straight into, without the need to have any work done on it.

Gary Lumby, head of retail at Yorkshire Bank, says: “When selling their home, most people think of sprucing it up so it looks its best for potential buyers.

“But our research shows sellers should try giving their neighbours a nudge to do the same. First impressions really do count.”

James Rodea, commercial director at Cluttons, says: “When catering for higher value markets as we are, we know poorly presented houses put people off. There is always a massive reluctance from people when it comes to doing renovations, and from personal experience I know why. But it’s worth it in the end.”

But the property being in the right location is still the major factor in selling houses.

Rodea adds: “I don’t agree with all of this survey. It’s a huge generalisation. People might even be able to get a better deal if their neighbour’s house is untidy – and they’ll sell it anyway if it’s in the right street.”

Paul Finnegan, director of Savills Estate Agents, says: “Things like busy roads, railway lines and being under flight paths put people off. They can prevent potential buyers even viewing a property, let alone liking it.

“Being by a fairly busy road could knock 20% off the value, and by a motorway this could be even more.”

The looming threat of DIY is also a deterrent when buying properties. However, one in five of those surveyed by the bank say would be keen on buying a house that needed work doing to it in the hope of adding value.