As Sales Continue to Boom, Estate Agents Reveal the Number One Deal Breaker for Buyers

While the temporary halt on stamp duty is seeing property markets soar, some homes are still slow to sell – and a new survey of 420 estate agents could help owners reveal the reason.

The study saw EOT Cleaning ask 420 estate agents which home maintenance issues they think could be deal breakers for buyers – so what is the number one deal-breaker?

  • The majority of estate agents (44%) say that unknown drafts that lead to damp are the number one deal breaker for buyers
  • Loose plaster ranks second, with 34% of estate agents stating this is one of the biggest deal breakers
  • 20% of current homeowners trying to sell admit to never fixing their loose plaster
  • Estate agents say the third main issue for buyers is flood damage as a result of gutter build up, with 11% of homeowners admit they never clean out their gutters

The research was commissioned by End of Tenancy London and they also spoke to 860 homeowners to see whether homeowners were aware or taking action on these issues.

Three Biggest Turn Offs: Unknown Drafts, Plaster Damage and Water Damage

Drafts from an unknown source are the most off-putting issue when looking for a home. This can lead to a multitude of issues such as frost damage, which in turn will lead to moisture and rot – 44% of estate agents say this is among the biggest deal breakers for a potential buyer.

Coming in second place is plaster damage, with 34% of estate agents stating this would turn off a potential buyer – buyers are aware that, if left untreated, plaster damage will only worsen over time, further damaging the structure.

In third place is water damage as a direct result of gutter negligence, 30% of estate agents saw this as an issue that could significantly reduce the value of a home. Water damage can be very costly, and something as simple as cleaning the gutter to help prevent this could save you thousands in the future.

At the bottom of the list is dirty or damaged skirting boards. With 6% of the vote, this isn’t too much of a serious issue for some buyers. If the issue is water related, this can be a little more costly as the average day rate to replace skirting boards is an estimated £250.

Other turn-offs include:

Condensation on walls

With the weather getting cooler our indoor heating usage is on the rise, meaning condensation on walls is often inevitable. However, if left for a long period of time, condensation will lead to mould growth. This can penetrate the walls and cause long lasting structural damage over time.

EOT Cleaning’s survey shows that most homeowners act quickly when it comes to damp walls, with 51% of people cleaning the damp within the first 2 weeks. Although, 12% of people leave the damp to sit and soak for between 3-6 months, by which point, the damage may already be irreversible.

Loose plaster

If left, condensation will likely lead to loose plaster. The longer it takes to fix the damp on walls, the more damage will come to pass on the plaster work. Moisture is the single greatest cause of loose plaster. If not treated, the damp will continue to seep through the loose plaster and cause further structural damage. According to the study, shockingly 20% of people will never sort out the issue of loose plaster if sighted within their home.

Rotting windows

With the replacement of windows costing anything between £500-£3,200 per window, keeping them in the best shape possible is paramount. Rotting window sills are incredibly common, as they’re often acting as a shelf for water to accumulate and sit until cleaned away.

Luckily, the majority of homeowners (54%) say they are likely to act on damage to window sills within the first 2 weeks of seeing it. Although, 4% of people say they would never do anything to help prevent the progression of rotting window sills.

Gutter build-up

Ignoring gutter build-up will quickly lead to a foul smell – which if left, can often lead to structural damage. In seriously neglectful situations, it is not uncommon to see flood and water damage as a direct result of gutter blockages. EOT Cleaning found that  11% of people said they would never do anything to help prevent gutter build-up long term damage.

Dirty oven build-up

It may seem a bit extreme to replace an oven for lack of cleaning, but it is not uncommon. Over time a dirty oven can inflict serious health dangers as well as becoming more and more difficult to remove the aforementioned dirt – which in the long term will lead to a full replacement. Astonishingly, 15% of homeowners never clean their oven. However, the stats do also reassuringly show that most people clean theirs after every use, or within the first 2 weeks.

Chimney area/sack

The maintenance of a chimney sack and the area surrounding is important for several reasons. First and foremost, the health risks that come with it. Secondly, the build-up of soot. The more the chimney sack becomes encrusted, the more chance there is of expensive work needed in the future to make it safe again. Horrendously, 39% of people never clean their chimney sack or the surrounding area.

Ivy damage

 Infamously causing damage to the outside of homes, it is not unheard of for the loose cannon plant to venture into the home as well. With a little maintenance, this can be avoided. Ivy takes hold of any cracks and concavities – however the good news is, it is not strong enough to make its own holes. With this being said, 9% of wall ivy owners do not properly maintain the ivy in their home.

Despite the pandemic, the housing market is currently enjoying a mini-boom since lockdown – with buyers set to save thousands before the stamp duty holiday ends, now really is the time to sell.  Sellers should pay attention to these issues if they want their properties to reach the best prices.