Navigating the most common dealbreakers for house buyers

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Navigating the most common dealbreakers for house buyers

The search for a perfect new home can feel like the biggest pipe dream of them all. Trying to find a house that ticks all the boxes, in the right area and within budget can feel like a mammoth task.

Whilst each potential buyer will have their own unique preferences and priorities, there are certain common dealbreakers which tend to emerge consistently for buyers when undertaking property viewings. From orientation to layout or location, understanding these dealbreakers and learning how to overcome them can be crucial in securing your dream home since you are likely to need to make some compromises along the way.

With that in mind, we have considered five of the most common dealbreakers for home buyers and how you can overcome them.

1. North-Facing Garden

Garden orientation is often a significant consideration for buyers. A north-facing garden receives less sunlight throughout the day, which can be a dealbreaker for those who prioritise outdoor living spaces and gardening. However, there are several ways to mitigate this issue:

  • Landscaping: Strategic landscaping can maximise sunlight exposure in a north-facing garden. Trimming trees and bushes, as well as selecting shade-loving plants like ferns, snowdrops or begonias can help create a brighter and more inviting outdoor space. For the ‘grow your own’ gardener, there are plenty of foods like lettuce, kale and rocket which also appreciate a shadier garden.
  • Outdoor Lighting: Installing outdoor lighting can extend the usability of a north-facing garden into the evening hours, making it feel more functional and welcoming. There are also numerous types of outdoor heaters available for alfresco entertaining too.
  • Patio or Decking: Consider adding a patio or decking area closer to the house where sunlight is more abundant. This designated sunny spot can serve as a cosy outdoor seating area or a place for container gardening.
  • Use your internal space to its best advantage: The flip side of a north facing garden is bright and sunny rooms at the front of your home. To optimise these rooms to their best advantage you may need to reconfigure the existing layout.

2. Lack of Storage Space

A shortage of storage space is a common dealbreaker for many house hunters. Clutter can quickly accumulate, leading to disorganisation and stress. To address this concern consider:

  • Built-in storage solutions: Installing built-in shelves, cabinets, or wardrobes can maximise storage capacity without sacrificing floor space. Utilise under-stair storage or convert alcoves into built-in bookshelves to optimise every available inch.
  • Multi-functional furniture: Invest in furniture that offers hidden storage compartments, such as ottomans or bed frames with built-in drawers. These versatile pieces help declutter living spaces while serving a dual purpose. For the illusion of more space, choose furniture with legs rather than pieces which sit on the ground and appear to take up more floor area.
  • Garage or shed conversion: If the property has a garage or shed, consider converting it into usable living or storage space. This can provide additional room for hobbies, home offices, or simply storing seasonal items. This may fall under permitted development rights but make sure you are clued up on any planning constraints.

3. Outdated Kitchen or Bathroom

The condition of the kitchen and bathrooms heavily influences a buyer’s perception of a property’s value and liveability. Outdated fixtures and appliances can be a major turnoff, but there are ways to modernise these spaces without breaking the bank:

  • Cosmetic updates: Simple cosmetic touches, such as painting cabinets, replacing hardware, and updating light fixtures, can breathe new life into a tired kitchen or bathroom. Consider budget-friendly options like peel-and-stick backsplashes, vinyl flooring and new cupboard doors on an existing carcass for a quick refresh.
  • Focus on functionality: Prioritise upgrades that enhance functionality, such as installing new taps, adding clever storage, or replacing outdated appliances with energy-efficient models. These improvements not only modernise the space but also improve usability.
  • Professional renovation: In cases where a complete overhaul is necessary, consider hiring a professional to renovate the kitchen or bathroom. While this may require a larger investment upfront, it can significantly increase the property’s appeal and resale value in the long run.

4. Poor Layout or Flow

A poorly designed layout can make a home feel cramped and dysfunctional, ultimately leading buyers to look elsewhere. To overcome this dealbreaker:

  • Reconfigure existing space: Sometimes, simple changes to the layout can make a big difference. Consider reconfiguring or repurposing spaces you won’t utilise as much to better suit your needs. For example, converting a formal dining room into a home office or playroom can add versatility to the home. There are a number of apps such as Houzz or RoomSketcher and magicplan which can assist you in creating a new floorplan or layout.
  • Consider flexibility in your design: Knocking down non-load-bearing walls to create an open plan layout can improve flow and maximise natural light which is particularly popular with young families seeking communal space. Consider a flexible layout with the likes of partitioned walls which give the option of open plan living or separate space for work and play.
  • Consult with a professional: If you’re unsure about how to optimise the layout of a potential new home, consult with a professional designer or architect. They can offer expert advice and suggest creative solutions to improve the flow and functionality of the space. An initial consultation is likely to be free of charge or come with a low fee attached and could throw up some useful suggestions should you proceed with the house purchase.

5. Location and Neighbourhood

Location is one of the most significant factors influencing a property’s desirability. Issues such as proximity to amenities, safety, and noise levels can all impact a buyer’s decision. While you can’t change the location of a property, there are ways to mitigate concerns:

  • Research the local area: Thoroughly research the local area to ensure it aligns with your lifestyle and priorities. If you don’t know an area, don’t discount it until you have done some careful research. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Consider factors such as school catchments if you have, or plan to have, children, access to public transportation, and nearby amenities like parks, restaurants, and shopping centres.
  • Visit at different times: Visit the property at different times of the day to gauge noise levels and activity in the area. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to live there on a day-to-day basis.
  • Engage with the community: Talk to neighbours and residents to get insider perspectives on the local area. Join local community groups or online forums for areas you may be interested in to connect with other residents and learn more about the area’s strengths and challenges.

By addressing these common dealbreakers proactively, you can increase your chances of finding a home that meets your needs and you may even add value to the property in the process should you ever wish to resell in future. Whether it’s maximising sunlight in a north-facing garden or refreshing a dated kitchen, there are plenty of wallet-friendly solutions available to help you transform a property into your dream home. With careful consideration and a bit of creativity, you can overcome potential dealbreakers and find a home you love.

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