What deters a potential buyer? Rubbish and teenagers in beds...

Clive Hedges of Arnolds Keys estate agents. Photo : Steve Adams

Clive Hedges of Arnolds Keys estate agents. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Local estate agents state what they think puts off potential buyers when viewing properties

Estate agents have stated what they think puts potential buyers off in the wake of a new report which says rubbish could reduce the cost of a home by up to 12 pc.

Cigarette butts and food wrappers on pavements or wheelie bins overflowing with rubbish will put off house buyers before they see the property, according to a report commissioned by environmental campaigners Keep Britain Tidy.

Clive Hedges, from Arnolds Keys, said: 'You would probably be amazed at what I have seen in my 40 years of being an estate agent, when it comes to people being unaware of how to make their house saleable. Unmade beds, washing-up in the sink, dogs' mess on the lawn, dirty washing on the bedroom floor, dismantled motorbikes in the lounge, and teenagers asleep in bed (complete with girlfriends): these are all things I have come across on the very day that I am supposed to put a property on the market. Doubtless potential buyers have seen similar horrors. You shouldn't have to pick up other people's rubbish, but if litter is a problem, then it won't hurt to do a quick litter-pick in the street around your house when you have a

viewing. Even if you don't get a sale, at least you will have done your community a good turn.

Andrew Lansdell from Aldridge Lansdell: 'Unsightly neighbouring properties, rubbish in front gardens, litter on pavements, old 'banger' cars and vans parked on the street, particularly in urban areas, all detract from the saleability of a property and reduce its value, although whether by as much as 12pc is questionable – as a rule of thumb guide probably five-10pc, but in some extreme cases – a house with a sinister or tragic history – possibly considerably more!

Thomas Isotta from Barn Masters: 'Presentation and first impressions are absolutely key. Litter and untidy bins outside a property could be problematic. But we find it's cluttered, untidy interiors and unpleasant odours that put people off. For potential buyers, nasty odours can be a deal breaker and hugely affect prices. It could be from pets, bad drains, bins or heavy smokers.'

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Ben Marchbank, from Bedfords: said: 'No doubt, a house's history can affect the interest it generates, for better or for worse; over the years here in Burnham Market, we have sold a number of houses in which it is said that Lord Nelson had once slept. (I suspect that this cannot have been true in every case – otherwise he would not have spent much time at sea!) I also recall selling a house several years ago, just before the use of the internet became quite so prevalent. A potential buyer rang me to ask, 'Have you looked up the house through Google?' I admitted that I had not, and the applicant said, darkly, 'Well you should.' My interest piqued, I gingerly typed the name of the house into Google and the top listing was a mention of the house by the current seller in a tribute on the website of the exorcist who had rid the house of ghosts. More a positive than a negative, I would have thought!

Having said that, since the house was sold it has stood empty and neglected…I wonder why?'