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How The Pandemic Has Changed Homebuyers' Priorities

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With the stamp duty holiday extended until June, experts reveal how to quickly maximise your home’s worth, without spending a fortune  

  • The pandemic has made cleanliness more important than ever for buyers – 3 in 5 (61%) say they’d put in a lower offer for a dirty home and 43% wouldn’t even arrange a viewing
  • Bad smells, scuffed paintwork and an unclean bathroom can now knock almost £30k off a home’s value
  • Pandemic improvements like garden offices, home gyms and home bars are now among the most lucrative home improvements for 2021, adding almost £25k to the value of a property

New research from the find-a-tradesperson platform, Rated People, shows the pandemic has increased the value of cleanliness and hygiene for homebuyers; with dirt, clutter and bad smells now collectively knocking almost £54,000 off a property’s value. 

Three in five prospective buyers (61%) say they’d put in a lower offer if a property wasn’t clean when they viewed it. And more than 40% (43%) say they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos.  

Maximising Your Home’s Value 

The findings are taken from this year’s Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report, where potential homebuyers revealed how much they’d decrease their offer by for a range of issues - many of which could be fixed in just a few hours, and for less than £100.   

Mess and clutter inside would see an offer decrease by an average of £9,290. A dirty bathroom would now reduce a home’s value by £8,966, and rubbish or debris in the front garden would take off £8,964.

Bad smells inside, often a sure-fire way to make a bad first impression, would also result in almost £9,000 (£8,946) being taken off a home’s value. An unclean kitchen would reduce the price by £8,882 and dirty and stained furnishings would knock off £8,849 from a property’s value.  

These types of issues could easily be fixed within a day or two, either with a bit of elbow grease or by getting the professionals in. By getting them sorted prior to selling, offers are likely to be £53,897 higher than if the issues weren’t fixed.  

The top 15 issues most likely to devalue your home in 2021 (and how much they’d knock off)

1.       Signs of damp/mould £9,571

2.       Cracks in walls £9,495

3.       Mess and clutter inside £9,290

4.       Scuffed paintwork and marked walls £9,254

5.       No double glazing £9,144

6.       Peeling wallpaper £9,023

7.       Dirty bathroom £8,966

8.       Rubbish/debris in front of the house £8,963

9.       Broken/ missing fence panels in the garden/outside space £8,957

10.     Bad smells inside £8,947

11.     Dirty kitchen £8,882

12.     Outdated decor £8,851

13.     Dirty/stained furnishings, like carpet, curtains and sofas £8,849

14.     Overgrown garden £8,817

15.     Broken/damaged windows £8,624 

In addition to dirt and clutter, if you have scuffed paintwork and cracks in your walls, you could also wave goodbye to another £20,000 (£9,254 and £9,495 respectively) if you don’t get them sorted before you sell.  

Peeling wallpaper could knock off a further £9,023, and an overgrown garden could mean any offers would be £8,817 lower than if you spent a small amount of time and money making it look more inviting. 

Home improvements that now add the most value

The study also showed how the pandemic has changed what homebuyers are now looking for when it comes to finding their new home. 

A self-contained annex for family members, a home gym, a garden room, and an outdoor cooking area for entertaining family and friends, are now among the most valuable home improvements, adding more than £38,000 onto a home’s value.

The top 20 value-adding home improvements in 2021 (and how much value they’d add)

1.       Self-contained annex £14,385

2.       Loft conversion £12,951 

3.       Kitchen extension to create a large kitchen diner £11,514 

4.       Newly renovated kitchen £10,649 

5.       Summerhouse/garden room £9,188 

6.       Newly renovated bathroom £9,011 

7.       Garden office (office room, built in the garden) £9,008 

8.       Walls knocked down to create one open plan living space £8,999

9.       Landscaped garden £8,547 

10.     Walls built to create separate spaces for more flexible living £8,123 

11.     New driveway £8,012 

12.     Home gym £8,004 

13.     Home office (inside the home) £7,630 

14.     Bespoke storage £7,409 

15.     New wooden flooring £7,255 

16.     Outdoor cooking area - BBQ/pizza oven £6,859 

17.     Garden bar £6,687 

18.     Home bar (inside the home) £6,575 

19.     New carpet £6,396

20.     Vegetable patch £6,093

Adrienne Minster, CEO at Rated People commented:

“We wanted to discover how the last year has impacted homebuyers’ priorities and to find out what they’re now looking for from their properties in a post-pandemic world. Given our increased emphasis on hygiene, including washing hands, social distancing and cleanliness in general, it’s easy to see why a messy or dirty home can spoil your chances of securing a good offer if you’re looking to sell. Yet, it’s still surprising to see just how much these types of issues will now affect the value of your home. 

It’s also no surprise that some of the things that have helped to enhance our lives over the past twelve months, like outdoor entertaining areas, home offices, and ways to create more flexible living, are now more valuable than ever to homebuyers.” 

For step-by-step advice on how to fix the top 15 issues most likely to devalue your home in 2021, visit:  

Source :

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15 March 2021

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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