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What gives potential homebuyers the ‘ick’ and how to avoid it

Potential homebuyers have revealed what puts them off a property the most – or as it's known to some - including fans of Love Island - gives them the ‘ick’.

The last thing you want when trying to sell your house is to inadvertently leave it looking less attractive than it might be, leading to lower offers or no offers at all.

So, what are the biggest ‘icks’ when buyers are looking for their next home and how can you avoid them? Cleaning up mould, taking an air freshener to nasty smells and cleaning your toilet could be a good start!

Here are a list of the top 10 ‘icks’ to help homeowners out when selling their home, according to a new survey.

  1. Mould/damp patches on the walls – 70%

  2. Mouse or rat traps – 65%

  3. Nasty smells, e.g., the bin, unclean bathroom, pet smells – 56%

  4. Mould/limescale in the bathroom – 56%

  5. Cigarette smoke and/or cigarette butts flowing out of an ashtray – 55%

  6. Dirty toilet – 52%

  7. Bugs/flies in the house – 52%

  8. Plaster peeling off the wall – 51%

  9. Dog mess in the garden – 44%

  10. Dirty underwear on the floor – 39%

Mould/damp patches on the walls

If you have mould on your walls or elsewhere in your home, clean it off using household items, soap and water or bleach as soon as you can, and repaint any stained areas. It would put nearly three in four (75%) potential buyers off choosing your home as their next home.

To stop damp patches appearing, it helps to ventilate your home. These wouldn’t be the biggest turn-on for a potential buyer, especially if they have health problems which could be related to mould.

Mouse or rat traps

Nothing says welcome to my home like finding traps for mice and rats. 65% of guests would get the ick from it.

If you have problems with rodents or other furry home invaders, it would be a good idea to resolve any issues humanely before you have a viewing, as traps will not create a good first impression.

Nasty smells

It is understandable that a smelly home would put someone off. More than half (56%) of Brits would find it an issue.

Opening doors and windows for ventilation and using candles, oil diffusers and air fresheners are all good ways to make the home smell nicer and fresher - but there’s no substitute for finding the root cause of the smell and getting rid of it for good.

Mould/limescale in the bathroom

This is another feature of your home that would put as many as 56% of buyers off. Ventilate your home and use vinegar on a cloth to scrub away limescale so your bathroom looks and smells clean. You can also help deal with steam and bathroom moisture by putting your extractor fan on and opening windows when it is possible.

Cigarette smoke/butts

It goes without saying; don’t smoke when someone is visiting your home for a viewing. And clear the ashtray away too. 55% of potential buyers wouldn’t take to either well.  Sellers don’t have to let buyers know if they smoke in the home, but it can damage a home in the long term by staining walls and ceilings. They’ll probably be able to smell it anyway, but it’s best off avoided.

Dirty toilet

As part of your cleaning routine for when a potential buyer comes, ensure the toilet is cleaned for obvious reasons. 52% of visitors would be put off by this.

Bugs/flies in the house

Half of potential homeowners (52%) would be turned off by this. Thankfully, you can probably do something about it. If you have lots of bugs, try and find something that may be decaying in your home and get rid of it. If the numbers are fewer but they are persistent, use scents like lavender, citrus or pine to repel them.

Herbs and flowers planted in your garden also help. A mix of vinegar and soap in a cup allows you to trap flies too.

Plaster peeling off the wall

If you can, get a peeling wall replastered before you list your home for sale as it can make the property look a lot more homely to a potential buyer. 51% of viewers would be put off if they saw it.

Dog mess in the garden

Someone viewing your property for sale does not want to see or smell dog mess outside your home, so check your garden or outside space too before a visit. In fact, more than two in five homebuyers (44%) would be distinctly unimpressed.

Dirty underwear on the floor

This is another easy way to put someone off your home – more than one in three Brits (39%) would be. Clean up after yourself by popping all your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and double check the rest of the household have done the same.

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