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Safe neighbourhood home buyers’ number one concern

The survey of 1,220 homeowners* revealed that buyers’ number one concern is a safe neighbourhood, with 87% keen to learn about the safety of the area before they move. In second place, 82% of people would like to know whether they will have noisy neighbours and 81% are keen to find out about difficulties with the plumbing and electrics of their new home.
All factors that make the list could make or break a sale and would cause considerable stress if the buyer only found out about them after moving in, yet an estate agent would be unlikely to offer this information during a viewing. 1st Property Lawyers is urging buyers to use more of the online tools available to find out about the area they are thinking of moving to, before making an offer and to invest time in visiting any property that they have serious interest in a number of times.
Top 10 things home buyers would like to know
1. If the neighbourhood is safe – 87%
2. If the neighbours are noisy – 82%
3.= If there are difficulties with the property’s plumbing – 81%
3.= If there are problems with the property’s electrics – 81%
5. If there are unpleasant smells from nearby sewage works – 79%
6. If there is excessive noise from nearby roads or train tracks – 74%
7.= If the neighbours have noisy parties – 69%
7.= If the road is used as a cut through – 69%
9.= If the property is under a flight path – 68%
9.= If the road is used for parking by non residents – 68%
Issues related to environmental concerns, such as noise and air pollution, and traffic and parking ranked highly. Eight in ten people (79%) would like to know whether to expect unpleasant smells from nearby sewage works, factories and farmland. Being aware of noise from nearby main roads or trains also ranked highly on people’s checklists (74%), followed by whether the road is a cut through (69%).
Thinking about their new neighbours, 83% of potential buyers were keen to know whether they would be living next door to noisy neighbours, 69% were concerned about loud parties being held and a further 63% were interested to know whether there were barking dogs.
In terms of the home itself, 81% of buyers would like to find out about practical problems, such as difficulties with the plumbing and electrics, with 66% interested to learn about how much natural light the property has and 65% whether it is prone to pests.
Buyers were least interested in learning about issues of appearance and tidiness, such as houses in the street putting up garish Christmas lights (13%), frequent mess from foxes or animals (32%) and unkempt properties (46%).
Mark Montgomery, Commercial Director, 1st Property Lawyers, comments: “Buying a house is one of the biggest and most expensive decisions that people will ever make and it is important that they have as much information as possible to help them make that choice. Our research reveals the vital issues a huge proportion of home buyers really want to know about when buying a house – information that is rarely volunteered by the estate agent, sometimes leaving the buyer to discover the bad news too late, causing unnecessary stress.
"We believe that estate agents should be more proactive in providing more detailed information to the buyer on the property, neighbours and neighbourhood during a viewing. Buyers shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about doing what is needed to investigate a property and an area in more detail. On the contrary, estate agents should be encouraging this behaviour from buyers and could help further by suggesting a buyer visits the property at different times of the day, as well as at weekends, to help gauge the levels of noise, traffic and other activity they can expect were they to move in."

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