What House Buyers Want Above All? A Wreck That Needs Fixing Up

Annabel Dixon September 29, 2023

Forget all the work you’ve done priming your home for sale: the latest research suggests that what buyers really want is to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in to a fixer upper.

If you’re trying to sell your home — or considering it — you may have your own ideas about what’s going to attract the attention of buyers.

Maybe it’s your perfectly-manicured garden, your slick home office, or your energy-efficient double glazed windows.

Well you may be surprised to gather that the most sought-after feature that buyers are looking for right now is actually… a place that’s falling apart.

That’s right: a new survey suggests that a home renovation project — or a fixer-upper — gets more home buyers excited than anything else. Rightmove analysed more than 600,000 property descriptions to suss out which features led to the highest number of enquiries to estate and letting agents.

It then used the data to create two top-10 rankings of the most in-demand features — one list for buyers, the other for renters. But while fixer-upper homes took the top spot for buyers, it seems people are after cosmetic changes they can make themselves rather than messy or expensive jobs: houses with new boilers and loft extensions came second and third on the list.

Recommended videos for you One other key theme for home movers was space to store their worldly goods. Storage space and cellars ranked 4th and 5th as features for buyers, while basement, shed and attic made it into the ranking for renters.

The top-10 most in demand house features for buyers Renovation project (fixer-upper, in need of refurb) New boiler Loft conversion Storage space Cellar Double glazing Refurbished Chain free Garden Near station Source: Rightmove

Why do buyers want homes that need work doing? Rightmove argues that the popularity of home renovation projects is the result of two competing groups in the housing market: first-time buyers looking for a cheaper property that they can refurbish over time, and investors seeking a relative bargain to do up and sell on or rent out.

Average asking prices of homes in need of renovation are £29,300 lower than the national average asking price of £366,300, a saving of 8% according to the property portal.

An 8% uplift might not seem like a particularly opportunity — particularly given the spiralling costs of getting work done these days. But that ignores the fact that, according to the list, a recently-refurbished property is also desirable for some buyers — and people are typically paying a £69,600 (19%) premium for the pleasure.

What do renters have their eyes on? Household bills, it seems. Double glazing, smart technology (such as a smart heating system), a new boiler, and energy efficiency all featured in Rightmove’s top 10 ranking for renters.

Proximity to a station as well as a parking space were the third and fourth most sought-after features, suggesting convenience is a big pull too.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, says: ‘It may not seem important to mention that a property has storage space or a new boiler, but our study shows this could make a difference when prospective buyers and renters are deciding which homes to go and view.’

This may prove sound advice for sellers and landlords. Fresh research from fellow portal, Zoopla, shows that a buyers’ market continues to prevail, with 80% more homes for sale compared with September 2021. So if you’re keen to make your property stand out in the market, you now know where to focus your efforts.

Top 10 most in demand house features for buyers Double glazing Smart tech, such as smart heating system Near station Parking space Basement New boiler Shed Attic Energy efficient Open plan Source: Rightmove

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