Homebuyer Habits: What makes you buy a house?

Abbas Youssefi
Abbas Youssefi
4th September 2017

Homebuyers Survey 1

When buying a house, we know the things we want generally but as the landscape shifts and it becomes more competitive to bag the house of your dreams, what are the non-negotiable features and what can you live with? We asked the public just that with a thorough survey set to reveal the nation's true feelings on buying a home and got 1,596 responses across the country.

Here's The Key Results

  • 67% said the current economic climate would put them off buying a house
  • The average Brit spends between £1,000-£5,000 a year renovating
  • Older people planned to live longer in their first homes than millennials
  • 25% of Brits have never redecorated their home
  • 64% wouldn’t buy a dirty house
  • 56% wouldn’t buy a house if they hated the previous decor
  • 3% favour carpet in the bathroom

The Ideal UK Home

Our questions painted a specific picture of what the country is looking for, with thoughts on colour, décor and features giving us the ‘ideal UK home’ for prospective buyers. According to results the perfect home to buy is an all-white interior modern design with a driveway out front but a garden is optional. Energy efficiency is a priority concern, as is location away from busy main roads and high-risk crime areas. The house should have friendly no-fuss neighbours and fit the buyer’s ideals of being not too big but not too small. Buyers would also not fancy doing any work on this prior to moving in so should be up to date and liveable from the off.

Top 10 Instant Put-Offs for Buying a Home

The public were asked to give one instant put-off which would turn them off a home and we got some interesting answers. There were many overlaps in key considering factors which gave us a list of 10 things which would instantly put a buyer off.

Homebuyers - Put Offs

Location is King

Our answers told us location is the most important factor which potential buyers won’t compromise on when considering a property. A sensible bunch, the UK opted for one of the few things which cannot be changed.

And the rest…

Besides the top 10, the nation was eager to share their more alternative opinions on what has put them off a home in the past, which made for some entertaining reads. One such non-negotiable condition for one participant was that the house can’t have glitter wallpaper or diamante gems on the toilet seat, very specific requests indeed. Another said the effort of moving was too much to make them consider buying, whilst a third stated they wouldn’t buy a home if the neighbours on their street rented - looks like some homeowner snobbery occurring there in that particular neighbourhood. A final comment made was by one user stating they would not live somewhere where the neighbours wear tracksuits, showing thoughts on clothing choices matter. An alternative repeated request throughout was that buyers didn’t want a ‘cookie cutter’ house, preferring to buy something a bit more original and unique. This could perhaps be a snub to the identikit new builds popping up across the UK?

Drive or No-Drive?

When asked about a driveway, the public were pretty clear on how they felt with 84% stating they wouldn’t buy a house without a driveway. This is a large portion when considering the portion of the UK asked covered across both country landscapes and city streets. Fascinatingly gardens were less of a must, with only 44% bothered about buying a house with one. A sign the country is putting its cars before its greens perhaps?

Work Work Work

There is an inevitability that when you buy a house some sprucing up and personalising will be required, but when asked, most of our public had a line drawn of how much work they were willing to do. The majority (86% to be exact) weren’t up for installing new bathroom or kitchen suites, with them refusing to buy a home if it didn’t have fitted ones already. Whether to keep costs down or simply not having the time to do so wasn’t made clear but seem like the obvious reasons not to do so. It seems the presentation is everything in selling your home, as 64% said they wouldn’t buy a house which was dirty when viewed. Perhaps a statement of condition over laziness to clean it themselves, the fact the home wasn’t clean could be indication that the previous owners have cut corners and slacked on other crucial works needed over the years.

Homebuyers Survey - Work

Only 12% were brave enough to take on a house which needed a lot of building work doing and 56% outright wouldn’t buy a house if they hated the décor previously done, interestingly seeming to want a ready-made home to move straight into. Not just looking at work, we also assessed the rising costs in utility bills and posed a question to see how people responded to energy efficiency. 68% care whether the house is energy efficient, with the rest supposedly disinterested in the fluctuating costs of utility bills.

Tech’s Appeal

As smart fridges and voice activated controls become the new norms across many homes, we thought it worthwhile gaging public opinion to see whether these items were considered crucial to the homebuyer’s consideration. Apparently not, our results show. Just a small minority of 32% said they would need their future home to be updated with the latest domestic tech.

Good Neighbours?

The verdict was almost evenly split when the public were asked if they would buy without meeting the future neighbours, with a slight victory for those who would over wouldn’t. This topic had the nation divided, posing an interesting discussion around the changing social setting of neighbourhoods and the role neighbours play. Homebuyers - Neighbours A big no-no for most was having young children and pets next door, as 52% declared they wouldn’t live next door to families which included either.

Time to Buy

The average time a buyer spent considering a house to buy was over an hour, with 45% voting to take their time to view and be sure on such a big commitment. Just 3% would spend under 10 minutes and 37% would spend 20-30 minutes.

Décor Allure

Homebuyers - Decor The standard amount across all groups spent renovating a home each year was from £1,000 to £5,000, 43%. A small group of 6% said they spent over £10,000 renovating in a year. When choosing favourite hues for different rooms, the UK was unified in its choice of all white bathroom, kitchen and living room primarily, with secondary colours including grey, blue and yellow as a more colourful agenda. Homebuyers - Decor Surprisingly 25% of Brits admitted to having never redecorated with 50% split across doing the house up every 5 and 10 years respectively. Just 10% of our public asked confessed to redecorating every year, presumably those who spent the most money per year? When it came to bathroom décor tiles came top of the three flooring choices, with 85% of the vote. A small marginal group of 3% opted for carpet as their top floor choice.

The Brexit Effect

Housing couldn’t be discussed without comparing against the economy and current climate, so we posed a question to our audience to see whether Brexit and the economy would put prospective buyers off purchasing a house now. Overwhelmingly, 67% agreed that they would not want to buy a house in the current economic climate, showing uncertainty across the country weighing heavily in future homeowner’s minds. Despite being put off buying a house, it appears people aren’t put off renovating their current properties occasionally, as the majority do the house up every 5-10 years. Per year Brits confessed to spending an average of £1,000-£5,000 on renovating.


Generational Differences

The difference in answers from generations of millennials versus baby boomers was stark. Most millennials stated they did or do plan to stay in their first bought home for just 1-5 years whilst baby boomers largely planned to stay in their first home for at least 10 years. Homebuyers - Top Colours

These results hold a mirror to the economic climate and reflect the changing habits of generations as young people today struggle to afford their first home, with a disparity of wages versus house prices no doubt playing a role in these decisions. That’s not all that was different in the age split of answers given, as older people were understandably less keen to redecorate as often as their younger Britons. The majority of the older public said they only redecorate once every 10 years, if that, whilst millennials were keen to keep up with trends, opting to redecorate every 2 to 5 years.