The received wisdom as far as property deals are concerned, even among estate agents who have been involved in hundreds of transactions over many years, is that any decisions are made on calm, rational, logical grounds.
Property management specialist Assetgrove – which offers landlords a guaranteed rent scheme for up to five years – says the questions homebuyers and tenants are advised to consider include:
- Can they afford the mortgage or rental repayments?
- Will they still be able to afford those payments if interest rates rise or their economic position takes a turn for the worse?
- Will the property grow with them as their family situation changes, or are they planning to move on when the need arises?
- Is the property close enough to vital amenities such as transport links to and from work, schools, supermarkets etc?
All of these are doubtless vital issues to have settled in your mind before signing on the dotted line of a tenancy agreement or mortgage deal.
The truth of the matter, however, is that choosing a home – in addition to perhaps viewing a property as a form of investment or temporary stop-gap accommodation – is a deeply emotional process.
Think for a second of all the advice which is handed out to landlords or people hoping to sell their homes, telling them to strip back the clutter, redecorate in neutral tones and ship the pet dog off to relatives when viewings take place.
All of this advice accepts that the gut level impression created by a property is just as important as the underlying reality. In a perfect world, anyone seeking to rent or buy your property would be able to see past the furniture, decorating and general stuff and clutter which you’ve filled it with in order to evaluate the building as it is, but the world is far from perfect.
The truth is that people viewing a property aren’t simply making a judgement on bricks and mortar, they’re assessing, whether consciously or not, a lifestyle, and wondering whether it’s one they’d like to share.
Proof of this can be found in surveys of the stranger reasons that people have given for opting not to go through with a property deal, says South London estate agent Eden Harper, which has offices in Brixton and Battersea.
What should be remembered is that these reasons were given as having put people off even when, in every other respect, the property was felt to be entirely suitable.
From the point of view of landlords and homeowners trying to sell a property, some of the reasons given are so vague as to be extremely difficult to deal with. How, for example, do you satisfy people who claim they’d be put off a property if they felt there was a ‘bad vibe’ when looking around it? More to the point, how do you set about ensuring that any viewings are filled with ‘good vibes’?
What might be more predictable is the fact that many people are discouraged from taking a property they actually like by the surrounding environment. What is perhaps more surprising is the highly specific nature of the factors which would mark out the local area as unsuitable. Pound shops and fast food shops in the local shopping arcades were enough to turn off a significant number, while a sizeable minority were even put off by traditionally benignly regarded businesses such as charity shops and boutique antique shops.
Last, and by every means least, is the fact that many people admitted they’d lose interest in a suitable property if they found they didn’t like the previous owners, presumably under the misapprehension that they’d constantly be popping round for a coffee.
Wimbledon estate agent Robert Holmes & Co advises the owners of properties it is marketing to not take it personally if someone opts not to move into their home. Given the rather eccentric reasons which might lie behind this choice, it seems to be extremely sound advice indeed.