/ 4 August 2008

Man’s best friend can scupper your home deal

Overpowering doggy smells are the biggest turn-off for prospective buyers viewing a home, according to an online poll by South African property listings website Propertygenie.co.za.

Johan Strydom, general manager of Propertygenie.co.za, said that 31% of respondents identified pungent pooch aroma as their biggest deterrent when viewing homes, followed by 24% who noted that tired bathrooms and kitchens made them hurry to the exit.

‘We all love our dogs but it’s worth remembering that when they spend a lot of time inside, they tend to smell the place up. When you live with it every day you get used to odour le canine, but when it comes to selling your home, your dog might not be your best friend,” said Strydom.

The poll showed that the next biggest turn-off was the lingering smell of cigarette smoke with 18% of people saying that was their biggest no-no, followed by unbearable decor (14%), ugly burglar proofing (9%) and foul fridges and stoves (4%).

When asked about how sellers showed their homes in the best light, 36% of respondents said that a thorough spring clean was their top tactic followed by 19% who said they gave the exterior a makeover by painting walls and ensuring the garden is more Chelsea Flower Show than junkyard.

The next most popular strategy was adding flowers and coffee-table books (14%), followed by a basic tidying-up (13%). Nine percent said they would do nothing special when it came to selling their home, while the same percentage said they would hire a professional home stager.

Said Strydom: ‘It really is important for sellers to make an effort in this buyers’ market. A good rule to remember is that what you are really selling is a lifestyle, not just bricks and mortar. People need to be able to picture themselves in your home, so too much of your personality and taste on show will make it harder for them to do that.”

When it came to probing exactly how home buyers determined their budgets, a whopping 55% said they made a rough estimate from personal calculations, while 23% took guidance from their banks.

Only 16% first went through a pre-approval finance process with a bond originator. A paltry 6% sought help from a financial adviser.

‘Given the huge amount of paperwork required by the National Credit Act and the large variation in lending criteria by banks in these tougher times, we strongly advise people to get a reputable bond originator on your side to steer you to the best home-loan rate,” concluded Strydom.