Thinking of selling your house? For potential purchasers, these are the biggest turnoffs
If you want to achieve the best price possible for your property, you have got to try your best to set aside your personal attachment to your home and treat it like a business.  Easier said than done, but take note of these common buyer turn offs on a viewing.  Remember you only get one shot at making a first impression. 

Sellers or tenants hanging around for the viewing - If the owner/tenant is present on a viewing, chances are, the purchaser will not feel comfortable and will not stay at the property for long.  On a viewing an interested buyer will try to imagine themselves living there and need time to do this.  This may include imagining your prized kitchen being ripped, a wall being knocked out or new wallpaper being torn down.  It is much more difficult for a viewer to do this if the owner/tenant is hanging around.  Leave for the viewing and trust the agent to do the job they are paid to do.

Messy house - Viewers have high expectations.  This has been nurtured by the showhomes, many interior magazines & property TV shows that the buyer is bombarded with.  Instead of the drudgery of trying to have your property looking tidy all week, speak to your agent and decide on a couple of days in the week and commit to having the house pristine in those days.  This will help with your stamina levels during the viewing process as you will need it. 

Your Stuff – yes you have great taste but a buyer wants to visualise how they are going to apply their tastes to your property.  So de clutter, dump and de-personalise your property prior to viewings.

Smells - Consider the effort hotels go to in order to neutralise smells between bookings.  Get your carpets cleaned professionally, mop your floors and wash your curtains.  If you have pets or teenagers wash them too!  Stay away from sprays or plugins and consider scented candles or diffusers.   

Over-pricing your home - With the availability of the price register ( and the many property websitess, viewers are seriously armed and knowledgeable when it comes to the value of a property. The old saying of “start high and we can always drop the list price” is a waste of everybody’s time.  Many buyers wont book a viewing on a property even if it’s a little over their budget.  An accurately priced house will get more viewings and often will encourage competitive bidding.  At the initial valuation ask your agent to tell you what they really think and maybe not what you’d like to hear.    

Neglected gardens and boundaries – Most of today’s buyers are very busy and have little time.  They don’t want a property that will be high maintenance and a strain on their lives.  Broken fencing, weeds, unpainted gates, wild hedges, uncut lawns means work.  If you don’t have the time yourself pay someone to do it.  It’s an investment that will be paid back in multiples.

Dirty Walls and ceilings – Painting is probably the cheapest way you are going to improve any property.  It also creates a new smell.  There’s nothing wrong with magnolia throughout and it’s an easy colour to accessorise.

Cold house and dark corners – Turn on the heating.  It can’t be overstated the difference between a cold and warm house on a viewing.  Lighting the fire is a great touch.  You could have the best insulated house in West Cork but if it’s cool inside on a viewing a buyer will question the future running costs.  Also replace all lights not working and buy some inexpensive small lamps for the dark corners.


Attention landlords - Water charges on your rental property.

Many of our rental clients have been in touch recently looking for information on how the water charges will affect them as property owners.
Irish Water have made more clarifications recently but for landlords there are still questions outstanding.  Of concern to landlords is a recent statement from Irish Water that new legislation will place certain obligations on landlords where tenants have not paid the charges.  The fear is that this new legislation may obligate landlords to check if the tenant’s water charges are up to date on vacating the property, and deduct the arrears from the tenant’s deposit. 

The main points we know can be summed up as followed:

  • The tenant or occupier of the property is liable to pay the water rates.
  • Irish Water have confirmed that they will be issuing water charges application forms to the tenancies that they are aware of.  If you as landlord receive these forms for your rented property contact your tenants and ask them to complete the application form.  They can also be downloaded at  Alternatively contact Irish Water at 1890 448 448 giving them your rental property details and request the pack be sent to the address marked for the occupier. This will enable Irish Water to contact the tenants to complete the registration.
  • A water conservation grant of €100 per anum is available for eligible households.  Eligible households will have to contact Irish Water before the 2nd February and the Department of Social Protection will then follow up with those applications.
  • If tenants don’t register with Irish Water they will get a default quarterly bill of €65 and will not be entitled to the above mentioned €100 grant. 
  • If the dwelling is unoccupied the water charges will be incurred at a rate of €125 per annum.  If the property is not occupied for a specific period in the year, the charge will be on a pro rata basis.
  • Households with a single adult will have an annual charge of €160 for both mains water and sewer and for two adults it will be €260.  This is the maximum annual charge (capped until 2018) and in the case of a metered dwelling it is possible to get a refund if the household conserves water underneath the allocated levels.  If the property has its own septic tank the costs will be reduced by half.
  • Water service charges will apply from 1st January 2015.  The first bills will be issued to customers from 1st April 2015 for the quarter and bills will be issued on a quarterly basis thereafter.


Martin Kelleher MIPAV (REV) MCEI is a Clonakilty based Estate Agent & Recognised European Valuer.  0238859111