15 features that will sell your home

Play up these assets for a SOLD hammer.
Photo: Shania Shegedyn

You don’t need a home stylist to increase your property appeal. In fact, the features that most impress potential buyers might surprise you.

Self-contained dwellings, loft conversions and open plan kitchen-dining spaces were the top three improvements buyers were looking for this year, along with properties being clean and well presented. Newly-renovated kitchens and bathrooms were also high on the wishlist, while outside it was new driveways, landscaped gardens, veggie patches and home offices that had buyers excited.

But the biggest turnoff was dirty homes. Even if you are not planning to renovate or upgrade your home for sale, according to Rated People’s recent Home Improvement Trends Report, a home that presents as unclean would stop almost half (43%) of buyers from inspecting it and of those who did view an unclean property, 61% would put in a lower bid to purchase it. Scuff marks, mould or cracks in walls, bad smells and dirty kitchens were all cited as off-putting to potential buyers.

A clean, well-presented kitchen is essential to attract potential buyers to your home.

(Credit: Photo: Shania Shegedyn)

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With a whopping 44% of homeowners planning to paint some part of their home by the end of this year, there can be no denying that investing time, energy and if necessary, cash, into presenting a home as clean and tidy is essential before bringing it to market.


White 27%

Light Grey 22%

Natural Wood 21%

Cream 19%

Off-white 15%

After a year of being confined to our homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it can come as no surprise that buyers are looking for more available space in a new home both indoors and out, with 29% of buyers wanting more outdoor space and 25% looking for bigger homes overall.


With the return to work being staggered and, in some cases stalled entirely, homeowners and potential buyers alike are looking to improve their home office setup for the long term. 41% of those working from home confessed they still don’t have a proper home office desk and 39% are without a proper office chair. 29% of people working from home had to clear toys from their workspaces daily, and 24% reported being embarrassed by their background on video calls.

A designated home office space is what buyers are now looking for.

(Credit: Photo: Louise Roche)

Outside, the addition of a swimming pool was by far the most value-adding garden improvement, with an outside home office, garden room or gym the next most desirable additions. Bi-fold doors with a view to the garden and outdoor entertaining area and decks were also high on the list to increase the value of a property, with buyers looking favourably on established gardens featuring mature plants and trees.

The swimming pool was redesigned and mature palm trees were craned in to reimagine the outdoor zone in this family home.

The research is taken from a wider study into renovation and interior design trends and other surprising buyer turnoffs and demonstrates that it pays to put in the effort to present a property well for sale.

These neglected home improvements detract the most buyers:

  • Signs of damp/mould

  • Cracks in walls

  • Mess and clutter inside

  • Scuffed paintwork and marked walls

  • No double glazing

  • Peeling wallpaper

  • Dirty bathroom

  • Rubbish or debris in the front garden/in front of the house

  • Broken or missing fence panels in the garden/outside space

  • Bad smells inside

  • Dirty kitchen

  • Outdated decor

  • Dirty/stained furnishings (carpet, curtains and sofas)

  • Overgrown garden

  • A dirty interior that hasn’t been cleaned

  • Broken/damaged windows and fixtures such as kitchen cupboard doors

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