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The biggest turn off for home buyers is…

Home sellers pay attention


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Opinions are like bees: They’re everywhere, and, while they may annoy you, they serve a purpose.

If you’re only just starting the buying or selling process, you’ll need to consider whether or not to hire a realtor. A new survey released yesterday from national brokerage firm Zoocasa and PR-firm High Road, shows that: “Overall people are investing very little in searching for and selecting a [real estate] agent.”

Turns out that most buyers and sellers simply opt for the first agent they meet and more than two-thirds (65%) didn’t even bother to interview the agent. (Even more shocking was that 17% didn’t bother to meet the realtor in-person!)

The most common we home buyers and sellers found an agent was through a using or getting a personal referral from a friend or family member (62%). While there’s still a big gap, the next most common method of choosing an agent was through an online portal (17%), such as Realtor.ca, Kijiji, or Zoocasa.

In terms of what buyers and sellers value in an agent, the top criteria is a realtor’s ability to communicate (86%) and their credibility (86%), with responsiveness, customer service focus, and knowledge of the neighbourhood (85%, 84% and 83%, respectively) not far behind.

However, once the agent is working with you, the most vital components they need to bring to the table include:

  • Negotiation skills (79%)
  • Background market information (58%)
  • Open houses (56%)

While staging is a hot, new trend, it still ranked lowest, nationally, in terms of the vital skills an agent needs to bring to their client relationships.

Another poll, released last week by Pollara and Century 21, interviewed 1,000 Canadians across the country on home buying motivations and turn-offs. There were a few surprises.

First, some national trends:

  • 40% of Canadian home buyers were actively shopping for a home that would “better fit a new life stage”
  • 41% want a home with energy efficiency upgrades
  • A home’s layout was the most important factor influencing the first impression of 39% of Canadian buyers
  • 30% said water damage would prompt them to walk away from a deal
  • 60% said an unclean home was an absolute turn-off

Regionally, the survey found quite a few differences, some highlights:

  • Albertans were most impacted by a home’s layout and use of space, with 51% claiming it was the most influential factor in a first impression.
  • In Atlantic Canada, 59% said energy efficient upgrades were top on their desire list.
  • In B.C., 30% said they’d avoid a home that would require plumbing or electrical upgrades.
  • 53% of people in the Prairies were primarily shopping for a home to “fit their new life stage,” while more than two-thirds (67%) were turned off by unclean homes.
  • Buyers and sellers in Ontario were most turned off by water damage (31%), outdated electrical and heating systems (29%), and old furniture (18%). And though 57% of  Ontario buyers were turned off by an unclean home, it was the only province to show a particular distaste for dated flooring.
  • Only Quebecors ranked “having a home of their own” as their primary home buying motivation, but they were also the highest percentage of buyers to be turned off by personalized home décor tastes (20%).

For more on this survey’s results go here.

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