Buyers reveal their property listing pet peeves

As activity resumes in the housing market, buyers are once again searching for their perfect property. However, with so many properties being listed and competition high, the pressure is on for sellers to get their listings right to make their property stand out from the crowd.

Eager to help home sellers, Bankrate surveyed 2,750 Brits looking to purchase a new home now restrictions have been reduced, in a bid to uncover buyers’ biggest property listing ‘pet peeves’.

We can now reveal the biggest annoyances to avoid if you’re looking to sell your house, and what you must include to make your property the most appealing.

When searching for a property, ‘insufficient images’ is buyers’ biggest pet peeve on a home listing. 82% of respondents agreed that less than 10 good-quality images is a major frustration.

Next it’s, ‘dull description’ that undersells a home, you are potentially selling someone their ‘forever home’ so get creative with your language and sell the dream.

Four out of five potential buyers (80%) revealed that a house listing with a dull description inspires them to skip it rather than view it. Although the listing could have a good selection of photos, a boring description creates more questions than answers, and becomes a chore that buyers would rather do without.

Life under lockdown has meant many of us have spent hours a day on video calls or watching videos to keep boredom at bay, and it seems we love them. 79% of buyers said that listings ‘without a video’ of the home really rubs them up the wrong way. Sellers take note, good quality videos are likely to be a standard practice for home listings online in the near future. 

A picture is worth a thousand words is never more true than in a listing it seems, as three quarters (75%) of buyers stated that ‘bad quality and unflattering images’ really undersold a property, and wouldn’t inspire them to learn more about the property.

Rounding out the top five worst pet peeves for home buyers is a messy home. Having a clean, decluttered and tidy space is essential to ensuring that the home for sale is looking its best. In fact, 73% of buyers highlighted that a messy home is a big issue and is really off-putting. 

Interestingly, the tenth biggest pet peeve is a listing with pictures taken on a rainy day. Almost half (49%) of buyers reveal that this gets on their nerves, as it makes everything look drab and is totally uninspiring.

Top tips from Bankrate on preparing the property for prospective buyers

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your property, getting it ready for your estate agents to value it, and then for potential house-hunters to view it, is paramount. Our tips for ensuring your place is looking like a ‘palace’ are:

Clean it up

A deep-clean of your home by a professional cleaning company, which takes on dirty ovens,  streaky and mouldy shower doors and underneath furniture, makes a huge difference and doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Tidy up and take out the personalisation

Remember you are potentially selling someone their dream home so, it’s out with the old, off with the finger paintings stuck to the fridge, and clear the hallway of toys, shoes and coats. Remember to donate, recycle and sell where you can to reduce the amount of stuff you have to take with you when you move, cutting down on removal costs.

Buyers will need to imagine themselves in your home, so give them the space to do it.

Give it a glow up

When your home is as cleared out and tidy as it can be, splash on a fresh coat of neutral paint (greys, creams and whites are best) and get any tiling re-grouted if dirty. If your kitchen is old, you don't necessarily need a new one. Replacing or painting cupboard doors can make a huge difference, new door handles could do the trick too.

No need to go overboard, especially if you are just doing just one room as you don’t want it to highlight that the rest of the property needs work.

Make sure all light bulbs are working, make and present the beds nicely, while adding plants and candles to bare areas adds a homely touch.

Green up your garden

Make sure any garden spaces are cut back and tidy. Ensure you fix and repaint gates and fences, and give the patio a once over with a pressure washer. Add some pots with bright colours to jazz it up. You can even set up the outside table with glasses and crockery to inspire buyers.

Free parking

If your home comes with a parking space or driveway, leave it free for viewers to use. It’s thoughtful, and gives buyers the experience that's similar to what it's like to live in your property.

How can home sellers make their online listing appealing to potential buyers?

With imagery listed as three out of the top ten pet peeves for buyers, the team at Bankrate, have shared their top tips for getting your house photo ready.

Choose the right day and time

For the most professional looking house photos, take your photos during the day, ideally with the sun behind your house. By doing so, you’ll ensure natural light and bright, saturated colours in your photos. Try to avoid taking any photos on a cloudy or rainy day, as not only is this a pet peeve for buyers, but the lack of natural light will make even the brightest of homes look grey and unappealing.

Open Blinds/Curtains

Nothing beats natural light when it comes to showing off a room, so before you reach for your camera ensure you open all blinds and curtains. Natural daylight will help you highlight the important details of your home, and will make your photos look as realistic as possible.

Add Props

One of the easiest ways to boost your property’s photos is to add carefully placed props. From fresh flowers on a dining room table to freshly plumped scatter cushions on the sofa. Adding props can inject life and style into your room, without breaking the bank. 

Use a tripod

Wonky and blurry photos are a big no when it comes to house photos. To eliminate any distracting or off-putting imagery, try attaching your camera to a tripod. A tripod will help you achieve good image sharpness and allow you to get steady shots in even the most awkward of spaces.

Know your angles

Photo listings are one of the best ways to get a feel for a house before you view it, so don’t put off potential buyers by making your home look too small or too big. Avoid taking pictures where there is too much floor or too much ceiling in the shot, as these can make it harder to get a sense of how big the space is. Understand where the best features are in your room and try taking photos from various angles to see which best shows off your home.


Bankrate surveyed 2,750 Brits looking to purchase a new home aged 17-55 in June 2020, simply asking them to choose their top five pet peeves when browsing online house listings.