What do Brits notice when buying a house?

When buying a house, what’s the first thing you look for? Is it a garden big enough for your family to play in? A sizable kitchen for entertaining? Or perhaps you want to be sure your new home has good access to public transport?

Whatever it is, we all have personal caveats we want to be met before we commit to an investment as large as buying a house. But if you’re a first-time buyer, you might not know what to look for, or you may have to be more flexible on what you can and can’t have in a new home – especially given the current housing market.

So, to give you a helping hand when looking for your next property, the team at Wren Kitchens surveyed 1,500 Brits across the country to find out what they look for first when house-hunting, and whether or not viewing the kitchen is at the top of their room viewing list.

What do Brits notice first when viewing a property?

Perhaps surprisingly, given the importance of the room, just 15% of people we surveyed say they chose to view the kitchen upon first entering a property, with 20% of those being experienced buyers compared to just 15% of first-time buyers.

This might strike many of us as unusual, especially when you consider the number of different roles your kitchen plays on a daily basis, but in the kitchen’s defence, it’s not usually the first area you step into upon entering a house, and it’s certainly still high up on the list for the majority of homebuyers.

So, what actually is the most common aspect of a property people look at when viewing a property?

Well, it makes sense that a building’s exterior would be the first thing presented to any prospective viewers. So, it really shouldn’t shock any of us that 54% of those we surveyed say they judge a property on its exterior in as little as 30 seconds!

Further stats also show that 68% of those judging a property’s exterior were experienced buyers, compared to just 48% first-timers, perhaps hinting that the quality of a home’s exterior could indicate the state of its interior as well.

On top of a home’s exterior, natural light tends to be a much sought-after feature, with 35% of those house-hunting taking note of a potential home’s natural light upon entering for the first time. This is certainly the case for 40% of those we surveyed in Edinburgh and 39% of those asked in Cardiff, and given how beneficial natural light is, this is no surprise.

Alongside home exteriors and natural light, we also have smell as something many people noticed first, picked up on by 41% of buyers, 44% of whom were men. This was also closely matched by cleanliness, which was sought after by 42% of recipients and 44% of women we spoke to, showing how a poorly maintained house can be a big turn-off.

And, finally, 26% of people we surveyed judged a home on its space-saving features, such as fitted bedrooms. This was especially common in London, which saw 27% of prospective buyers looking for these features, though this should not come as a surprise in the capital.

What areas of the home are most important to view when buying?

Although certain aspects of a property may leap out at you when you first enter the space, once initial impressions have been made, time can be taken to view the rooms that are most important to you.

And again, despite it being used daily, the kitchen was also not the top of our survey in this area, though it did place second, being a priority for 24% of those we asked. In fact, the size and space offered by a kitchen proved to be an important factor for both men and women, with 21% and 24% of those we spoke to focusing on this room respectively.

Kitchens were, however, a huge focus for those living in Southampton, Liverpool, and Manchester, being of significant importance to 35%, 29%, and 26% of buyers looking in these cities, emphasing how important this space is across the country.

So, if the kitchen came second by a mere 4%, what room came out on top? Well, somewhat unsurprisingly, given how often such a room is used, the most commonly viewed area when buying a house turned out to be the living room.

This space was focused on by 28% of those we surveyed, being an especially important area for 35% of experienced buyers compared to just 24% of those buying their first home, again indicating that experienced buyers have a better indication of what rooms to prioritize viewing.

Lastly, and most interestingly, despite it often being such a prevalent selling point for many homes, just 8% of those we spoke to say they prioritised looking at the garden, perhaps indicating such green space as being a nice addition rather than a major priority for most buyers.

What areas of the kitchen do Brits notice first?

With the kitchen being such an important space in the home and a high priority on the list of rooms to view when looking at any property, you might be curious to know just what elements of a kitchen are most sought after by experienced and first-time buyers.

Kitchen storage space was a number one priority for 47% of those we surveyed, with 36% of people, in particular, having their sights set on concealed storage for space-saving solutions.

In fact, like the kitchen itself, good storage space appears to be appreciated by both men and women, with 50% of men and 45% of women focusing on this area. It also seems to be a key aspect for the elderly, with 73% of those aged 65+ looking for good storage compared to just 36% of 18–24-year-olds.

However, storage isn’t the only thing sought after in a kitchen, natural lighting seems to be a key benefit people want to enjoy. Based on our survey, 29% of those we spoke with wanted natural light flooding their kitchen, with this desire being particularly prevalent in Liverpool for 47% of people.

Notably, 23% of people look for entirely new kitchen furnishings before moving in, with 17% specifically wanting a kitchen designed with organic materials, like wood or natural stone.

Interestingly, 7% of men wanted a boiling tap installed, a fairly uncommon appliance, while 30% of experienced buyers always make sure there is space for tables and chairs away from the worktops.

How many times do people view a home before buying?

Finally, let’s look at how many times the average buyer looks at a home before purchasing it, as well as the amount of time they spend viewing a property for the first time.

Given how expensive buying a property can be, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority – 58% of respondents – visit a house twice before making a buying decision.

However, it seems that 21% of those surveyed actually go out of their way to view a property three times before buying, something done by 17% of women and 27% of men, whilst 20% of people checkout a home only once before deciding to buy it.

As for total visiting time for a first viewing, 22% of people we surveyed say they visit properties for as long as 15-20mins, while 20% stay for only 10-15mins. Only 2% of people say they stayed for less than 5mins, 10% of which seem to be current homeowners rather than first-time buyers, suggesting a greater level of caution for the latter when buying.

And there you have it; these are the key things people tend to look out for when buying a home, including what to look for in a kitchen. Hopefully, this should help you get started in your own property-hunting journey, giving you an idea of what to look out for as you visit your next potential home.

Of course, if you do view a house where the kitchen or bedrooms are not what you are looking for – or you want to spruce up your current home before you sell it to maximise your sale value, get in touch with the Wren about planning a new kitchen installation and creating your dream bedroom – done with the right expert help you can add significant value to your home.

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