THE BLOG

Neighbourhood Watch: What's Really Important to Homebuyers

12/06/2015 17:13 BST | Updated 12/06/2016 10:59 BST

Forget location, number of bedrooms and the quality of nearby schools, I am increasingly finding that house hunters are requesting more personalised information about the areas they want to move to.

Neighbours are the most popular topic of conversation with questions about the good, the bad and the ugly cropping up more times that I can remember.

With this in mind I was interested to read about a new survey which found more than a quarter of Brits think information on what the neighbours are like, including how helpful they are and what skills they have, should indeed be included in property listings.

It revealed one in five went as far as to say that details about people living nearby who are helpful or able to share skills would be an 'important' factor in their decision making process and could actually influence their choice of a potential home.

This is quite a significant statement, implying that the so-called soft details about a property are almost as important as the cold, hard facts.

The research found that a quarter of us ask what the neighbours are like when viewing a property. Recent experience shows that people are now just as likely to enquire about good neighbours willing to help and offer useful skills, as official complaints or legal issues (which estate agents are obliged to divulge by the way).

The survey was commissioned by education charity the Edge Foundation to mark VQ Day, the annual celebration of vocational qualifications, which is fitting when you hear that Good Samaritan neighbours put their practical skills to use at least three times a year.

It found neighbours come to the rescue for a range of household disasters, including car breakdowns, being locked out of the house, Wi-Fi issues and computers crashing. Two per cent of neighbours provide help to those living nearby more than 20 times a year.

The average person said they have two neighbours they would ask for assistance on a variety of tasks from everyday chores, errands and odd jobs through to skilled work. One in 10 people even said they had between four and six neighbours on speed dial for help in case of an emergency.

But it's not just peace of mind neighbours with 'hands on' trades can offer. Brits can make significant savings by relying on those living nearby for skilled help - from jump starting a car to fixing boilers and dodgy wiring. 56% of those who ask a neighbour to lend a hand in these situations save an average of £60 each year - which comes to a staggering £1.4billion when you look at the UK total figures.

This demonstrates the value skilled neighbours add to communities and, potentially, how this can translate into the increased saleability of property. There's no doubt it's reassuring for all of us to know there is someone nearby who can help with technical and practical problems, as well as other everyday emergencies.

I have spoken to single mums and elderly people who just want to know that there is someone within walking distance that can come to the rescue if, heaven forbid, something happened.

I started Tepilo, an online estate agent, as having dealt with many traditional agents I didn't feel they catered for homebuyers in 2015. They just didn't recognise that some people want more than just the basics.

We ensure that we tailor our customer's listings so it really reflects how fabulous their house is and encourage people to personalise their listings with anecdotal information offering a much better insight into what's great about the neighbourhood.

The advice we give to sellers is to really shout about everything that you love about your property - chances are someone else will love it too. It's a bit like online dating. If someone posts a profile that lists simply their age, height, weight, number of kids and profession then you only get a one dimensional view of them. It's the same with property. The more personality you give to the place you live - including what the neighbours are like - the better your chances of being match-made with the right buyer.

For further information about Tepilo, visit tepilo.com

For more information about VQ Day please, click here