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What are your property non-negotiables?

By Addy Whitburn

While every property and purchaser is different, there are some standard non-negotiables most buyers across Australia demand.

Some people might be willing to compromise on the size of bedrooms or go without an outdoor space, but common “must-haves”, like natural light, privacy, street appeal, a second toilet and plenty of storage provide a baseline for most residential buyers and the professionals they employ to help them find property, like buyers’ agents.

Let’s look at the top five “non-negotiables” purchasers across the country regularly request, after taking into account key factors like property type, price, location and overall suitability.

1. Good natural light

Michelle May, a Sydney-based property flipper-turned buyers’ agent, says natural light is a must-have for several reasons.

Natural light improves the overall enjoyment of a property, but it also has an impact on your actual well-being and the health of the property, she says.

Sunlight is anti-bacterial and keeps moisture and mould at bay, making a property more pleasant to live in and keeping maintenance costs down.

“It’s not just the light that’s great, it’s the fresh air that generally comes with it, which is why it’s so important to check that windows in a property can be opened.”

2. Privacy or that the property isn’t overlooked

Among May’s buyers, privacy is always close to the top of their wish lists.

Having privacy is essential, because you want to not only feel at home inside your house, but also in your courtyard or balcony, or any other part of your property.

“It’s vital and something clients talk about a lot,” she says.

While most buyers will reject a property that’s totally overlooked, May says it is possible to fix minor privacy concerns, like side-by-side balconies, by adding screening or large plants.

Go green: 9 awesome balcony garden ideas 

3. Street appeal

May says there is a significant correlation between having an attractive frontage and the desirability of a property. Street appeal absolutely matters.

“Everyone knows that how a property looks from the street is important. It always has been and always will be.”

May says street appeal though doesn’t just stop with the look of the one particular property, it’s about the street, the entire streetscape.

“Is there a uniformity to the types and period of the houses or is it a hotchpotch of different styles? Are there nice trees? All these things play a role in the overall appeal of a property.”

4. A second toilet

Even when shopping for a two-bedroom apartment, buyers are looking for two toilets, May says.

She says a second toilet is generally a non-negotiable for today’s buyers. In new properties especially, it’s taken as a given, whether it’s an ensuite to the master or a standalone extra toilet – it’s not a luxury anymore.

While it’s ideal to have two toilets already in the property, May says adding another can be straightforward if people do their research before buying.

“If you look closely at the layout and understand accessibility to plumbing, you can work out how easy or otherwise it might be to add one.”

5. Storage

For every type of buyer, old and young, storage is king, she says. As long as there is capacity to add storage, a lack of it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker either, May says.

You can add storage at very little cost nowadays. It’s just a matter of going to Bunnings or IKEA and spending a couple of grand. You can add a great amount of storage for not much, she says.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a property and thought ‘oh my goodness, this property has too much storage space’,” May laughs.

And as for the oddest non-negotiable May has ever been asked for? Storage for multiple surf boards and accessibility to a dog park to satisfy a buyers’ beloved pooch spring to mind.

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