“I have known my wife take longer choosing a pair of shoes than many people take deciding on a house purchase!” says James Wyatt, Partner of Barton Wyatt estate agency

“I have known my wife take longer choosing a pair of shoes than many people take deciding on a house purchase!” says James Wyatt, Partner of Barton Wyatt estate agency

  • Research suggests people spend 33 minutes looking at a property (Aviva)
  • Barton Wyatt believe that decisions are actually made within the first 10 minutes
  • As many as a third of buyers spend an average of £3,500 on repairs after moving

Aviva recently commissioned research into 4,000 homeowners surprisingly revealing that the average buyer takes just 33 minutes to decide on a house purchase. Probably one of the most expensive decisions a person makes in their lifetime and yet seemingly one of the most rushed.

James Wyatt, partner of prime property agency, Barton Wyatt is unsurprised,

“I have known my wife take longer choosing a pair of shoes than many people take deciding on a house purchase!”

Aviva is of the opinion that buyers are reacting to a highly competitive market, leading them to make snap decisions. Indeed the insurance company reports that 24% of homeowners only ever make one viewing before taking the plunge on offering.


Wyatt suggests,

“Properties are extremely evocative items and buyers know pretty much instantly if they like or dislike what they see.  I would suggest that the gut decision is actually make in the first 10 minutes of being in a home and the other 23 minutes is spent reassuring themselves they are making a good choice.

“The real talent in being a savvy estate agent is knowing your buyer well enough that you don’t spend ages taking them around properties that they won’t like – it wastes everybody’s time.”

Barton Wyatt is red hot at qualifying potential buyers, utilising years of experience and expert insight into a property’s specification so that it will meet the purchaser’s requirements. This is important for every purchaser but even more so as you foray into super prime properties which need to accommodate lavish lifestyles.

James Wyatt mulls,

“There is little point looking at houses that don’t have the right size kitchen, the correct number of bathrooms, wardrobes or dressing rooms required to house your Imelda Marcos-esque collection of Louboutin shoes, enough rack space for haute couture collection or with the right storage facilities for your Chanel handbags.

“The garage needs to be big enough for not just one but multiple luxury cars – Bentley and Rolls Royce models are longer and wider than average. And external storage facilities can be important if you need somewhere to park the racing bikes, golf clubs, vintage cars and the ride-on lawn mower.”

So if you are limited to 33 minutes what should you do with this precious time?  Barton Wyatt advises:

  1. Study the kitchen – does it have the room and space you are used too?  Accepting a smaller kitchen is a big ask for many.
  2. The bathroom number might seem fine but turn on the shower – a trickle of water will not keep you amused.
  3. Look at the boiler and ask about its maintenance and age.
  4. Get in the loft – it may sound odd but 3 minutes in the loft could answer many questions!
  5. Spend the last 10 minutes doing the school run at peak time. Many people look at houses in the middle of the day when no-one is around.

Further research from Aviva found that a third of home buyers didn’t carry out any specific checks when viewing their future home, spending an average of £3,500 on repairs after moving in – an additional cost some homebuyers may not have budgeted for.

These are often problems that the current owner knows about and doesn’t want to fix before departing – damp and cracks are the worst culprits.   Buyers often fall in love with a property and don’t want to hear about the bad bits.  Poor heating, a bit of subsidence, a leaky roof can all be swept under the carpet in a hasty viewing.

Further invaluable advice from James who goes on to say:


“Talk to the seller. You don’t need to become best friends but you do need to get a good understanding of why they bought the property in the first place and why they are selling. Ask them who the neighbours are and what they are like.


“Get a good survey done, it will pay off in the end.  Agents are very keen to sell and most will give completely honest and open advice. The days of “Caveat Emptor” are long gone, today all and any adverse information must be given to a buyer BEFORE they start incurring costs.


“Above all, after you’ve agreed to buy a property, step back, breathe deeply, go and visit again. You can change your mind. We agents hate this, but it is a big decision for the purchaser, and if I have a happy buyer at the end of the day, I’d like to think they might sell that home through me in 7, 10, 20 years time.”


For more details contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bartonwyatt.co.uk.