Revealed: the compromises homebuyers aren’t prepared to make

When it comes to buying a home, nobody likes to scale back their expectations but new research commissioned by Which? Mortgage Advisers has revealed that homebuyers are more willing to be flexible on location than bedroom numbers and local crime levels.

The research for Which? Mortgage Advisers asked people who had bought a house in the past five years, whether they had made any compromises on the property they bought, and if so, what aspects they had sacrificed.

The survey revealed that nine in 10 homebuyers (90%) weren’t willing to budge on local crime levels, and almost the same percentage again didn’t want to forgo their desired  number of bedrooms (86%) or the property’s proximity to schools (86%). Conversely, three in 10 people (29%) were willing to make concessions on the overall condition of the property, and a quarter were willing to waiver its location (23%), general layout (23%), and whether it had a garden or outside space (24%).

Seven in 10 people (69%) had made concessions on the property they bought, ranging from sacrificing an extra bedroom, to giving up on a garden. However, nine in 10 (89%) said that ultimately they were satisfied with what they gave up. Only 3% of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied.

Regardless of where on the property ladder homebuyers were, our research suggested that competition in the property market remains tough and aspirations high. The level of compromise between first-time buyers and those who’d bought a property at least once before was also almost identical, at 69% and 68% respectively.

David Blake from Which? Mortgage Advisers said:

“Buyers often start property searches by imagining their dream home, but our research shows that some form of compromise is almost inevitable.

“To be happy with the concessions you make it’s vital to know where you’d scale back in order to remain within budget. By speaking with an independent mortgage adviser early on, you can help ensure your expectations are realistic from the outset.”

Four questions Which? Mortgage Advisers suggest you should ask yourself when finding a property in budget:

  1. Could you part-buy, part-rent through a shared ownership scheme?
  2. Do you need that extra bedroom – is space more important than location?
  3. Can you get access to a communal garden space?
  4. Have you considered a cheaper part of town, further away from a transport hub?

For advice on finding a home to fit your budget, visit:


Notes to Editors

  1. Which? Mortgage Advisers is one of Which?’s new services. When an important market fails to deliver value to customers, we develop products and services that put customers’ needs first. Which? Mortgage Advisers provides truly independent, whole-of-market mortgage advice. You can find out more by visiting:
  2. In June 2015, Which? Mortgage Advisers commissioned ‘Research Now’ to survey 1,990 members of the general public who had either bought or sold a house in the previous five years. Respondents were asked to highlight the compromises they made, where relevant to them. Our findings are based on a nationally representative sample of the UK, and exclude any regional boosts in samples that were used for additional analysis.
  3. Our research also found that women were more willing to budge on aspects of their property than men, with 72% of women making a concession versus 65% of men. However, men were found to be more satisfied with the sacrifices they made compared to women, at 91% versus 88%.


Table of compromises:

Aspect of property compromised % that did not compromise, where relevant
Local crime levels 90%
Number of bedrooms 86%
Proximity to schools 86%
Number of bathrooms 84%
Public transport links 83%
Local amenities 81%
Noise levels 81%
Size of property 79%
Parking arrangements 78%
Commuting time/cost 78%
General layout of property 77%
Preferred location 77%
Garden/external space 76%
Overall condition of property/amount of work needed 71%

Press Release