New research released today by Yates reveals what home buyers are looking for across Australia. Contrary to the traditional real estate ‘rule of thumb’ that kitchens and bathrooms sell properties, it’s outdoor spaces that buyers are looking for.

What home buyers want: outdoor living overtakes kitchens as ‘heart of the home’, March 2018

Proving it’s all about outdoor living, 39 per cent of Aussie home buyers prioritise outdoor living spaces like balconies, decks and courtyards, compared to just 12 per cent focusing on kitchens and only three per cent on a deluxe bathroom. In addition, 16 per cent of home buyers are looking for a backyard to create lasting memories as their first priority.

Paddy Bryans, Marketing Director at Yates said they were curious about what today’s home buyers are looking for: “With the real estate bubble bursting across most capital cities, homeowners can no longer be complacent about selling their homes. We wanted to understand the role of outdoor and green spaces for home buyers and sellers especially within the context of more apartments and smaller land sizes as is happening in many capital cities.

“The findings revealed some interesting differences between States and Territories and age groups. The research highlights the importance of great outdoor spaces when looking to sell.”

The research found:

  • Outdoor living spaces like balconies, decks and courtyards are most important to buyers over 65 years (46 per cent) and those in ACT (59 per cent) and the Northern Territory (55 per cent)
  • NSW home buyers are more focused on outdoor spaces (42 per cent) than their Victorian equivalents (36 per cent)
  • Younger buyers (18-34 years) are most focused on an awesome outdoor space to entertain (45 per cent)
  • South Australians love their backyards – 30 per cent rank it at as the most important factor when home hunting compared to a national average of 16 per cent and just six per cent in the ACT
  • West Australians care least about their kitchens with nine per cent ranking it as a top priority – compared to 27 per cent of NT home buyers
  • Victorian home hunters are more concerned with street appeal than buyers in other states – with 15 per cent ranking it as number one on their list compared to just three per cent of South Australians, nine per cent of Queenslanders
  • In the NT, street appeal wasn’t a consideration for home hunters (zero per cent)

Tips to prepare property

To help homeowners prepare their property for sale or even to maintain it with a future sale in mind, Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates shares few tips:

Remember to prune

It’s amazing what a good trimming will do! Pruning wayward plants and giving hedges a neat trim will help make the garden more tidy and presentable. 

Regular trimming and applications of a liquid fertiliser will also encourage fresh flushes of healthy new foliage.

Get mulching

Mulch is magic stuff. Applying a layer of mulch, such as eucalyptus mulch, around garden beds not only helps to reduce moisture loss from the soil, it also acts as a final unifying touch and brings the look of the garden together.

Add a pop of colour

A few well-placed pots of colourful flowers, such as on a front veranda or outdoor seating area, provide a beautiful and welcoming focal point. A little colour will instantly improve a home’s first impressions.

Plant a kitchen garden 

A space to grow your own food is fast becoming a must-have part of any garden. Consider installing a small raised garden bed in a sunny corner of the backyard, that’s filled with seasonal produce to inspire and tempt buyers.

Keep it low-maintenance 

A garden that requires a lot of upkeep can affect the valuation price and saleability of the home.


Privacy is important to house buyers and fencing, a wall or large plants will help improve the value of a home.

Create a sense of balance

Make sure your garden is designed so it is balanced and feels like part of the house. A clever design will also make a garden appear larger than it is by using certain vistas and viewpoints.


Lighting allows your garden to become a useable space at night. It also doesn’t have to cost a fortune. if you are selling your home, its good to note that a great deal of viewings take place in the afternoons and evenings, therefore it’s worth investing in some garden lighting so potential buyers can get a good impression. If you already have this in place, check that none of the bulbs need replacing ahead of any viewings.

Create Al fresco kitchen area

Create an al fresco kitchen area. Gone are the days when a portable BBQ would suffice. Separate buildings or sheds containing kitchen and/or dining space outside the house are becoming more popular and are attractive to buyers.

Running water

Running water can help mask background noise in areas near busy roads or schools. Small fountains or water features can help create a more peaceful environment – making it more attractive to potential buyers.

General tidy up

Think of the garden as another room of the house; mow the lawn, sweep up, de-weed and get rid of unsightly clothes lines.


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