If, as a seller, you can get inside the brain of your buyers, and know what they’re looking for, you’re halfway there in terms of getting your home sold.
Well, with the UK housing market continuing to boom despite a new lockdown – which fortunately excludes the property market – comparison website comparethemarket.com has conducted an eye-tracking experiment to highlight what buyers really see on a viewing.
This could help to inform your sales strategy when it comes to both virtual and in-person viewings.
Below, we take a closer look at what the research found and how sellers can use this knowledge to their advantage.
What did the research reveal?
To come up with its findings, three different properties were viewed by buyers using eye-tracking hardware to capture the parts of the home that most caught their attention.
Although some of the key areas buyers looked at will be no surprise, such as the radiators and tap pressure, the website found that garden access, a clean and working oven, and accessories were also heavily observed.
Based on these findings and what buyers spotted most during the experiment, comparethemarket.com came up with some top tips on what sellers should zone in on to prepare a property for viewings.
No massive surprise, given the soaring popularity of garden space since lockdown, but the eye-tracking experiment revealed that buyers looked out into the garden as soon as they entered a room that backs onto it. What’s more, they then checked the patio doors to see if they could access the garden.
If they can’t, this could be off-putting for buyers as they want to be able to see every part of the home they’re looking to purchase.
With the rising importance of garden space since the pandemic, it’s important that you provide easy access to garden space for buyers (if they wish to see it), and also tidy and smarten up this space before anyone comes to visit your home.
With temperatures now cooling as winter fast approaches, heating is likely to become so much more important to buyers. And they will want to know that the radiators work effectively.
Comparethemarket’s experiment showed that buyers went straight for radiators when looking around a property to make sure that they work.
If you have viewings booked, you might want to consider turning the heating on before they take place (especially if it’s a particularly cold day) to ensure your home is nice and warm.
This doesn’t only show that your heating system and radiators work, it also helps to create a cosy atmosphere for viewers.
It’s the little things that often count, too, which is why you should do a quick dust-down and clean of your radiators before any viewings occur.
In the experiment, when walking around the kitchen, one of the first things buyers did was check the cupboards to see if they were well-built and in good condition. As a result, it’s wise to make sure the quality and durability of all your cupboards is up to scratch before viewings.
For example - do they open and close well? Can they hold the correct amount of produce? It’s also highly likely that buyers will look inside the cupboards during a viewing – this happened in the experiment - so make sure they’re kept tidy.
Perhaps not a huge surprise, but the experiment showed that when buyers walk into a bedroom, the first thing they notice is the bed. Despite the fact that many sellers are likely to take their beds with them once they move out of their property, buyers were seen to feel or sit on the bed when observing the room during the experiment, probably to help visualise themselves sleeping in the room.
It might sound obvious but, before a viewing, ensure your bed is well-made. You might also want to consider purchasing new quilts and cushions to ensure they have ‘a good warmth and weight ratio’.
An important part of the viewing process is buyers visualising themselves living in your property. And, while their interior preferences may differ, they will still want to look at a room, be wowed and imagine it as their own.
The more a buyer can picture themselves living in your home, the better your chances of selling. The experiment found that accessories such as blankets, throws and scatter cushions on sofas and beds were one of the first things potential buyers looked at while in the bedroom and living room especially.
Such accessories might be considered an after-thought or ‘a nice to have’, but they can help to give a room a ‘homely finishing touch’. You may want to invest in some if you can, to improve your chances of selling.
The experiment also found that buyers were keen to check if light switches work – an age-old favourite of anyone viewing a home. It’s vital that you make sure they do work, otherwise you risk leaving the wrong first impression.
If certain rooms in your home suffer from dimness, you might want to leave the lights on to add brightness and allow buyers to properly inspect the room.
The research showed that many buyers also looked at ceiling lights as soon as they entered the room, so you might want to consider purchasing a new lampshade to make your room look more appealing.
One of the first things prospective buyers did in the kitchen and bathroom during the experiment was to check the taps to see what the water pressure was like.
It might not be something you give much thought to, but it’s important to check your water pressure is of normal standards before hosting viewings.
In order to determine the pressure, you can either ask a plumber to look, or you can get a rough guide by turning your main feed tap on and off a couple of times.
With buyers highly likely to be observing taps, make sure they are clear of limescale and give them a quick wipe using baby oil for extra shine.
The first thing potential buyers looked at in the kitchen, during the experiment, was the oven, which they turned on to see if it worked.
With this in mind, it is of course vitally important that the oven does work efficiently and is kept clean before a house viewing. You might want to consider getting it professionally cleaned – costly in the short-term, but potentially rewarding in the long-term.
Hobs and trays should be washed and it’s best not to cook anything too fragrant prior to a viewing. If you’re staying in the property whilst viewings take place – as long as this is in line with current guidelines – you might want to consider switching your oven on so buyers can see that it works.
If you’re not going to be in the property when viewings are going ahead – as is likely to be the case during Covid - leave your oven switched off.
The eye-tracking experiment found that diffusers and candles were one of the first things potential buyers spotted throughout the home, and they were also picking them up to smell them as well. So, while a scent isn’t something you can physically see, it’s still highly important that your home gives off the right kind of smells
You might wish to purchase a few diffusers or candles and scatter them around your home before a house viewing. This will allow potential buyers to pick up on the pleasant aroma and can also banish any unpleasant smells such as pet odour.
Of course, not all property buyers are made equal, and the comparethemarket research only shows how three potential buyers behaved. But many of their actions ring true for the majority of buyers and so you should use this research to help inform your selling strategy.
Here at Balgores Property Group, we can help you to get your property sold quickly and for the best possible price - all while following government health and safety guidelines to the letter.
For further guidance on any part of the moving process, get in touch with our expert team today. You can also get a free and instant online valuation to see how much your property could be worth in the current marketplace.