Buyers viewed three different properties while using eye-tracking hardware to capture the parts of the home that caught their attention. Whilst some of the key areas they looked at might be those you would expect, such as the radiators and tap pressure, comparethemarket.com found that garden access, a clean and working oven and accessories were also heavily observed. (See methodology at the end of the article.)
Based on the findings and what buyers noticed most during the experiment, comparethemarket.com offers insight on what sellers should focus on to prepare a property for viewings.
With cooler temperatures, people are likely to start turning their heating on and buyers want to know that the radiators work. The experiment found that buyers went straight for radiators when looking around a property to check they worked.
If you have viewings booked, consider turning your heating on before they take place to ensure your home is warm. Not only will this show that both your heating system and radiators work, but it’ll create a cozy atmosphere. Also, contemplate cleaning your radiators so they’re free of dust and marks.
The eye-tracking experiment showed that buyers looked out into the garden as soon as they entered a room that backs onto it, and then checked the doors to see if they could access the garden. Not being able to do so can be off-putting for buyers, as they want to be able to see every aspect of the home.
Moreover, due to the pandemic, a lot of people are looking for a home that will give extra space, including a garden. Make sure viewers can access your garden if they wish and consider tidying it up and making the most of the space.
During the experiment, one of the first things potential buyers did in the kitchen and bathroom was check the taps to see what the water pressure was like. It’s important to check your water pressure is of normal standards before hosting viewings.
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. As buyers will be observing taps, ensure they’re clear of limescale.
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. It’s therefore worth seeing if the quality and durability of all your cupboards is up to scratch before viewings.
Do they open and close well? Can they hold the correct amount of produce? Buyers were also seen looking inside cupboards during the experiment, so make sure they’re kept tidy.
When buyers walk into a bedroom, the first thing they spot is the bed. Although you may take your bed with you once you move out of your property, buyers were seen to feel or sit on the bed when observing the room during the experiment. This is probably to help visualize themselves sleeping in the room.
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.
In the kitchen, the first thing potential buyers looked at was the oven, which they also turned on to see if it works. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the oven works and is kept clean before a house viewing.
Ensure the hobs and trays are washed and do not cook anything too fragrant prior. If you’re staying in the property while viewings take place, consider switching your oven on so buyers can see that it works.
Just remember to switch it off once they have left. If you’re not going to be in the property when viewings are going ahead, leave your oven switched off.
While a scent isn’t something you can physically see, during this eye-tracking experiment, diffusers and candles were one of the first things potential buyers spotted throughout the home and they were picking them up to smell them too.
It’s a good idea to purchase a couple of diffusers or candles and scatter them around your home before a house viewing. Not only will potential buyers pick up on the pleasant aroma, but you’ll also banish any unpleasant smells such as pet odor.
Buyers were also seen to check if the light switches work, so make sure they do. If rooms are dim, consider leaving the lights on to add brightness so viewers can properly inspect the room.
Many buyers also looked at ceiling lights as soon as they entered the room, so consider purchasing a new lampshade to make your room look more appealing.
Buyers want to visualize themselves living in a property, and although their interior preference may differ, they still want to look at a room and think, “Wow, I could live here.” The more buyers can picture themselves living in a home, the better it is for the seller.
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. These accessories do help give a room a homely finishing touch, so invest in some if you can.
Mark Gordon, head of mortgages at comparethemarket.com, said: “We conducted this experiment to determine the areas of the home buyers look at most to help sellers maximize their chances of a sale. Some sellers may not have considered these factors when preparing their homes for viewings, so we hope our insight will help them focus on the areas they should check and freshen up.”
To find out more about the research, go to: https://www.comparethemarket.com/mortgages/content/what-buyers-look-for-in-a-property/
Sources: House viewings were undertaken in September 2020.
Methodology: In total, three different Strata homes were visited by people looking to purchase a property. Each individual wore special eye-tracking glasses to capture the areas of the home they most preferred. The results were then analyzed to determine the key focus areas of the home for a prospective buyer.