New study: What do home-buyers really look at?

Liza Wrigley

Top tips for selling your home 

At Anglian Home Improvements, we recently conducted a study to help us determine what potential house-buyers actually look at in a property. Using eye tracking technology, we analysed viewers’ eye movements, taking note of what they looked at, what things disrupted their natural eye movements, and what they lingered on. So what did it tell us?

 

 

Mess is the worst

Our results certainly provided some interesting information. Almost a quarter of all eye movements (24%) lingered on clutter and mess in the home, proving that if you haven’t properly tidied, you’ll get found out! Throughout the entire study, when participants’ gaze panned a room, the eye-line was often disrupted by clutter found in that room.

As well as mess, repairs or structural features made up just 4% of participants’ viewing behaviors. This included checking door frames, sliding doors and in this particular house, a light switch fitting in need of repair, showing that any damage or areas of potential damage do get noticed by viewers.

Creating a picture

Another interesting fact to come out of our study was that participants’ eye movements were often drawn to features within the house that would help them to identify who currently lives there, their lifestyle, and generally more about them.

This is something the female participants did more often than the males. Females spent more time looking at the personal touches in the home such as photographs and furnishings, while males’ gaze spent more time focusing on external features than females (32% compared to 22%), as well as looking at the building itself and the outside.

This suggests that females spend more time looking at how the house is made into a home, understanding what it would be like to actually live there, while males tend to focus more on the practical side of the house, its features, stability and value.

Photographs were also particularly common in disrupting a viewer’s eye path across all participants. This perhaps favours the notion that potential viewers like to understand who currently lives in the house they’re considering purchasing.

Taking in the surroundings

Throughout the entire study, 17% of all participants’ focus behaviour was spent looking through the windows. We also found that during the viewings, participants often commented on the view, and how close to the neighbours the house is.

The garden and outside area were also key in our findings. 22% of participants lingered their gaze on the outside areas, often pausing here for a while.

From this, we’ve determined that viewing a property factors in much more than just the house itself. Viewers tend to like to understand the local surroundings, without disruptions from potential eyesores.

The way it looks

While any estate agent will tell you to try and look past the décor of a home, sometimes it’s unavoidable. Our study showed us that 27% of all behaviour was spent looking at furnishings and décor. In this particular home, a lot of this time was spent looking at the house’s sheepskin rugs and tall wall-mounted radiators, perhaps suggesting non-standard fixtures could pose more of a risk in terms of influencing a decision on a potential house. However, this risk could potentially be perceived as reward, should the viewer be drawn to these fixtures and have a similar taste to the home owner – something sellers will need to deliberate.

Key findings for sellers

From our study, we’ve identified the following:

  • While it might sound obvious, having a thorough tidy and clean is really important. Even the slightest bit of clutter can be picked up by the viewer, so make sure you have as much clear space as possible.
  • Your personal items such as photographs will give the viewer a good indication of the lifestyle this home allows – something to bear in mind when arranging a viewing. Try and help the viewer imagine their own lifestyle fitting in here by creating more of a blank canvas.
  • Keep things simple – non-standard fixtures and fittings are eye-catching, which could have an impact on a viewer’s decision. Standard fittings tend to be simpler to change, therefore posing less of a risk in dividing opinion.
  • Make sure any tasks on your DIY To Do list are as complete as possible. Viewers tend to take a look at the structure of the home, as well as anything that might need attention.

If your home could do with a little TLC, whether you’re planning your next house move or simply want to keep things up to date, take a look at the improvements you could make with Anglian.

 

 

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