What house-hunters really look for

Revealed: what house hunters really look for when they view your home

Trying to sell your home? We’re here to help. An innovative study using eye tracking technology can now reveal exactly what people look for when they view a property, and just how distracting mess and clutter can be for potential home buyers. The study, conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, saw a range of house hunters view a property while wearing eye tracking glasses, to see what actually grabbed their attention during the viewing.

The furnishings and décor took up just over a quarter (27%) of the house hunters’ focus during the viewing, with a similar amount of time (24%) being spent on looking at clutter and mess around the home. In comparison, the layout of the house took up just 4% of their time during the viewing. Clutter around the house was most distracting for the female house viewers, who spent 28% of their viewing time focusing on it, compared to 20% for male buyers.

The results show that even when the potential house buyers didn’t mention the mess to the estate agent, their eyes were consistently drawn to it when panning a room. Overall, men spent more time than women looking at the structure and features of the grounds and building (32% compared to 22%), while women focused more on the personal elements such as photo frames, decoration and furnishings (16% compared to 13%).

As with clutter and mess, personal items constantly drew the participants gaze. Photos were a big element of this – the data showed that house hunters often made eye contact with specific photographs, which distracted the viewers from other elements of the room. Looking at exterior features and the garden accounted for 22% of the participant’s focus, with 17% of time spent looking outside through the windows.

Based on the findings of the study, Matt Carey, Head of Digital Marketing, shares the company’s top tips for selling your home:

1. Keep garden boundaries clear

The garden and how close the house was to the neighbours was a large focus for many of the participants, so keeping the garden tidy and clearly defining the boundaries between neighbouring properties is definitely something that needs to be thought about when selling a home.

2. Tidy personal items away

While participants scanned the room their eyes were constantly drawn to items that would help them understand who is living here currently. Clutter and mess, unusual décor and personal items are likely to distract a potential buyer from their overall objective, making it harder to see them living here.

3. Keep an eye on the smaller details

For building features, the less attention it draws the better, as viewers are looking for problems. Ensure all large features such as fireplaces, sliding doors and extensions are in good working order.

Melanie McDonald, Head of PR, said: “It was very interesting to learn that so little of the participants behaviour was focused on the building and structural features, apart from the things that needed to be fixed. Although it is easy to forget to mend that broken light switch or socket, the fact that all the participants lingered on the badly installed light switch in the study just goes to show these little things are noticed during house viewings and will make the idea of them living in the property seem much further away. With nearly a fifth of the house hunters’ time spent looking out the window, one of the top tips from this experiment is to make sure the view from your windows is up to scratch!”

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