What do you think home buyers actually look at when viewing a property?
A new study carried out by property improvement experts Anglian Home Improvements has revealed some interesting results.
By using eye tracking technology, they were able to analyse viewers’ eye movements, taking note of what they looked at, what disrupted their natural eye movements, and what they lingered on.
Mess is the worst
Almost a quarter of all eye movements (24 %) lingered on clutter and mess in the home, proving that if sellers haven’t tidied up, it won’t go unnoticed! Throughout the entire study, when participants’ gaze panned a room, the eye-line was often disrupted by clutter.
Whilst potential buyers did not mention clutter or mess to agents in their post-viewing feedback, their eyes were repeatedly drawn to it when viewing a room.
Surprisingly the layout of the house took up just 4% of the participants’ focus during the viewing.
Repairs or structural features also made up 4% of participants’ viewing behaviours; this included checking door frames, sliding doors and light fittings in need of repair.
Who lives in this house?
Interestingly the study found that participants’ eye movements were often drawn to personal features within the house.
Female participants were found to spend more time looking at the personal touches in the home such as photographs and furnishings, while the male participants focussed on external features, the building itself and the outside space.
This suggests that females spend more time looking at how a house is made into a home and understanding what it would be like to actually live there, while males tend to focus more on the practical side of a house, its features, stability and value.
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 study, 17% of all participants’ focus behaviour was spent looking through the windows. The findings revealed that during the viewings, participants often commented on the view, and how close the neighbours were to the house.
The garden and outside area were also a key focal point. 22% of participants focused on the outdoor space, often pausing here for a while, proving that viewing a property factors in much more than just the house itself.
While any estate agent will tell a potential buyer to try and look past the décor of a property, sometimes it’s unavoidable.
The study showed that 27% of all behaviour was spent looking at furnishings and décor, perhaps suggesting that non-standard fixtures could pose more of a risk in terms of influencing a buyers decision.
However, this could potentially be seen as a positive, should the viewer be drawn to these fixtures because they have a similar taste to the current home owner.