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The psychology of buying a house

Recent research concurs with our own findings that many buyers buy on instinct, typically viewing their eventual home no more than twice before making the decision to buy it.

Buying a property certainly appears to be a decision of the heart, rather than the head. In other words, the ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ approach often turns out to be reliable.

Despite the detail offered about their property by sellers when discussing the marketing of their home, buyers often register their preferences with a broad brush. At the outset, they seldom ask what type of boiler is installed, or if there are wardrobes in the bedrooms or a dishwasher connection in the kitchen. Although the seller may feel it important to have these mentioned in the brochure, these are relatively small details which will have little bearing on whether the buyer will find the property to the home for them.

Once certain non-negotiables, such as the price they can afford, minimum amount of accommodation and the general location of the property have been satisfied, buyers are primarily influenced by ‘How does it feel?’ and ‘Could we be happy here?’. These elements are intangible, but if the right buttons have been pushed, virtually nothing will stop the buyer from wanting to buy.

Following the initial excitement, the brain will challenge the heart and encourage the buyer to revisit the property – just to make sure. During this second viewing the buyer will take a more detailed look around, taking closer note of the type of fittings and general condition.

At this point the brain will usually decide whether or not to support the heart solely on the strength of this second visit, whereupon a final decision of whether or not to proceed will be made.

So we advise sellers to remember they are selling a home, not just a building with a general specification, and to work with us to promote the lifestyle benefits and character of their property – not just the features.

By Chris Willey
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