Buyer Insights

The Psychology of buying a house

The human brain is a funny thing. It has natural, primitive urges that we can’t fully understand but can see in action every day. And never more than when we’re faced with an important or high stakes decision such as buying a house.

Here we’re looking at buyers’ natural instincts when it comes to searching for, viewing and approaching a purchase. By understanding a little bit about the psychology of house buying you’ll be able to offer advice to your sellers and look out for signals from your buyers so you can stay one step ahead in the sales game.

1. Curb appeal is real

It’s true that we make a judgement about things within the first moments we see them. From a seller’s perspective this means the approach to a house and the doorway and entrance hall are the most important parts for playing to this phenomenon. Conversely, if a buyer doesn’t like what they see as they pull up out front it will take a lot to persuade them to change their mind.

TIP: Use this knowledge to suggest your vendor spends some time tidying and beautifying the outside of the property before viewings commence. Find more tips and advice to offer your vendors here.

2. Recognise the buyer in front of you

Some people buy on emotion, others are much more practical thinkers. For example, the business man in the market for a rental property with good investment potential will approach their search differently to a retired couple who can’t wait to show their grandchildren around an area they’ve fallen in love with.

TIP: Sell to the grandparents with stories of the wonderful life they’ll enjoy in the property. Sell to the potential landlord with hard facts and numbers.

3. Look out for that emotional pull

Listen out for statements like: “Ooh, look at that view, we could have our morning coffee sitting here”, “the grandkids would love diving into that pool”, or “we’d enjoy that walk down to the beach, wouldn’t we?” When your viewers start placing themselves in the property and imagining living there, they’re already buying into the property.

TIP:  Encouraging this kind of thinking can help to strengthen that emotional pull. Talk about the sun warming the terrace as they sip Rioja and relax before dinner.

4. Allow for gut feeling

Some people don’t realise the strength and importance of gut feeling. If your viewer gets “a feeling” for a place, you’ll be hard pushed to change their mind. If it’s a good feeling, great. If it’s not, recognise it’s not the right place and move on without wasting any more time.

TIP:  Reading the psychological signals that tell you a sale is lost is as important as knowing when to push for a purchase.

5. Show vendors how to create the right ambience

Delicious aromas, beautiful flowers and sumptuous cushions…By dressing the property in the right way, you can create an environment that feels warm and welcoming, making viewers want to stick around and really get a feel for the place. All of this adds up to an overall positive feeling about a property – which counts for a lot.

TIP: By feeding back lovely positive comments from viewers you’ll encourage your vendor to take pride in preparing their property in this way before each visit.

6. Spot ready-to-buy signals

When your customer is ready to buy, but long before they tell you that, they will begin to give you subtle, often non-verbal clues about their intention to make a purchase. Look out for repeated nodding of the head, positive noises and smiling. Also, notice when your viewer starts talking about price or asking about the next stage of the process and the timescales involved.

TIP: If you can recognise these buyer signals it should give you confidence to move in and close the sale.

7. Read barriers to purchase

Barriers to purchase are the reasons your potential buyer is not putting pen to paper. This could be things like cost, location, concerns about local infrastructure or any number of other things – some of which your viewers themselves may not even understand. It’s time to turn detective, listen to what’s being said and see if you can work out what’s going on in your customer’s head.

TIP: Figure out what’s stopping your viewer buying the property and see whether there’s anything you can do to help.

8. Put a positive spin on potential negatives

Obviously, the goal is for a property viewing to be overwhelmingly positive, leaving your potential buyer ready to put down a deposit. In reality? It never quite works like that, there are almost guaranteed to be small things that are less than ideal about a property. But there’s no need to let on to your viewer. Psychologically a cosy snug sounds a lot more inviting than a small living room, while the words traditional and rustic can cover a multitude of interiors issues.

TIP: It’s important you don’t lie about anything but using positive language to reframe something really can change the way others look at it.

9. Preparing for viewings

There’s a reason that sales people in some industries have a less than attractive reputation for being untrustworthy and false. Unfortunately, real estate agents can be unfairly tarnished with this brush too. But there are things you can do about it. People buy from people they know, like and trust, so get psychology on your side and put the leg work in before and during the viewing to build a genuine connection with your customer.

TIP: Actively listen, learn as much as you can about your viewer and respond to them in ways that prove you’ve heard them. You’ll find their opinion softening in no time.

10. Making an offer

When you’re negotiating the process of offers and counter offers it can be a minefield of emotion. Psychology-wise people like to feel they’re getting a good deal, but it’s important not to cause offence to the seller and make further negotiations difficult.

TIP: If a buyer is trying to get themselves an unrealistic deal, appeal to their softer side by reminding them how the seller is likely to be feeling and the emotional attachment they have with the property.

By understanding how to find out what’s going on inside your buyer’s head, you’ll feel more confident heading into that viewing situation. We don’t condone manipulation, but there are certainly ways to use your newfound psychology knowledge to your advantage when it comes to making sales.

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