The Psychology of Home Buying

two people shaking hands

According to the UK House Price Index for November 2020, the average property in the UK is now valued at approximately £249,633. With average property values for Brits rising by 7.6% in the last 12 months alone, it’s safe to say that buying a home is one of, if not the single biggest, transactions we will make in our lifetimes.

Given the financial magnitude of buying a property, it’s understandable that home buying is one of the most emotive and psychologically fascinating decisions one can make. For those selling a property, it can be a veritable minefield attempting to work out whether a viewer is legitimately interested in buying or not. That’s because there are so many psychological variables to consider. If you are planning to put your property on the market and you want to better understand how a buyer’s mind works, read on as we detail the psychological signals that can help you stay one step ahead.

Properties that stimulate the senses are likely to be more appealing

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry, titled ‘A Study on the Influence of Senses and the Effectiveness of Sensory Branding’, our senses trigger both positive and negative emotions. Martin Linstorm claims that virtually “our entire understanding of the world” is derived from our senses. That’s why property sellers are encouraged to stimulate and positively engage as many of a viewer’s senses as possible. This could be welcoming smells, warm temperatures, calming colours and inviting interior décor.

Pinpoint those ready-to-buy signals

It’s easier than you think to spot when a viewer of your property is inching closer to buying it. First and foremost, there is positive body language. Smiles, nods and encouraging noises between viewers rarely mean they are being polite – it means they really like what they see. Better still, if you overhear them discussing the asking price and potential fees during their viewing you can be sure they are well and truly on the hook. Time is of the essence right now for property buyers across the UK given that the stamp duty holiday expires in March. You might find buyers use a stamp duty calculator on their phone during upcoming viewings to calculate how much money they could save by completing the purchase during the holiday. This calculator also works outside of the stamp duty holiday too. This alone should be viewed as a tell-tale statement of intent.

Emotive purchases and confirmation bias

The vast majority of buyers will indeed make a snap decision on buying property based on their ‘gut feeling’. Once that adrenaline has worn off, most property buyers will experience two more psychological stages – the need for confirmation bias being the first. At this hurdle, buyers are merely trying to convince themselves that they’ve made the right choice. If a buyer returns for additional viewings after making a successful offer, it’s always a good idea to help them reinforce their thinking by maintaining clean, uncluttered environments both inside and surrounding the property.

Overcoming buyer’s remorse

Overcoming buyer remorse
The Psychology Of Home Buying

According to figures from TwentyCi, a residential property data agency, 306,198 property purchases fell through in 2020 having been under offer. Buyer’s remorse is a big thing. It’s during this time window that the brain starts to rule a buyer’s heart, resulting in many beginning to question the sense of their purchase. This is where estate agents really earn their corn. The ability to supply buyers the information they need to settle those nerves is worth the commission fee.

Although you don’t need a degree in human psychology to successfully sell your home, being aware of the logical and emotional hurdles that your buyer will face can help to make your transaction smoother.

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