Whenever a business is ready to sell something, they think about the consumer first. After all, if they want to sell their product, they have to package it in a way that will appeal to their target market’s desires.
Selling a home is no different. Home staging is the real estate market’s equivalent to packaging a product. It’s not enough to just stick something on the shelves and expect people to buy it. You have to speak to a buyer’s psychology to capture their attention and make them feel confident in investing their hard-earned money in whatever you are offering.
House hunting can be a fun but stressful process, so knowing how to appeal to a buyer’s psychology will make your house stand out from the rest. We’ve put together 5 things buyers want most when searching for a home and how you can make sure your home meets those needs with some simple home staging tips.
How to Appeal to a Home Buyer’s Psychology with Home Staging
They want to be able to imagine themselves living there.
Every buyer goes house hunting with a list of things they want to have in their next home. This can include things like a two-car garage, a nice yard, and a certain number of bedroom and bathrooms. But even if all of these needs are met, if they can’t imagine themselves in the home, the potential deal can completely fall apart.
That’s because when it comes down to it, the way a buyer feels in a home usually outweighs their more practical desires. They are making one of the biggest purchases of their lives and will be spending most of that life in whatever home they choose, so they have to be able to imagine themselves waking up there, entertaining their loved ones there, and perhaps even starting their family there.
All of these things are hard to imagine when a home is full of reminders of the people who currently live there. Family photographs, personalized artwork, and customized décor will all get in the way of buyers seeing what their life could be like there because they are surrounded by reminders of the life of those that currently reside there instead.
This is why we always recommend neutralizing a home’s color palette and getting rid of any personal touches. Having a clean slate will allow buyers to walk in and start envisioning what they could do to the place.
They want it to have enough space, especially for storage.
One of the biggest concerns of any home buyer is whether or not a home will have enough space. If a place feels cramped or seems to lack sufficient storage, red flags will rise immediately and turn off buyers quicker than quick. They need to know everything they own will fit in there, plus allow them to grow in it over the years.
Declutter, declutter, declutter! Even if your home is one of the most organized on the block, it could still probably be decluttered even further for the real estate market. A large part of home staging is paring down furniture and items to the bare minimum. We want it to feel comfortable and welcoming, but also be as clean and open as possible.
This means thinning out the items on bookshelves, putting away everything that’s on kitchen counters except for a few pieces of staged decor, and cleaning out the closets. Your cabinets and closets should especially have as much visual room as possible. Buyers will check inside them and if they look like they are about to burst at the seams, they will assume the home lacks in storage space and move on to the next house.
They want it to feel open and bright.
Most buyers are not looking for a dark and dingy place to call their next home. One of the most commonly requested descriptions for a home is for it to be “open and airy.” If your home feels cramped, then there’s a good chance buyers will turn right around. They won’t be thinking about how big it will be without all the stuff in it ─ they will go on their first impression and assume it’s not the home for them.
Once you’ve decluttered the home and have neutralized the color palette, you can take extra steps to cultivate a more open feeling in your home. If the furniture is overpowering a small space, consider switching some of the pieces out for ones that are lighter and more streamlined. Make sure any trees that are blocking the windows are trimmed back to allow more light in and use lightweight, lightly-colored window treatments.
If it still feels a little dark, put some nice artificial lighting around the space with high watt bulbs. Another great home staging tip for small spaces is to use mirrors to reflect light and make any space feel more open.
They want to feel good about it as soon as they drive up.
Curb appeal is a crucial part of selling a home. If a home buyer isn’t impressed as soon as they drive up to the property, they are likely to not even bother going inside. At a glance, they want to see that the home has been well-maintained and has good vibes from the get-go. Ruin this first impression and you could lose the sale.
Take some time to walk around your front yard (and back yard) starting from the curb and slowly working your way up. Try to see it from a buyer’s perspective. Has the mailbox seen better days? Is the lawn green, healthy, and trimmed? Are there weeds growing or cracks in the driveway and path to the front door?
How about the gutters – are they clean? Are the house numbers easily visible from the street and in good shape? Has the house been pressure-washed recently? Does the front door need to be repainted? All of these things will stand out to buyers. Invest some time and money into making your home’s exterior look impressive and welcoming. Once everything has been cleaned up and repaired, add some colorful new potted flowers by the front door to make it even more inviting.
They want to know the home is in good shape and has been well-cared for.
Buying a house is a huge commitment. For most people, it is the largest purchase they will ever make, so they want to be sure that they are spending their money wisely. Investing in a house that looks like it might be a money pit is not going to inspire confidence in them.
Ease their concerns by making sure the house looks like it has been well-maintained over the years. If they walk in and start making a laundry list of repairs that will be needed – even if they are minor – they could very well be scared off. It will make them wonder what larger repairs might be lurking where they can’t see them.
Put in a little money and sweat equity to get your home in tip-top shape. This means filling holes in the walls, touching up the baseboards, switching out lights that have stopped working, and other issues that buyers will find. Don’t assume they will be happy to fix these things once they move in or that they just won’t notice them at all.
You also want to make sure the home has had a deep, thorough cleaning before it goes on the market and maintain it every day. Polish even the spots you don’t usually notice, because there’s a good chance buyers will. (And don’t miss these commonly overlooked cleaning spots.)
They want to be confident in their choice and feel like they have found their home.
Don’t forget that above all else, buyers aren’t just looking for a property to buy ─ they are looking for the next place to call home. There is an emotional component that can’t be overlooked. After the home has eased them with how clean, spacious, and well-maintained it is, you need to seal the deal with the warmth factor.
Once everything else has been taken care of, it’s time to start layering in the charming finishing touches that will make buyers want to move right in. To add some style to the neutralized palette, introduce some colorful accents in the form of pillows, artwork, and other decorative pieces. (Click here for more ideas on how to use color when selling your home.)
Then, take it a step further by including things like fresh white towels in the bathrooms, pretty flowers and plants throughout the home, a tray with coffee mugs on the master bedroom, extra pillows on the sofa and beds, and full place settings on the dining room table. These things are what make a house truly feel like a home.
If you keep all of these things in mind and follow these home staging tips with buyers in mind, your home is sure to sell faster and for more money. To get some more home staging tips, watch our free Home Staging Webinar.