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Viewing behaviour under the microscope


Viewing behaviour under the microscope

If you’re selling a house, have you ever wondered how people view it? Covid aside, we'll be taking a look at things like: how long viewings take, what people look at and how many times they visit before they buy.

Fortunately, there’s been plenty of research done in the area because, otherwise, you would find it difficult to believe quite how quickly it all happens. Property love, it seems, is fast love: two-thirds of viewers decide to buy by the end of their first visit, many doing so before they have even ventured beyond the hallway. The majority then return another two or three times before finalising their decision. An astonishing one in four visit just once before buying and 17% only ever view a single property before making one of the biggest commitments of their lives (source: mortgage provider, Ocean Finance). Most of us, however, look at between three and five properties over a period of two to three months.

The average length of these viewings can vary depending on who you ask, the size of the property and whether it was of interest. ING insurance’s figures suggest it is around 17 minutes. It's not a huge amount of time, but apparently most of us limit ourselves because we are concerned about intruding on the owner’s privacy.

And what do people look at during a viewing? There’s plenty of advice out there about what we should be paying attention to, but mostly we are simply looking for something that ‘feels right’ and fits our lifestyle and budget. What that entails is different for each individual, for example: cooks will pay extra attention to the kitchen and its layout, gardeners - the garden and the more sociable amongst us will be looking for suitable entertaining spaces and so on. Landlords and investors will, of course, be more hard-headed, but if it’s to be our home, we need to be able to picture ourselves living there. Something we are all concerned about is the overall condition of the building. How much work, if any, does it need and is it reflected in the price? Are there any improvements we can make, such as a new extension or a loft conversion?

Most of us also want to make sure there’s plenty of natural light, but when it comes to the specifics of viewings, research from Vileda is most revealing. They used hi-tech goggles to track the movement of people’s eyes, so they could see precisely what people were looking at. 95% of viewers went straight to the windows to check out the view, the neighbours and the neighbourhood. As most people would guess, storage was another popular item, with 80% inspecting the inside of cupboards to see how big they were. Room heights were also high on the list, with 70% spending plenty of time looking upwards. Mind you, they weren’t just checking out the dimensions, they were also looking at the condition of the walls, as well as any cornicing or ceiling roses. Talking of architectural features, 75% spent time looking at the larger ones too, such as original fireplaces and built-in bookcases. Surprisingly, flooring and work surfaces got only a cursory glance (15%) and almost no one looked in the oven.

So how many viewings should you expect before you get a sale? The average is around 7-10, but the process will speed up or slow down depending on localised supply and demand. Clearly, if the perfect property comes up for sale in an area of high demand, it might sell to one of the first few people through the door, but if there are lots of similar properties available in a slow market, the number of viewings can stretch well beyond the average.To give you a rough guide, currently, in Bracknell, semi-detached houses are going fastest, selling on average, in 91 days. Terraced houses are selling in 108 days and flats are far slower on 166 days.

And finally, if you are about to put your home on the market in one of our areas of operations (Bracknell, Wokingham, Binfield, Warfield and Jennets Park)don't set too much store in stats. After all, buyers are individuals and rarely fit into neat patterns. Just give us a call and we can give you some proper, individually tailored advice.

One last thing one thing, you can be sure when the experts tell you first impressions count, they’re not exaggerating - as fast as people fall in love with a property, they can also be instantly put off, especially by dirt, smells, damp, pets, poor DIY, mess and overgrown gardens.


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