How our Senses Affect our Home Buying Choices

Our senses affect buying

I can’t be the only one to head straight for the bakery section when I pass the vent outside the supermarket. So it seems to me that understanding how our senses affect our home buying choices is crucial in ensuring the possible best sale outcomes for your property.

1. The nose has it

The smell sense is strongly connected to memory and nostalgia which are powerful emotional buying influencers. Pleasant smells make us feel good and bad smells have the opposite effect. Never underestimate the effect of strong smells in your home such as damp, food, smoke, smelly drains etc. They will generate a negative emotional response that will linger for far longer than the smell itself. The opposite is also true. I don’t know if it’s necessary to bake bread or percolate coffee (as some suggest) when showing a property. But fresh, pleasant smells are a known key motivator for a buyer to say yes.

2. Seeing is believing

One of the most powerful influences on the visual senses is colour. In a recent Spinsucks article on how the senses affect buying decisions highlighted “people make a conscious decision about a product within 90 seconds of viewing It and 90% of that judgement is based on colour”. In the property arena, buying decisions are influenced by the colour of walls and accessories but also on the amount of light. Other visual cues, both on and off-line, include space and design. A cluttered or messy room will never be as visually pleasing as a spacious, tidy one. Unsightly, badly placed furniture will never be as appealing as well chosen and placed items. So keep it light, bright, clutter free and neutral and you can’t go wrong.

3. Warmth is where the heart is

A study in the Harvard Business Review found that buyers are more likely to purchase in a warm room than a cold one. On-line shopper are 46% more likely to click ‘buy’ if they are in a room at 25°C than at 20°C. The study also found that “exposure to physical warmth also made people feel a sense of emotional warmth” increasing the perceived product value”. So a warm property is likely to appear more valuable than a cold one. And in a room, a feeling of warmth is generated by the temperature but also by colour, texture and light. So if you’re selling a property that is vacant or empty during the day, putting the heating on for viewing times. It could make all the difference.

4. Wired for sound

Peace and calm wins every time. A great deal of research has been done into the effect of noise on our buying decisions. Load noises have been shown to impair our thought processes and our creativity and skew our perceptions. And noisy neighbours and streets are listed as one of buyers’ greatest put offs. Conversely, gentle music can slow down the pace at which we move through a home and be both soothing and generate that ‘feel good factor’. So avoid viewing times when there may be load noises both inside and outside the home. Even keeping voices low have been known to help!

In conclusion

How our senses affect our home buying choices is clear. As stated in a study on the influence of the senses by Martin Linstorm ““Almost our entire understanding of the world is experienced through our senses.” Our senses trigger emotional responses that can be positive or negative. Some triggers are common to most people and some will be personal based on individual memories and experiences. We can’t easily adapt our properties for individual sensory preferences but common preferences should definitely be foremost in our minds when preparing our homes for sale. Positively engaging as many of the senses as possible, whether it be sight, smells, warmth or noise, can make a real difference to whether your property sells. Or not.

Janine Shalev is a professional property and home stager at JS Property Staging. She transforms empty properties into spaces that prospective buyers or tenants would love to call home. 

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More to read:

The Psychology of Home Buying

How senses affect purchase decision

Top Home Buyer Turn-Offs

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