A study using ‘eye-tracking’ technology has revealed what prospective buyers pay most attention to during viewings and shows critical differences between male and female viewers.
The study for Anglian Home Improvements, involved viewers agreeing to wear spectacles that tracked their eye movements, recording what they looked at, what things disrupted their natural eye movements and what they lingered on.
Some 27% of the viewers’ focus was spent on furnishings, 24% on looking at personal effects and clutter, with just four percent given over to the layout of the property.
Personal effects and clutter were most distracting for female viewers, who spent 28% of their viewing time focusing on them, compared to 20%for male buyers.
The company claims at the results show that even when potential buyers did not mention clutter or mess to agents in their post-viewing feedback, their eyes were repeatedly drawn to it when planning a room.
Overall, men spent more time than women looking at the structure and features of the grounds and building (32% compared to 22%), while women focused more on the personal elements such as decoration and furnishings.
Personal items constantly drew the participants' gaze. “Photos were a big element of this - the data showed that house hunters often made eye contact with specific photographs, which distracted the viewers from other elements of the room,” says a statement from the company.
Repairs or structural features made up just 4% of participants’ viewing behaviours. This included checking door frames, sliding doors or light switches.
Looking at external features and the garden accounted for 22% of the participants’ focus, with 17% of time spent looking outside through the windows.
Once in conducting viewing is very much the same (based on intuition and not asking our prospective buyers to wear eye-tracking spectacles!).
Before a viewing, try to remove as many personal items, books, photographs etc. as you can so people look at your home in terms of how they would feel living in it and not become distracted, through natural curiosity, by how you live.