Posted in: Selling a home, Buying a home

What are buyers really looking for? A new study may surprise you

What home buyers want

It’s a question asked frequently by sellers. What do buyers really want? Fresh paint – or the smell of freshly baked cookies? Granite countertops? A three-car garage? 

Well yes, they probably want all that. But new research shows that when it comes to drawing in a buyer, it’s still all about curb appeal. Online curb appeal, that is. 

A recent study reported that when the eye movements of online home searchers were tracked, more than 95 percent of buyers looked at the first photo (usually the exterior shot of the home) for over 20 seconds. After that, a researcher from the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate reported, “their eyes tended to flit all over the screen. Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is over before it begins.”

So, what would potential buyers see in your exterior photo? An updated home with new windows, a well-cared-for lawn, all in a shot framed by mature trees? Fabulous – your home will be the envy of hungry buyers.

However, if your photos would show chipped paint or paneling, a cracked driveway and a yard still recovering from a long winter, it may be time to consider some budget-friendly curb appeal updates.

The ultimate selling don’t? Don’t doctor your real estate photos to promote your listing in a disingenuous way. Editing out a gray sky is one thing, but adding trees or an elaborate vegetable garden to your photos is not advised. Remember, there is no long-term advantage of luring buyers to a home that they don’t recognize – or like – in person.

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