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First impressions formed in just 38 seconds

4 months ago
First impressions formed in just 38 seconds

There’s only a very small minority of buyers who will purchase a property without visiting in person. For the masses, a viewing is the ‘make or break’ stage in the search process. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll be discouraged from making an offer and will swiftly move on to the next possibility.  

Understandably, sellers can feel a sense of trepidation when laying bare their home for potential purchasers to view, especially when research has found 75% of adults confided that they always judged a person’s home. Shockingly, the average person took just 38 seconds to form an opinion.  

The poll, commissioned by the Independent Network powered by VEKA, helpfully identified where people will be looking – something that sellers can act upon before they open their front door.  

Of those questioned, 42% said they’d most likely make a judgement based on the property’s interior, while 36% would take all areas – inside and out – into account. When it comes to what aspect visitors notice immediately, you might be surprised.  

Although advice always favours a clutter-free, tidy home, the research found it’s odours that people first register. Our olfactory sense is very strong and what we can smell often reaches our brain before what we can see. Unpleasant whiffs will definitely make a negative first impression.  

Coming second is another sense that isn’t linked to a home’s aesthetic appearance. How hot or cold a property is certainly makes an impact. For sellers, a freezing home could convey the message that the home is expensive to heat, is draughty or has a broken central heating system. On the flipside, an overheated home can cause drowsiness and may indicate a lack of ventilation.   

The third most impression-forming aspect was whether the house had been vacuumed or not. Other off-putting aspects that made the top 10 included whether the washing up was done, dirty windows, the condition of the furniture, the colour on the walls and if the ornaments were dusty.  

In terms of spaces, it was found the living room was the most judged room and opinions were formed by assessing a variety of elements. The poll found some people were even making judgement calls based on what books were on the shelves.   

If you’re a seller wanting to make a positive impact during the 38 second judgement window, we recommend the following:  

Give your home some kerb appeal: make sure the first impression is a positive one. Anything that’s damaged, broken or dead – that includes cars, plants, pots and fences – should be repaired or replaced. Front gardens should be free of litter and weeds, front doors should be clean with bells/knockers in working order, and rubbish/recycling discreetly stored. 

Pay attention to porches & hallways: these areas are hot spots for clutter and odour-producing items. Damp coats, sweaty shoes, pet paraphernalia and festering gym kits may make a home look untidy and potentially pong. Store items away from the entrance, clean thoroughly and consider touching up any paintwork that’s scuffed or grubby.

Schedule a deep clean: we have buyers waiting so don’t be caught off guard by how quickly viewings will be booked. Complete a deep clean before your home goes on the market. Essential one-off jobs include decluttering, descaling and degreasing, with regular vacuuming and dusting while your home is on the market.  

Don’t neglect last-minute prep: be at home at least 30 minutes before viewers arrive so you can get the property to a comfortable temperature, open windows and light candles to eliminate odours, and perform a final tidy.   

If you are thinking of selling a property you own, book a free, no-obligation appraisal with us. We’ll let you know what your home could sell for and share our advice on getting ready for the open market.

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