Buyer Psychology

Understanding what motivates prospective home buyers is half the battle when you are selling your home. While price, resale value and location are of course big influencers in buyers’ purchase decisions, remember that they are not robots. Most people don’t decide where they want to live based entirely on logical factors such as financial gain or price trends. It is natural that emotion, personal history, perception and impulse will also come into play. A survey by the Commonwealth Bank found that 44 per cent of home buyers spent more on a home because ‘they really liked it’.1 Vendors who can tap into the psychology of buyer behaviour may find they do better with their sale.

Here are nine important considerations if you are selling your home.

Buyers are visual.

It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Beautiful, relatable photographic images in the property advertising, which help buyers imagine themselves living in the home, can be very persuasive.

Demonstrate the lifestyle.

Home buyers care deeply about the lifestyle they will have if they buy the property. Highlight how the property’s layout and features, as well as the facilities, transport, community and proximity to great locations all contribute to a desirable lifestyle.

First impressions count.

Homes that have been immaculately styled typically achieve a higher price and more interested buyers than those that haven’t.2

Get real.

Case studies or stories about previous owners can help prospective buyers form an attachment to the property and relate to the property more easily.

Establishing trust.

Buyers are naturally suspicious and know that agents and vendors have their own agenda. If you can establish a relationship of trust and credibility, and be consultative and reasonable, it can go a long way in helping a buyer reach that final commitment.

Perceived value.

Buyers love to feel like they’re getting added value. They also like to feel they have ‘won the battle’ with the vendor, that is, that they managed to negotiate a great deal. If you can demonstrate value relative to the price, such as a perfect paint job, a beautiful garden, inclusions or discounts, flexibility on settlement dates, or even paying their first electricity bill, this may help get the buyer over the line.

Solve their problems.

Home buyers may be looking because their current living arrangements no longer meet their needs. So, focus your advertising on the functional things that the property offers, such as extra storage, two bathrooms, two living spaces, user-friendly kitchen layout, flowing entertainment spaces and so on, depending on the buyer demographic. This tends to be more compelling than vague promises such as ‘potential views from a second story build’, ‘elegantly presented’ and ‘premium modern finishes’.

Social proof.

Most people are affected by what others think and do. If your property appears to be in demand, this can help confirm for buyers that they are making the right decision in wanting it too. Making sure your property inspections are busy (even if you have to rent-a-crowd) is a good start.

Cognitive dissonance.

This occurs when a person’s behaviour is at odds with their own knowledge or beliefs. People have a tendency to avoid experiencing cognitive dissonance since it makes them feel uncomfortable, and they may actively search for new information to convince themselves that their behaviour is correct. For example, if a buyer falls in love with your property but knows it’s more than they should pay, they may hang on to any information that demonstrates the property is worth it, to make themselves feel better about buying it. As a vendor, if you understand your buyers you can provide the justification they are looking for, such as the location is one of a kind, the appliances are high end, the paintwork is excellent and so on – to help them feel more comfortable with their decision to purchase.

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