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The psychology of selling – how the senses can help you sell your home

Posted on by Rachel Brookes

Selling your home is about so much more than giving it a tidy and making it look pretty. To get the price you want, you need your viewers to feel that this home could be theirs. After all, wasn’t that gut feeling the same reason you bought this property in the first place?

To get viewers into the right mind-set, you need to appeal their five senses – touch, smell, sight, sound and even taste.

Keys to home

Choose the right colours

Woman with scale of paint swatches choosing color

You are probably well aware that if you have any brightly-coloured walls in your house, they should be repainted to something more neutral. However, it can be difficult to choose the right colour – what’s going to appeal to your viewers?

For starters, avoid plain old white. It will make your house look far too clinical – especially if this colour is in every room. Blue, unless it’s in the bathroom, should not be used either. It will make your home feel cold and unwelcoming.

Warm, neutral colours are best, such as cream or caramel. Both of these shades go well with wood too, which is useful if you have a lot of oak furniture or beams in your home.

Appeal to tactile buyers

3d rendering. a luxury modern style bedroom.

Whether they notice or not, most buyers like to touch things when they’re walking around your home. They’ll want to feel your kitchen counter, make sure the carpets are soft and springy and some may even want to turn on the taps to feel the water pressure.

This is why it’s important to ensure everything in your house is free from dust, dirt and grease. If a viewer touches a shelf and their finger comes away covered in dust, they’re not going to be impressed, and may assume you don’t look after your home – what dirt is hiding elsewhere?

Remember that buyers will be opening doors, turning taps and pulling out drawers. Handles shouldn’t rattle or feel loose, and taps shouldn’t be too stiff or squeak. Fix these things before you start viewings. They won’t take long to repair – you might just need a bit of WD40.

To really appeal to tactile buyers, give them plenty of texture to touch– try putting a throw on your leather sofa or arranging a few soft cushions on the bed. You’ll be surprised at just how much influence these little touches have.

Eliminate noise

Fire burning in the cozy fireplace

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a quiet cottage in the countryside; some have no choice but to reside near a busy road or train station, and the noise of your surroundings may put a lot of buyers off.

Try distracting them from any possible nasty noises by replacing them with pleasant ones. During the viewing, put on some relaxing background music – we recommend sticking to classical or easy listening, something that’s not too distracting. Keep the volume on low; you don’t want to draw too much attention to it.

If you’re not keen on this idea, some sellers place a running water feature in particularly noisy rooms or turn their fireplace on, if they have one. The trickling of the water and the crackling on the fire may be enough to distract your sellers from that main road.

Remove unwanted odours

Golden retriever is enjoying bedroom.

You may not realise it, but your home smells distinctly of you and your family. When potential buyers come for viewings, you want your home to smell airy and fresh, but to achieve this you may have to do more than simply open a window.

If you have any pets, make sure to keep them, and any evidence of their existence, out of the house during viewings. You might love your pooch, cat or guinea pigs, but your viewers may not, and they certainly don’t want to be able to smell their litter tray or dry food. If your pet regularly sleeps or sits on the sofa, you should have it steam cleaned to ensure their smell is definitely gone.

You should also have your furniture cleaned if you have a smoker in the house. Cigarette smoke has a habit of sticking to everything – even the walls! It’s one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers, so it’s vital to make sure the house doesn’t reek of stale smoke. Ask a non-smoker to come round and check the house smells fresh before letting buyers view it.

Remember to also empty all your bins, and don’t cook any exotic or spicy foods the night before the viewing – the smell will linger.

Don’t try and use a quick-fix approach. A plug in air freshener will make it seem like you’re trying to cover up a bad odour, not to mention they often come across as too artificial. A fresh vase of flowers is a much more attractive alternative.

Tempt buyers with coffee and cookies

cookies and tea

Speaking of aromas, who doesn’t adore the scent of freshly brewed coffee and homemade biscuits? Leaving these treats out for your viewers will encourage them to stay in your house longer – they will want to finish your delicious coffee! The longer the viewing goes on for, the more likely they are to envision themselves living there and therefore put in an offer.

Do a trial viewing with a friend

front door

Viewers may be subconsciously affected by your property’s scent, colour scheme, textures and sounds, but the most important sense when it comes to selling a home is sight. Their very first impression will be based on how your home looks from the outside. We know you won’t forget to tidy and organise the inside of your home, but some sellers forget about their external areas.

Experienced buyers are great at spotting problems with properties, so you need to make sure that anything broken is fixed before your home goes on the market. We suggest doing a trial viewing: prepare your home for a sale as you normally would then ask an honest friend or family member to act like a home buyer. They should be able to spot any problem areas and point them out to you – it is often difficult to see bad paint jobs and cobwebs when you’re not looking for them.

Selling your home may seem like a daunting task, but it’s all about getting buyers to fall in love with it, just like you once did. Try to think back to when you first bought your home – what did you love most about it? Try to replicate those feelings and emotions. Do it with success and you’re sure to sell quickly for a great price.