Factors That Influence Home Buyers

Some universal things sellers can do to make their homes more attractive to buyers

A wide range of factors can influence a buyer’s decision to make an offer on a home, from the logical, like location or perceived value, to the emotional, like gut instinct or an affinity for a street name. Studies show that most home buyers make their key judgements on a home in the first 7 to 10 seconds—so the stakes are high. There are some universal factors that can improve your home value for selling, and others that are as unique as the personalities of each potential buyer who enters your door. Here’s an overview of key features that will certainly influence your sale price, plus some more fluid factors that may or may not play a role in your sale.

Universal determining factors

There are some universal factors that will influence a buyer’s decision. Location, for example, will always play a sizeable role in determining your home value. Equally important is curb appeal, which is why it’s in a seller’s best interest to make sure their yard is well-groomed and any noticeable defects on the exterior of the home are taken care of before a showing. Remember: first impressions are important. A 2013 Real Estate Staging Association survey found that houses that received a facelift, from upgrades as simple as a new coat of paint, nice shutters or freshly-planted flowers, saw a 40-day decrease in selling time compared to similar homes that were unstaged.

Less predictable influences

Less predictable influences are, of course, harder to anticipate. These include emotional connections to your home or location, lifestyle or cultural preferences, and even personality traits. Redfin recently released a survey of more than 1,000 Americans who were asked which elements of a home they found most desirable, and which they could live without. They divided the responses by a variety of self-reported characteristics and tracked patterns in home preferences. Women had stronger preferences than men for appliances and neighborhood safety, for example. Having a pool was 11.3% more important to iPhone users than Android users, and neighborhood appearance was 7.1% more important to dog people than to cat people.

While it’s impossible to predict if buyers will be Android users or dog people, it is possible to play up the strengths of your home. Parents appreciate proximity to schools and parks, most people look for a range of appliances, and everyone likes a home without obvious or serious structural issues. An experienced broker and real estate attorney can help you determine how to best present your home for sale, and guide you toward steps that will help you sell faster, while making sure you don’t waste your time on changes that will have little impact.

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