Humans have been using their five senses to investigate the world around them since… well, since the dawn of humanity. But the senses do way more than just identify the things around us.
Sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing play an integral role in our emotional processing, learning and even buying behaviour. Whether we consciously realise it or not, we all make our purchases emotionally and justify them rationally. The bigger the purchase, the more we let our emotions guide us.
Selling real estate is predominantly reliant on building an emotional connection and only marginally on the facts and figures.
Because our emotions are so tightly intertwined with our senses, creating a pleasant multi-sensory experience for potential buyers will be the biggest influence on their purchasing decision.
How are our Emotions and Senses connected?
Instead of boring you with a lengthy scientific explanation about brain stimuli and sensory cortices, let us demonstrate the connection between emotions and senses through a few simple & interactive scenarios.
- Imagine the sound of dentist’s drill. Pause for a moment and really picture the high-pitched tone. Feeling uncomfortable yet?
- Imagine holding a ripe lemon in your hand. Think of the texture of the fruit, the bright yellow colour, the tangy scent. Now imagine bringing the lemon up to your mouth and taking a big bite. Did your mouth water up?
- Now think of the smell, taste and sounds associated with a freshly brewed coffee. What emotions does that evoke in your mind? For us it’s a sense of comfort, energy, and a warm hug all in one.
See where we’re going with this? Here’s how it applies to selling your home.
These are our tips for appealing to all five senses of your prospective buyers.
Sight is the most important sense of all five, so it should be your biggest priority. It takes seven seconds for the average person to form their first impression, make it exceptional. We like to take it up a notch, so instead of aiming for “This is nice.”, we want to hear “WOW!”.
Invest into professional home-staging.
We know, we know. But hear us out. There are numerous factors that you may have not even thought of until you speak with an experienced Home Stager. The psychology of colours, creating the buyers’ desired lifestyle, ensuring the lighting is adequate – they do everything they can to showcase the maximum potential of your home.
Leaving your home unfurnished so the buyers can see the “real” size of the space may sound like a reasonable option, but as we’ve established – people don’t buy their dream home because it’s the logical thing to do. They buy it because they fell in love with it. Empty rooms are far less likely to evoke emotion than a cozy-looking reading nook near the window.
It all starts with the real estate listing.
Properties with eye-catching images sell 32% faster than listings with low-resolution photos. Don’t try to save $$ on a property photographer, because the number of interested buyers will be directly proportional to the quality of your photos.
Declutter, Depersonalise and Deep clean. Click here to read our 8 Tips to Depersonalise Your Home.
Making sure your home smells nice is another important aspect to take into consideration. Be cautious with this because certain scents are imbedded in our brain and can bring up bad memories. Neutral smell with just a hint of a nicer scent (e.g. vanilla) is what we’re aiming for.
Air out the property thoroughly.
Open all the windows and doors before every open home, regardless of the weather outside. Letting in some fresh air can make a big difference.
Steer away from overpowering scents.
Fresh flowers, air freshener or incense sticks are very subjective scents. What smells nice to you may be too much for others. We bring in scented candles but never burn them.
We love pets, but let’s be honest – they can get stinky. Because you’d be so used to the way your pet smells, it’s smart to seek an “outsider’s” perspective. Someone who doesn’t visit your home often will be able to tell you straight away if you need to steam clean your carpets and soft furnishings.
When people are in the process of preparing their home for the market, sound is oftentimes the most overlooked characteristic. After living in the same home for years, they are so used to the sounds of their home that they don’t even stop to think about what it may sound like to a stranger.
Echo feels cold and distant, certainly not the emotions you want your prospects to feel. The best way to reduce echo is to add rugs and furniture to your rooms.
Eliminate audible effects.
Now is the right time to finally oil that squeaky door or fix the creaking floorboard.
There is no doubt that music has a massive impact on our mood. Playing something relaxing and welcoming may help the buyers feel at home, whereas something more upbeat can encourage them to look around faster and make a quick decision. If you’re stuck on what music to play, there are numerous playlists available online across most streaming platforms. Just search for “open house playlist”.
Leverage your agent’s voice.
We always recommend engaging a professional real estate agent to help you sell your home. They know the market, but above all else – they know what to say to close the deal. Don’t underestimate having an experienced salesman on your team, even if it comes to highlighting certain features in your home that are not easily visible (e.g. a laundry chute leading from the bedroom to the laundry, etc.)
Thought to be one of the first senses to develop, touch occurs across the whole body using a variety of receptors in our skin. Here’s how to tickle your buyers’ sense of touch during house viewings.
Some people are naturally drawn towards warm and fuzzy textures, others prefer colder surfaces like glass or metal. The safest thing to cover both of these bases is to alternate what’s perceived as cold and warm textures. For example, drape a thick, knitted throw rug over the edge of the sofa (warm) and place a marble coffee table in front of it (cold).
Doing this creates visual interest and makes the space appear more plush. Starting from the ground up and going all the way above the eye level, creating layers in the living room can look something like this: rug, coffee table, decorations on the coffee table, sofa, cushions, throw rug, artwork.
Another benefit of furnishing your home – it invites people to interact with it, which deepens the emotional connection. Even if the furniture won’t stay after the home is sold, it gives the buyers an opportunity to “try it out” and experience what living there would feel like.
Set the right temperature.
If the prospects feel too cold or too hot during the open home, they are very likely to cut their visit short and leave with a terrible impression. Ensure the temperature is comfortable at least half an hour prior to opening your doors to public.
Taste is probably the most difficult sense to engage when it comes to selling real estate. But taste is way more than just what you feel on your tongue.
The way to your buyer’s heart is through their stomach.
Some agencies put out canapes and champagne for their VIP openings. It is ‘a nice little touch’ but doing this has a deeper psychological meaning. Humans have been bonding over food for centuries. Eating together brings people closer and momentarily takes away any anxious feelings. This strengthens the agent-buyer relationship and creates a more memorable experience for the prospects.
A bowl of Mentos and bottles of water is one of the most common additions to open homes. It’s refreshing, encourages interaction and is perceived as something little extra.
Keep your decorations tasteful.
Yes, design taste is another type of taste. Remove any decorations that could be perceived as too personal, controversial or disrespectful (personal photos, political or religious opinions, nude art, etc.)
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