Buyer Psychology in Home Staging

Marketing and Buyer Psychology go hand-in-hand.  This is magnified 100 times when a house is on the market, and the sellers are still living there.   I've been in hundreds of these homes, and it's always the same story.   Buyers need to emotionally connect to the house, and the seller can stage the house to cause that to happen.  It's not just about picking up the clutter and putting out some fresh flowers.  The sellers must know what the buyers are thinking before they arrive.

Invading Your Space

When buyers tour the house, the goal is that they are looking at the features that they want to purchase.  If seller's have items throughout the home telling the buyer that THEY actually live there, the buyer psychology says that they are invading someone's space.  To prevent that from happening, remove personal photos and portraits, trophies, certificates, diplomas and items that have your name on them.  You want the buyers to envision living there.  You don't want them wasting time, trying to figure out who currently lives there.  

office with diplomas

Photo:  Houzz

The "Eeeek!"  Factor

Have you ever visited a hotel or short-term rental home that clearly wasn't cleaned?   You know what I mean... towels on the floor, toilet lid up, shampoo bottles and razor in the shower, deoderant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes on the countertop.  Your bathroom could be white-glove clean, but if these items are clearly in sight, buyers will have that "Eeeek!" factor - that feeling of, "Yuk, someone's still using this room." Let's be honest!  The buyer psychology is that they don't want to imagine you cleaning your body in their potential new home.  

Recommendations to wipe out the "Eeeek!" factor:

     1.  Only display clean towels, neatly folded that are NOT used.  

     2.  Utilize a small plastic caddy to hold essential items for bathing.  Take it to the               shower when needed, and store it in the cabinet when not in use.  

     3.  Countertop supplies should be stored under the sink or perhaps in baskets in a             closet.

     4.  Used towels can be folded and hung on a hanger in the closet.

Before: Clover Lane Design

After:  Clover Lane Design

Dreading the Chores

Don't you wish you could live in a house that would magically clean itself?  It would be the best invention ever!   The buyer psychology is that they don't want to think about cleaning while in your house.   So why leave out clues about cleaning?  Tuck away brooms, trash cans, cleaners, plungers, toilet brushes, vacuums, etc.   Also think about the "chore" of exercise and dieting.  Do you really want your potential buyer to weigh themselves while visiting your house?  Remove your bathroom scale. The buyer standing on the scale says,  "Ugh!  I still need to lose 20 pounds.  Now I'm depressed.  Let's look at the rest of the house now while I'm in a depressed state of mind."   Not good for the seller!

While speaking of chores though, make sure that your bathroom is squeaky clean!  I found this short article that gives some quick tips.     A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean Your Entire Bathroom

Your Pets Must Stink

67% of American homes include a pet, so it's fair to assume that your buyer may have a pet or two.  However, most pet lovers prefer to buy a pet-free home.  If they see items in your listing photos that include dog food bowls, leashes, crates, litter boxes, and pet toys, some buyers will swipe to the next house to avoid any potential problem.  Here's why!  They will assume that the house smells like pets.  They will wonder if the carpets have been peed on.  They'll assume hair and allergens will be everywhere and wonder if any baseboards have been chewed.  They may still come in for a showing, but it's a risk that you shouldn't make them take.

dog in living room

Photo: Brina Blum


Absolutely no sign of pet in the photos!  

Take your pets and their bedding with you during a showing.

Make sure litter boxes are clean and out of sight.

Don't store pet food in your pantry unless it has a lid on the container.

Cast a Vision!

Now that we've talked about the negative psychological factors that could impact your buyer, let's discuss all of the good buyer psychology that you can put in place.

Buyers want a house that gives them a lifestyle that they ASPIRE to have.  Most people would love to envision themselves having a morning cup of coffee or fruit smoothie in a cool "spot" of the house.  Show them where that is.  

Buyers would like to live in organized, clutter-free areas.  That's pretty unrealistic in our buys lifestyles, but if we could, we would.  Give the buyer the idea that in this house, the magic really happens here.  It's like a fairy-tale perfect house.

Buyers like to envision themselves reading books, appreciating art, and taking relaxing baths.  Create zones in your house that include a few beautiful books, nice big canvas art, and luxurious bath items.

And lastly, buyers love the idea of entertaining.  In reality, they may never or rarely have guests over for dinner or friends visit for a party, but they'd like to ENVISION themselves doing this.  Style the dining room.  A simple centerpiece or one with a few buffet-style dishes would be lovely.  

On the back patio, use a table with some chairs to create a beverage spot.  A couple of pretty bottles and some lemons evoke the feeling of refreshment and relaxation.  Buyers will really love this!

outdoor dining table set for guests

Photo: Rejuvenation


When selling a house, you really need to emotionally disconnect from your asset (the house) and market it to the potential buyer.   Put yourself in the buyers' shoes, and really think about how they will feel while touring the house.  Buyer Psychology is real, and it can make a huge difference in the speed of your sale, and the price that you'll get.  

If you want more help in this area, please connect with me.   I hope these ideas are super-helpful to you!

Happy staging!