How to Tap Into a Buyer's Emotions When Prepping Your Home for Sale
Stage your home based on the feelings buyers want to experience when they see their next home.
You’re unloading thousands of dollars in savings to fund the down payment and pay the mortgage on a home. But in reality, most homebuyers purchase first with their emotions and then justify the purchase with their wallets.
Why? Because a home is several things: it’s where you live, it’s where you raise your family, it’s a reflection of who you are, it’s a status symbol.
Regardless of stress, anticipation or, in some cases, frustration, the simple fact is a buyer can easily get attached to one home over another. That’s why you need to make sure your home stays at the top of a buyer's mind during the house hunting process. You want the buyer to feel an emotional attachment to the space by visualizing herself living there. That’s hard to do walking in on a cluttered mess.
Let’s go room by room and talk about some of the ways you can add emotion to your newly decorated spaces and utilize the top ten positive emotions, as determined by Barbara Fredrickson, author of “Positivity: Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio at Will Change Your Life.” A pioneer in studying positive emotions, Frederickson, who holds a doctorate of psychology, describes how 10 positive emotions can increase your ability to move forward in life.
Entryway. This is the first room buyers see and it makes an impression on them in seconds. Transition from the outdoors with a plant in the space, and start the walk-through with an accessory or two introducing the home’s theme.
Welcoming. Make sure the space smells fresh and is light and bright – flowers work nicely.
Joyful. Showcase life and energy by adding a pop of color.
Living Room. The living room is a place to entertain guests. This room is usually more formal, and where the entire family comes together. Here you can let your design style shine, especially if it’s the second room buyers see.
Awe. Offer the feeling of luxury when buyers walk through this room. Remove inexpensive decor and add paintings, metals, and rich woods.
Warmth. Make the room feel warm with wall color, a rug, textured fabric, throws and pillows. Use candles and ambient lighting to bring warmth to the space.
Elegance. Create a light and spacious room. Use a few antiques and a symmetrical decor scheme. Worldly pieces from your travels are great to showcase in this room.
Dining Room. The main objective in this room is having good food, being entertained and enjoying the company of family and friends.
Pride. In this room you want buyers to feel the pride they would experience when hosting a dinner party. People usually entertain because they want to show off their lifestyle. Maybe your buyer needs more space to throw parties, like a first-time homebuyer who could never imagine having a dinner party in a studio apartment. Set the table for a party.
Belonging. By having a separate dining room and thinking about what this room will be used for, you get the feeling that you fit in with those who visit and sit with you.
Love. Picture the time the next homeowner will spend in this room with loved ones, and the memories that will be created in the space. You can show love by using color, adding family heirlooms and using lifestyle photos.
[See: 10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast.]
Kitchen. In many cases, the kitchen is the focus of the home. It’s not just a place where food is made, but it’s a place for families to come together. You can cook, do homework, entertain or just hang out in the kitchen.
Inspiration. Be organic. When a buyer sees your kitchen, they should feel inspired to cook. Add a cookbook, sparkling water or fruits on display.
Anticipation. Get buyers to anticipate the amazing smells that can emanate from the kitchen. Display herbs on the countertop or windowsill, and let the aromas fill the room. Or light a food-scented candle like gingerbread, cookie dough or apple cinnamon.
Interest. Since this is the heart of the home, get buyers to take interest in the daily activities that will take place here. Whether it’s getting the family ready for school, organizing schedules over coffee or having a wine tasting, set up these scenes to get buyers interested in life in this home in particular.
Master Bedroom. Your master bedroom should feel like a hotel room. The space should house only a bedroom set and a seating area, if there’s room. Everything else you store in the room normally – a desk, exercise equipment and laundry, for example – should be removed or put away.
Serenity. A place to be at peace, relaxed and mellow. Use tranquil colors like blues, grays or purple. Make sure the room is clean, and use a relaxing smell, like chamomile or lilac. Take a cue from your favorite hotel room.
Luxurious. You want an adult space that has no distractions. The kids’ toys, furniture or other belongings shouldn’t be in this room. Have textured linens and throw pillows, and mix metals like gold and silver in decor to create the feel of luxury. In a bedroom you can show a family photo or two, place a few books on the nightstand, have fresh flowers and allow a perfume or cologne display.
Bathroom. This space should feel like a spa. Aim to make your master bathroom and other baths in the home as relaxing as possible. This is where you may want to consider investing your money and get rid of those pink and blue bathrooms to can look dated.
Calm. To create a calming emotion use earth tones or cool colors. Remove all personal products and bath toys. Bring in spa soaps, bath salts, a few candles, and an orchid. Get a plush rug. Keep the overall look simple.
Clean. Make sure the bathroom is clean and free from dirt, hair and grime. Use white accents to emphasize cleanliness in towels and the shower curtain. Use soothing aromas like citrus cilantro, vanilla or other fragrances you find in a spa.
Overall. The house overall should flow together and get buyers excited, thinking this is their future home.
Gratitude. Buyers will be relieved that their time house hunting hasn't been wasted, and they've been able to find a home that not only offers everything they want emotionally in a home, but they'll be thankful the seller took time to properly prepare the property.
The hardest part of living in a home that’s on the market is constantly being prepared to show the space. The more a seller does in advance to prepare and showcase the home, the faster the property will sell.