A study using ‘eye-tracking’ technology has revealed what prospective buyers pay most attention to during viewings and shows critical differences between male and female viewers.
The study, for Anglian Home Improvements, involved viewers agreeing to wear spectacles that tracked their eye movements, recording what they looked at, what things disrupted their natural eye movements, and what they lingered on.
Some 27 per cent of the viewers’ focus was spent on furnishings, 24 per cent on looking personal effects and clutter, with just four per cent given over to the layout of the property.
Personal effects and clutter were most distracting for female viewers, who spent 28 per cent of their viewing time focusing on them, compared to 20 per cent for male buyers.
The company claims that the results show that even when potential buyers did not mention clutter or mess to agents in their post-viewing feedback, their eyes were repeatedly drawn to it when panning a room.
Overall, men spent more time than women looking at the structure and features of the grounds and building (32 per cent compared to 22 per cent), while women focused more on the personal elements such as decoration and furnishings.
Personal items constantly drew the participants' gaze. “Photos were a big element of this - the data showed that house hunters often made eye contact with specific photographs, which distracted the viewers from other elements of the room” says a statement from the company.
Repairs or structural features made up just four per cent of participants’ viewing behaviors. This included checking door frames, sliding doors or light switches.
Looking at exterior features and the garden accounted for 22 per cent of the participants’ focus, with 17 per cent of time spent looking outside through the windows.