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10 things buyers really look for in online listings

With thousands of online listings out there, how can you stand out from the crowd? Strike used eye-tracking software to see what buyers are really looking at, so you can make your listing count.


To improve the chance of selling your home quickly, your online listing is crucial. Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, but what exactly are buyers looking for when browsing through properties? What really catches their eye? 

To find out, we conducted research using eye-tracking technology to identify exactly what attracts a buyer’s attention while scrolling through online listings — and how to make your listing stand out.

Based on the findings, we’ve pulled together a list of top tips on how to increase interest in your property and maximise the impact of your listing — look out for the red dots on the images, which show where the users' eyes were drawn!

1. Neutral backdrops create a blank slate

Our study found that buyers often find it very difficult to separate rooms from the furniture and decorations in them — you can see how their eyes were drawn to bold prints. So giving them a blank slate can help. If the furnishings go drastically against the buyers’ tastes or expectations, buyers may still reject the home — a  wasted opportunity for both the seller and buyer. 

To combat this, it’s best to keep your décor simple. You may love a bright shade of orange as an accent wall or a statement lamp, but other people might not. Whilst you may get lucky, generally, less is more when it comes to decorating for selling.

2. Make use of contrast and add flashes of colour 

While décor should not be overly loud, the research revealed that contrast is very efficient in drawing the eye. This can be contrasting colours, textures or unusual objects. People’s eyes naturally pick up visual differences quickly, especially colour — so a little pop can make a big difference.

If you're redecorating before selling your home, consider including some elements of contrast. This shouldn’t be over-the-top or outrageous, but try pairing light and dark colours, and mix in different textures.  

If you’re not redecorating, try and include something striking (see what we did there?) — even something as simple as a vase of lovely flowers to help catch the eye and make your home more memorable.

3. Don’t add unnecessary images 

Images are an important part of the listing, but having too many pictures of the same room on your listing can be a turn off for potential buyers. Viewers typically want to be able to scan through images quickly —  so having lots of unnecessary extra photos can put people off.

4. Personal touches are important, but less is more 

People are drawn to faces in home searches, just like anywhere else! In the study, participants’ eyes were continually caught by photographs of the homeowners and their families.

Make sure you have a handful of photos around the house, so the viewers can have a sense of what makes this house a home.

But with personal touches, it’s all about moderation. Too many pictures and personal effects make it harder for buyers to picture themselves living there, so make sure there’s room for them to imagine the home as their own.

5. Think carefully about how much text you include 

Naturally, you want to write about everything you love about your property, but make sure that you don’t include too much information. There’s a line between making your description informative — and being so thorough it’s overwhelming.

Buyers faced with huge blocks of text are likely to be put off and might miss crucial details. Be concise with your description — you can even use bullet points to make your key features stand out.

6. Keep rooms free of clutter to show off the size 

This is especially important to bear in mind with online viewings and website listings. House buyers want to be able to easily and quickly understand the size of the rooms — cluttered rooms look smaller than they really are, which can turn viewers off.  

Our research participants always noticed clutter and quickly moved on with a negative impression. 

Make sure that the rooms are shown off at their best — you can even test different lightings and camera angles to show off the available space. 

In our study, people were really put off by poor quality images and quickly moved on."

7. Pay attention to your 'featured image'

Make the first image count. The study found that participants were very unlikely to interact further with a listing if they weren’t impressed with the main image, so make sure you put your best foot forward with a well-lit and attractive picture to reel in viewers. After all, just like with in-person viewings, first impressions can make a big difference!

8. Include a useful floorplan

Without being able to walk around the house, buyers use floorplans to understand the space and layout of the property. Buyers often seek them out quickly after arriving on a listing, so make sure to have a floorplan uploaded. 

Our study participants were disappointed if they weren’t available and often moved on as they weren’t able to visualise the space.

9. Only use high-quality images

Lower resolution and blurry images lower a buyer’s perceptions of a property. If images are substandard, they may view the home as substandard well.

In our study, people were really put off by poor quality images and quickly moved on. No matter how gorgeous your home is, buyers need to be able to see it to appreciate it.

10. Local information is important — but your property should be the focus

People want to know where the property is in relation to local features and amenities, so it’s worth including a bit of information about the area.  

Maps are really helpful, as well as distances to key attractions, transport facilities and schools. But remember, your property is what the listing is all about — so local information should play more of a supporting role.

Browsing online is a vital part of buying a home — so you want your listing to make a splash. Understanding what customers are looking for — and what puts them off — can be the key to making your home stand out from the crowd.

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