The next chapter of a buyer’s story: will it happen here?
In 30 seconds, and often less, a buyer’s mind organizes the random and distills it into meaning. The first 30 seconds inside a home are an assault on the buyer’s five senses:
How does it look?
How does it smell?
How is the sound level?
(Hands running along a knurled bannister) How does it feel?
And yes… can they actually taste it?
Aristotle, Aeschylus, Euripides and their fellow Ancient Greeks often wrote in a strange fashion called “the middle voice”. The middle voice was a reflexive tense where the subject acted on or for itself. It’s confusing to translate into the modern because as modern people we live in an active or past-tense world. Our modern brains are trained to think only-past or only-future. One of the great crimes of the internet and social media is that we are so rarely “in the moment” a way of saying we are rarely able to stay present.
But “the middle” is disruptive. The “middle” is what a buyer experiences in tasting their next home.
They are participating in being acted upon.
When that happens, that’s a buyer’s imagination showing up.
The more verbose might say something like “I’m enraptured.” The wise will say “the house buys you”, which is impossible of course, because the house is inanimate and yet is associated as being able to partake in an active tense upon an object. Our modern brain, our neocortex, and indeed physics and biology say “the house cannot (verb)”.
Yet buyers insist: “the houses can (verb)”!
Buyers who are rendered mostly speechless may simply let down their guard and let their whole body speak, usually with a simple statement like “okay” which is more of an exhale than a stand-alone, one-word sentence.
Ever wonder why “great houses” have a mostly useless space called an entry or foyer? Their “greatness” comes from the kindness that house extends upon it’s guests, allowing them to compute and metabolize their entry experience. This is ludicrous, no? Saying that a house is capable of kindness echoes buyer sentiments that say that the house is capable of action… and even planned action like strategic kindness! But what are buyers really saying when they think or say:
“This IS what I imagined”
“I can entertain, here”
“I can do Tuesday, here”
“The living room is perfect. That’s going to be my dining room. I’m anxious to see that kitchen….”
When this degree of positive action happens, the buyer’s mind is preparing to make a decision. They’re ready to change and put to death their old identity as “home-buyer” and take on the new identity of “homeowner”.
Home-buying is a meta-experience. What separates a house from a home is the emotional, psychological, spiritual experience of a consumer.
As a seller, you have the obligation to enter the imagination-space of the buyer.
Where will a buyer be in your home in the first 30 seconds? What must they traverse to get to that best selling feature? If your kitchen is awesome, but your entry is lame, they won’t get to the kitchen and pump their fist saying “yes!”. They will get to the kitchen and say “well, the kitchen is nice.” That kind of statement just dismissed that $50,000 kitchen. A painfully expensive improvement has been squandered because 80’s oak stairwell posts were not upgraded to wrought iron or a dated brass chandelier is still dangling from the ceiling.
Think of a crescendo of actions, a surfer catching a wave. The first 30 seconds is the home sellers’ chance to playfully engage with their future homeowner.
- A series of dominos have to fall for a buyer to change their identity from home-buyer to a homeowner:
- The home has to appeal online.
- The home has to demonstrate “stuff” that appeals and gets their attention.
- The neighborhood has to participate in communicating an idea or sensation of place.
- This must be done in concert with the first impression of the house from the curb.
- Finally, all five senses have to come alive and turn on when they enter the house. Ideally, imagination is lit like a Roman Candle within 10 to 15 seconds.
Do that, and a seller wins.
A seller has one chance to keep that buyer on the rails. Make the very most of it.