When Selling a Home First Impressions Are Everything

April 12th, 2013

home interior

When selling a home first impressions are everything? We all love pictures, graphics and colors. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. We would rather watch a video blog than read six paragraphs of text. Visual should be emphasized over text detail. When we shop for a car, we spend most of our time looking at the pictures first. Then we think about and research details, engines, performance, etc. If we like the way a car looks and we feel we look good in a car, that is far more than half the battle in selling the car. It is the same thing with real estate! I think the visual appeal of real estate is misunderstood and underemphasized. We look at the pictures first, and if we get through all the pictures, then we read some details.

Eye-catching photos

There was a Wall Street Journal article called “20 Seconds For Love At First Sight”. It talked about the importance of the very first picture a homebuyer sees of a house for sale. The article shows first impressions seem to matter most when it comes to dating, job interviews…and surprisingly real-estate listings. It went on to say, “Without an eye-catching photo the battle is lost before it begins. You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.”

Some interesting points from the article are:

Researchers tracked the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings. They found that more than 95% of users viewed the first photo for a total of 20 seconds. This is the one that usually shows the exterior of the home. After that, their eyes tended to flit all over the screen.

Following the home exterior photo, 76% of participants viewed the property description second. This has things like the size and number of bedrooms/bathrooms.

Real-estate agents’ remarks, which can be a turnoff if they contain all-capital text, hyped-up adjectives and brand names, were the most overlooked. 41.5% of home buyers didn’t view them at all.

When viewing an online real estate listing, home buyers spend about 60% of their time on photos, 20% on the property description and 20% on the real-estate agents’ remarks section.


My advice when selling your home and putting your listing online is to have your Realtor make the first picture large, eye catching, and colorful. Keep comments and text to a minimum. If possible, you should even include a short video. If they like the look of your house, they’ll call or go and see it to get more details.

Brian Martucci is a loan officer for Capital Bank Home Loans, a division of Capital Bank, N.A. He has been in the mortgage industry since 1986 and has served in a number of roles, including loan processor, loan officer, mortgage broker, branch manager, and vice president. Brian Martucci – NMLS# 185421. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Capital Bank Home Loans or Capital Bank. Capital Bank, N.A.- NMLS# 401599. Click here for the Capital Bank, N.A. “Privacy Policy”.

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