Buyers Decide Within 8 Seconds Whether They Are Interested In A Home

Real Estate Agent with REMAX of Joliet

joliet il remax realtorI am a huge fan of Real Estate Agent and Mogul Barbara Corcoran. Barbara is a Real Estate Contributor on NBC's Today show and the wonderful addition to ABC's Shark Tank. Per Barbara:


I'm not surprised by this at all. It's the first impression when walking in and hearing "Wow, this is cute" or "Ugh, what is that smell?" pretty much sums of the next few minutes of the tour of that home.

I always tell my buyers that they will know when they walk in if this is their home or not. If they aren't feeling it within the first 10 seconds, let's move on. They never believe me... AT FIRST. But usually by the 4th house they agree that they know pretty much immediately if they are interested or not when walking in the door.

So buyers pretty much know. Sellers - remember that! That first impression (or at least the first 8 seconds) can decide whether the buyer is interested in your home!

Posted by

LaNita Cates of REMAX Realty of Joliet has been serving the Joliet, Plainfield, Naperville, Crest Hill, Bolingbrook, Shorewood and surrounding areas, helping buyers and sellers with all their real estate needs.

Comments (96)

Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
The Barbara eight seconds sounds about right to me! They know as they enter the door!
May 07, 2012 06:20 PM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi LaNita, you are right!  I have never thought about the specific time duration, but I think 8 seconds is about right.

May 07, 2012 08:12 PM
Suzi Ball Design Intentions LLC


Coulc not agree more on the 8 second!

That is why Home Staging and GREAT MLS photos are so important. You may get a 5 second click on line and if they make it to the property you need a WOW when they drive up curb appeal and another WOW when they walk in the home. You must appeal to all the senses. SMELL and clutter can kill a sale. Even if the "clutter "is expensive decor!

May 07, 2012 09:59 PM

I believe you're right... I was looking for a 2nd home in Connecticut about 4 years ago and as we pulled up to the house with the Realtor, before the car even came to a complete stop I told them: "no, I'm not interested in seeing this house."

I could just tell by house poorly the yard was 'not' taken care of that I would not want to step foot inside the house. My other half said he would go inside with the realtor and just take a quick look while I waited in the car since we'd ask another realtor to meet us there. He quickly came back to tell me I wouldn't want that house - MOLD issues! Go with your 1st instinct.

I was drawn to every house I purchased; I had an emotional connection almost immediately.

May 07, 2012 11:50 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

LaNita:  Saw your post over at Michelle Francis's post and had to come comment.  I think this assessment is spot-on.  Especially for seasoned-buyers.  They intuitively know at a gut level what they are looking for and want.  I think the more we do anything, the more likely that we can winnow-out selections quickly and make quick judgement.  8 seconds??  Boy do sellers need to know this!


May 08, 2012 01:00 AM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTORĀ®

While I can not speak for everyone, I have found this to be so true in my own life. Even when purchasing land, I knew when I drove up... immediately! My thoughts are "unless there is something freaky crazy that I can't see yet, this is it!"

May 08, 2012 01:09 AM
Mike Callahan

As a staging company, we couldn't agree more. Of course we would---but as most responders here seem to concur..first impressions are the key. We struggle with why someone would treat the largest asset so casually? Everything we buy is packaged and marketed to appeal to us as buyers--but so many sellers jut ignore that. Sad. As we say, would you walk into the prom in shorts and t-shirt? Why put your home out there in shorts and flip flops? Quite honestly, when people ignore this critical point they are actually selling the competing properties that are put together to appeal! Great post.

May 08, 2012 01:53 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

If this is true, then why OH WHY do my clients spend 10-20 minutes in a home they DISLIKE? They place furniture and bad-mouth the place all at the same time.  When I try to goose them along, I'm rushing them.  They hate the house and verbally tear it apart.  I just don't get the point in that, nor the time wasted.  I'm going to have to bookmark this for future use.

May 08, 2012 04:53 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Boy, I sure wish I could make life altering decisions in such consice and regimented fashion. Personally it takes a little more than 8 seconds to motivate me to...........................

Get The Check

sign on the dotted line! But thanks for the insight and info.

May 08, 2012 05:16 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

A powerful argument for curb appeal and for staging.  Great post.  Thanks for the info.

May 08, 2012 01:46 PM
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate

'Nuff said!  Sellers take heed but don't take it personally!

May 08, 2012 03:23 PM
Diane M. Phillips Realtor 443-286-4365
Frankly Real Estate Inc. - Manchester, MD
Specializing in Carroll Co., MD

LaNita ~ Very true. I don't think we, as humans, realize all that we take in in seconds. Evaluating people, places and things and their safety or comfort levels happens quickly. Instincts keep us safe if we listen.

May 09, 2012 12:55 AM
Christine Ordze
Royal LePage Benchmark - Calgary, AB
ABR, CCS, ePro

LaNita, that is such a good feeling when I get that response! Just yesterday I showed a home and my buyer didn't say a word, but kept looking at me with the "is this for real!" look. That was awesome!!

Hope we get many more of those!


May 09, 2012 12:59 AM
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

I agree that they decide on the house in the first few seconds and I don't think that you meant the decision to buy or not to buy.  If they are committed, want a home now and will make the offer, they can tell if a house is worth the deteailed inspection in just a few seconds.  Sellers need to be aware that clean and fresh smelling is key.

May 09, 2012 08:09 AM
Kalene Bagwell
Realty Executives Of Kansas City - Blue Springs, MO
Realtor - Selling Blue Springs - Kansas City Metro

Sometimes my buyers are ready to leave so quidkly (because they know they don't like it in 8 seconds)  that I have to ask them to wait for me to walk through quickly so I can leave my card for the seller and give feedback to the listing agent.

May 11, 2012 12:10 AM
Peter Michelbach
International, IT
i Sell Real Estate

LaNita, could this be a reaction and or a call on a subconscious level?...the chemistry...either of past memories....coming 'back home' ....or, top it up with a few extra seconds, for those courageous who burnt the bridges of past, and than ready to marshal towards new horizons?

Like the analogy - thanks for your great post


May 12, 2012 10:32 AM

Been there done that....  I think by personal experience the 8 seconds rule is true!  When we purchased a home in a new city (not licensed in that state), I would tell our agent to keep going when we stop in front of what I call a pancake house (ranch-rambler with low line roof).  Didn't want to have anything to do with that style of home......  Live & learn, one of my requirements was a nice sized dinning room and our agent enticed me to go in one of "those" houses because it had a dining room like what I wanted.....  Long story short, not only did we knew it was the one before getting out of the car (there is a 100+ years old oak in the front yard & and a unique serenity to the lot / street), once we entered the house we were sold in 8 seconds!  By the way I was told about the house before it hit the market & refused to visit it, when we did, it was already active and had to compete and pay above listed price to get it!!!

The home is been a rental for the last 13 yrs, and I currently live in another state on a new home twice the size....  Bought & sold another home in between without even blink.  But I still drive away in tears every time I pass the keys to a new tenant and have to say good bye to my little house.  YES, I KNOW, totally irrational, especially for a Realtor.  It's an emotional decision as much as a financial one.  You gotta' feel the LOVE...

May 14, 2012 08:43 AM
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

LaNita, this is definitely true! Buyers know in less than a minute if they feel comfortable in the house and could make it their own home.

Jun 28, 2012 02:53 AM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Yep. People start forming their opinion the moment they get to the curb and usually have their mind made up when they walk through the door.

Oct 31, 2012 04:09 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

So very true.  Sellers better make sure the landscaping is fresh, front door is painted, and the house has a good first impression (including smell)...or they can forget it.

Mar 05, 2013 01:51 AM