The housing market is picking up steam. But what you put in your real estate ad, can mean the difference between going into escrow or having your house sit on the market for months. So here’s some real estate psychology:  

  • For example, Old Dominion University conducted a study to see what could make or break a sale. They had students scroll through pictures of on-the-market homes as a tracking program recorded their eye movements. In some of the homes, the living rooms were painted pink. So would a pink room, something that could be changed with a few cans of paint, make someone less likely to buy a house? Yes. Simply seeing something that needs changing is psychologically off-putting. 

  • When it comes to your real estate listing, choose your words carefully. For a seller, advertising that you've recently painted your house seems like a no-brainer. But in a study that looked at nearly 60,000 real estate deals, listings that mentioned new paint, new carpet or roof work, sold for slightly less than those that didn’t mention it. Why? Because it makes a buyer think the house needs work. 

  • Thomas Thomson is the director of the Real Estate Program at the University of Texas, and he says a listing that hypes new features could set off alarm bells. If a seller says everything is new, a buyer wonders why everything needed to be replaced. Thomson says sellers should take the simpler route: Let potential buyers be surprised by the quality of the home instead of disappointed by how average it is compared with its description. 

  • Another surprising find in real estate psychology: Buyers pay more when the real estate agents are attractive. That’s according to the results of a study from Old Dominion University.  

  • And out-of-state buyers tend to pay more than locals for properties. Brigham Young University researchers found that out-of-towners tended to pay 5-percent more.