How long does it take the average house-hunter to decide to buy a home?

The answer is a shockingly short amount of time!

You've nosed around on Zoopla and Rightmove and decided this place is worth a look! An appointment is made, you turn up, and the countdown begins... but how long do you think it takes the average homeowner to decide they want to move in?

Why you should buy: 5 important reasons why buying a house makes more financial sense than renting

stone wall house with brown roof white windows and plants in yard

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

Well according to a new study, the answer is eight minutes. Yep, in just 480 seconds, a buyer will know whether they'll be signing on the dotted line or giving the place a big thumbs down. Less than ten minutes to make one of the biggest purchasing decisions of our lives? Who knew we were so impulsive? Or should that be decisive?

Even more surprisingly, six in 10 potential purchasers will rule a property out before they walk through the front door. They'll get cold feet after spending an average of four-and-a-half minutes of hovering outside. Food for thought if you're trying to sell and you've forgotten to hide the wheelie bins or mow the front lawn.

stone wall house with blue and cream coloured door white windows and plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Keith Henderson)

On the other hand, 15 per cent of those asked said it was love at first sight and that they knew they were going to buy the house even before they stepped inside. And a surprisingly large 18 per cent bought the very first place they viewed. Most of us are a bit more picky, though. On average, we'll look a 40 other properties – 28 online and 10 in real life – before settling on 'the one'.

Conducted by Foxtons and carried out by OnePoll, the survey also reveals a few irritations house buyers have. One of the biggest is that the profiles listed online or in the estate agent's window don't match up to the property when they see it in the flesh. More than 75 per cent listed that as a bug bear.

Foxtons also put together a list of the things most likely to put us off buying a property, and these are the top ten.

10. Peeling or dirty paint on the walls
9. A shared driveway
8. The gardens/house are overlooked
7. Too many fast food shops on the same road
6. The smell of smoke
5. Awkward layouts
4. Cracks in the walls
3. Discovering the house is on a main road
2. Obvious damp patche
1. A busy road with lots of parked cars

Related: 10 things that will put off buyers when you're selling a house

'House-hunters are understandably particular when it comes to buying a new property – as they should be over one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make,' says a spokesperson for Foxtons. 'Listings are crucial to a home selling quickly – they need to be accurate detailed representations of a property.'

Foxtons also thinks the way we hunt for a new home is changing. 'The need to physically visit a property will remain strong for the foreseeable future, but new technologies such as 3D virtual tours are making it possible to view interiors and exteriors in much greater detail, helping house-hunters to narrow their property search quickly and efficiently.'

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.