Forty percent of people buying new homes have already decided on the property before they get to the hallway, research shows.
Almost 30% of home owners polled by the property search website Rightmove said they had determined to purchase the home before entering the front door.
Eight percent said they had decided on the home when they saw it online, and 4% said the decision was made when they saw it in a newspaper ad. The results also pertain to people looking for retirement properties for sale.
Similar results were shown among renters, the researchers said, with 42% of tenants reporting they had decided to rent the property before going through the front entrance.
The poll results follow the British Bankers' Association report that June's mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level in nearly 15 years.
The drop in the number of home buyers could depress property prices in the months ahead, while banks and other lenders write stricter borrowing criteria in the current unsteady economy.
"In a market where new sellers outnumber successful buyers by around 2:1 and home-buying decisions can be made very quickly, the ability to make an immediate and impactful impression is more important than ever," Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.