Enjoy an excerpt from our book, “Moving Forward – 25 Essential Rules For Buying & Selling Real Estate Without Going Crazy."
Rule number 12 – First Impression is everything.
This rule is right up there with bad breath on a first date.
Nothing is harder to overcome than a bad first impression. How does your entrance look? What kind of art is on the walls, and will it appeal to 99% of buyers and not just you? Work to manage the first impression and emphasize the positives. If the front door is older or outdated and the paint is chipped, put on a fresh coat of paint and plant simple flowers to brighten it up. Stay away from ornate furniture, fake flowers, or tables in the entrance, and instead create a calm and peaceful space. The first impression lingers, and carries through to the next room.
Don’t discount the impression your pets make. In fact, some people hate animals or the fact that the home was subject to animal odour or wear. Pets shouldn’t be around and neither should their beds, toys, or photos. What if your buyer is allergic to animals? Find a way to keep the animals out of the picture during a showing.
You would be amazed at what showing agents encounter every year. There’s always that home seller who leaves the beds unmade, leaves the dogs or cats out (even when a buyer could be allergic or have a very negative opinion of cats or dogs), or leaves some other unpleasant visible display.
A dirty kitchen, unmade beds, animal smells, and bills and clutter are the worst offenses. If you leave bills out, it immediately triggers a memory about a bill that’s unpaid. Don’t make the buyer think of their own problems. Clean up your space and help the buyer see joy and peace instead of chaos and mess.
It might seem silly, but the first impression really is hard to overcome. Buyers see a house in minutes, and often have too many to see to dwell on the first impression. They are seeking to get in and out fast, and create a short list. Make sure you end up on the short list.
When a house starts out with a negative it usually cascades from there. Make sure there’s nothing that would cause buyers to say, “let’s not even get out of the car—let’s just go to the next home” like dead plants, rotted wood hanging, or an ugly front door.
The knee-jerk reaction of the buyer is that, hey, this person really doesn’t care about the outside, so they must not care much about the inside or even the mechanical condition of this home. The impression, “what else is wrong here?” is a difficult thought process to overturn, and makes it nearly impossible for the agent to redirect their buyers into writing an offer that would reflect a fair market value.
Even the smallest home makeover can do wonders for the first impression.
Selling your home? Enjoy the journey!