Conventional wisdom tells us that seven seconds is all it takes to make a first impression. When it comes to selling your home, you want those seven seconds to form an irresistible first impression in the minds of potential buyers and their agents.
Irresistible first impressions don’t just happen. They are created with concentrated preparation time and work before you invite buyers and agents to see your house. Here are some tips to help put your best house forward in a crowded, highly competitive residential real estate market.
Potential buyers come to your house with new eyes, eyes that have never before seen your house. Those new eyes will immediately notice whether or not you’ve loved and cared for your house before they’ve even gotten out of their cars. Therefore,
- Clear all kids’/your toys, bikes, equipment from the front yard.
- Cut and make green the grass.
- Prune all overgrown/wilted plants and tree branches.
- Make sure any wood rot, stucco cracks and chipped paint are fixed.
- Clean and/or replace the gutters and drains.
Now that they’re out of their cars and walking up to your house, make sure the front entrance door and its hardware are sparkling clean and don’t squeak. (You may have to replace all or part of that entrance door to make it as welcoming, and quiet, as possible.)
Once inside, new eyes will notice every single detail of every single space in your house from top to bottom. Therefore,
- Get rid of all clutter. By clutter, I mean anything including family photos that may distract buyers from falling in love with, potentially, their next house, currently yours.
- Clean everything including the cat’s litter box.
- Make kitchen appliances shine.
- Fix/fill all scuff marks, nail holes and paint cracks on the walls.
- Banish stinky sportsgear.
- Remove ⅓ of what’s in your closets and customize/organize the rest. Potential buyers will open those closet doors.
- Repair/replace any cracked/marred flooring and add new baseboards if the old ones have seen better days.
Kitchens sell houses.
- Make sure your kitchen sparkles.
- Make sure all the appliances sparkle and work.
- Make the finishes on the appliances consistent, ie. all stainless or all white.
- Make sure the cabinets are clean and well organized inside and out.
- Update cabinet hardware.
- Make sure nothing squeaks.
Bathrooms seal the deal.
- Consider new plumbing and lighting fixtures.
- Replace the toilet seat and shower head.
- Caulk, re-grout and/or steam clean the tile/shower/tub.
If you have a pool, make sure it too is sparkling clean and that any cracks/leaks/water systems have been repaired. Pay attention to outside furniture/landscaping...again, make it all sparkling, uncluttered and well pruned.
The bones of the house, all the necessities we cannot see such as the air conditioning/heat systems, water heater, pipes, electrical panels, wi-fi systems, etc. factor into the financing and insurability of the house. The bones must be whole and functional.
Last but not least, make sure your house is priced correctly. Priced too high, you’ll be sitting on and paying for housing costs longer than you’d liked. Paying those housing costs automatically reduces what you pocket from an eventual sale. Let comparable sale prices for houses in your area and the agent you select to represent you be your guides to the “right” price that will draw the widest range of buyers to your home, and enable you to get the highest possible price!
It will take time, work and money to create an irresistible first impression of your home. But, remember, first impressions are the only impressions that matter. Make your home’s first impression a lasting one!