First impressions are everything. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked in with a buyer and they are sold on the first impression. I can tell it when their eyes light up, their face shines, breathing becomes short, and a hand reaches up to catch their breath. Buyers will look around in amazement, noticing all the awesome features in the home they love, and often overlooking minor issues they would otherwise see. Many people say “We knew this was the home the moment we walked in the front door!”
As a home seller in central Oklahoma, how do you get buyer’s jaws to drop when they walk into YOUR home?
It all starts before they even walk into the home. Curb appeal cannot be underestimated. Some homes have it, many do not. You can improve the curb appeal of your home with a few simple steps:
Mow Your Yard
Pretend you are competing for “Yard of the Month” in your neighborhood. Mow the yard, then mow it again, and mow it again. You cannot mow your yard too much. Everyone can tell if you ignore your yard for two weeks and then mow it the day before a showing. The grass is not neat and close cropped, grass clippings are left piled in the yard, and the trim around hedgerows, sidewalks and fences is often not neat and tidy. Mow and trim your yard every 3-5 days before it goes on the market, and then the same while it is listed. Keep it watered, trimmed and neat. The extra work shows the buyer that you care about your yard and most likely have taken good care of your home.
Flowers can add color to a plain yard and really make it stand out. Pick colorful annuals and plant them around your front porch, sidewalk, and any available flowerbeds. If you don’t have flowerbeds and don’t want to build them, then just buy a few pots to hold the flowers. Place these strategically around your front door and entryway to brighten up and create a great first impression. Don’t forget to water!
Clean Light Fixtures
Outdoor light fixtures attract all kinds of bugs and over time can become filled with dead bugs. Grab some gloves and a small step ladder and get to cleaning. Remove the light fixtures and wash them in soap and water to remove dust and bug remains. Be sure to dry them before reinstallation – water and electricity don’t mix! Now is the time to replace light bulbs with low cost CFL or LED bulbs that last longer and run cooler than incandescent bulbs. Be sure and match the color temperature of all your outdoor bulbs so you don’t have some “white” bulbs mixed with “yellow” bulbs. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin – about 2,800 kelvin is a warm yellowish bulb and mimics incandescent bulbs. A 5,400 kelvin bulb mimics daylight.
Add Some Paint
A fresh coat of outdoor paint on your front entryway will do wonders for first impressions. Clean and scrape around the door and windows, break out the drop cloth and brushes, and spend an afternoon freshening up your entryway. Paint is cheap and most anyone can paint a front entryway. Just be careful with unsightly drips and splatters on your brick and sidewalk.
Wash the Windows and Sidewalk
Homeowners oftentimes enter and leave their home through the garage and don’t notice dust and dirt on their front door or windows. Run to Home Depot or Lowe’s and get a squeegee, fill a bucket full of hot water and soap, and spent a half hour cleaning windows. Pull the screens if you have any and spray them with a water hose to clean the dust. Rent or borrow a power washer and really scrub your front entryway and sidewalk. Over time they can become stained with dirt and grime that you might not notice, but a new buyer will notice immediately.
Ask Your Realtor for Advice
When I first walk into your home, I am normally seeing it for the first time just like a new buyer. I will provide advice on cleaning and preparing your home. If you ask a friend or family member, they may not notice the dust or peeling paint, or be embarrassed to mention it to you. But a good Realtor is not afraid to provide feedback on how to prepare your home to make the best first impression. Follow my advice and improve your chances of a quick, profitable sale!