large brick home with nice front yard for a great first impression.

First impressions are everything. As potential buyers are approaching your house they are already forming opinions. Opinions that matter.  That first impression can make or break the sale. So how to make the best first impression?

A bad first impression is sometimes all it takes for a buyer to avoid looking inside a house altogether. I’ve found that many buyers do drive by’s before they decide whether or not to schedule a showing. If you can’t get showings scheduled you won’t sell your house. 

It starts on line, on the internet, where your potential buyers search for homes and that’s the first opportunity you have to wow them. The chance to entice them to get into their vehicles and drive by your For Sale By Owner.  If they like what they see the next step is to call their agent, or better yet, call you directly and avoid those hefty commissions.

We’ve talked about pictures before and we’ve talked about getting your house ready for market a lot. 

Take pictures on a bright day with the sun overhead or slightly to your back to avoid glare. Get the angle that best represents your home and gives it the largest appearance which is generally not a full head on photo. A slight angle will give the impression of a larger home. 

Here we come in with the camera closer to ground level and at a slight angle to more fill the area and make the home appear larger. Without wasting valuable space we can still fit all the exterior features in, like catching the edge of the 3rd car garage and showing the yard is fenced. Think of pictures not only as pretty things but also information.  Certainly the more information you can fit in the frame the better.

Suburban with yard that makes a great first impression

Make sure the yard is clean, neat, trimmed, mowed and beautiful. That includes bushes, trees and the grass. Make sure all walk ways are clear. There should never be bushes, trees or any other plant life obscuring the view from the street. Sometimes this means taking some bold steps if you’ve lived in your house for awhile and there is overgrown greenery. 

You may love your pink flamingos and your yard sports paraphernalia but your buyers may not. In fact best if you take down all personal yard ornaments and take them to your new house. Depersonalize the yard the same way you do the rest of the house. You never want to risk offending someone so best if everything is left neutral and un-opinionated.

Pink Flamingos that should be reomved from the yard to create good first impression

Buyers spend time in the entryway, at the front door so be sure to impress them.

As home shoppers are walking up to your home they get the first close up impression. Make sure it’s a good one. The sidewalks should be swept clean. In the winter make sure no ice is present.

Any furniture on the front porch should be clean and in good repair. If you smoke on your front porch never ever ever leave ashtrays out. Potted plants are a nice touch in the spring and summer. Maybe some colorful mums in the fall. 

If the front door needs painting, paint it. The door knob should look nice and function properly. There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of clients standing behind me while I struggle getting a front door open. Definitely not a good first impression. Clean out all the cobwebs, dirt and dust from around the front porch and entry area. If you really want to go all out power wash.

Just remember that first impressions are no joke. Often my clients look online and make lists of homes they want to see. Then they drive by and narrow down the list by what they see from the street. Don’t let your house be one of those that gets crossed off the list.

This is the same sort of information I give to clients during “listing presentations”. I give people a list of improvements they can make and things that can be done to bring in a higher price. Then they do them (hopefully). Why not just cut out the middleman and save yourself thousands of dollars.


DIY Real Estate

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