People make up their minds minutes – if not, seconds – after meeting someone new.
Guess what: this is no different when it comes to selling a house.
In fact, first impressions last a lot longer when viewing a house than meeting people.
Most home buyers are already sizing up your house when they first see it online and then they make the decision whether to investigate it further, or not.
Somewhat puts things in perspective how important those listing photos really are: you could almost refer to them as your home’s first buyer viewing!
Following that ‘first viewing experience’, you, as the home seller, better make sure these interested buyers get a fantastic first impression in person when they physically come view the property next.
Here are a number of ways the home seller could improve the odds in his favor:
Focus on curb appeal
You wouldn’t wear yesterday’s clothes out on a first date, so why would you want to do the same to your house?
The first impression of the house originates from the exterior, which is why it is important that you make it look amazing.
In other words:
— Get rid of all the peeling paint on the exterior of the house (your wife’s been asking you to do that for years, perhaps you ought to listen to her now).
— Remove all the dead flowers in the garden.
— Clear away any type of lawn clutter.
— Put some bright flowers at the entrance to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere as people enter the home.
And, there’s no more excuse to have dirty windows anywhere!
Ask yourself whether or not you would want to buy the house if the roles were reversed.
Get rid of your own stuff
Now we go to the interior of the house.
Moving is difficult and you might not get rid of everything immediately, but any personal items should be packed away.
The main goal is for the buyers to envision themselves living there, so preferably all personal traces of you have to go (i.e. drastically reduce the amount of family photos hanging throughout the house).
Having said that, do try to find a balance: keep furniture pieces around that complement the rooms and don’t get rid of the decorations, which might make the house feel too ‘sterile’ and empty.
And we know what it’s like to sell an empty house!
Fix the broken stuff
This should be an obvious one, but you might have forgotten about (read: gotten used to) the broken light in the bedroom, leaking faucet in the guest bathroom, etc.
And of course, these will be the things that buyers will notice immediately.
— Check for any leaks throughout the house and fix it to prevent the image of lousy maintenance.
— Repair any loose door handles or cabinet hinges.
— Replace every single light bulb that doesn’t work. You need to, not only, meet BUT exceed the buyer’s expectations of the house!
You wouldn’t buy something that is broken, so don’t let your buyer lose track of the number of items which need attention at your house.
Plan a small makeover
You might not be able to do major renovations before your house goes on sale, but you can plan a small makeover that packs the punch.
A smart kitchen renovation and/or bathroom upgrade tend to be the more popular ones people focus on, without really the need to spend a lot of money on doing so.
If you have carpets, you need to ensure that they are cleaned properly by a professional company –especially in high traffic areas. Perhaps, you might opt to retile the floors of the bathroom and kitchen.
Appeal to all the sense
People don’t just take in the house’s visual image, but home buyers want to feel like they are at home already.
So, what’s wrong with a little focus on all senses? Maybe you ought to play soft music during showings or purchase a nice water feature if you live in a noisy area.
Soft throws and textured fabrics will really lend a warm atmosphere to any room.
Or you can rely on a classic ‘trick’ of brewing coffee or baking fresh cookies to give your home a lovely smell.
On a final note, please don’t clean your house excessively on the day of the open house. Harsh chemicals are never a pleasing smell during a viewing, so rather focus on that the day before!
About the author: The above article “5 Ways to Make an Awesome First Impression on Home Buyers” was written by Xavier De Buck, your Johannesburg (South Africa) real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.