As a seller, you may wonder what a buyer first thinks when they see your home. Does it compare well to others they have looked at? Are there things that stand out about your property? Are there obstacles in their viewing experience that might affect whether they will make an offer? First impressions count so what exactly do buyers notice first?
According to a recent survey of buyers, there are some top things that they notice first, both good and bad, about properties they go to see. Knowing these issues may help your house make the first impression that you hope for.
The curbside view
- Buyers say they already start to form an opinion about a property the moment they drive up. If the home is in need of paint it can send a message that the home is not well maintained or cared about. It translates to the buyer a question that if you don’t care about the exterior, what else has gone by the wayside? How unkempt is the interior? The buyers are already on edge that they are walking into a home that will require work, cleaning and maintenance.
- No color or pizazz in your front yard by way of some clever use of flowers or shrubbery can create a very bland appearance to buyers. They don’t judge this against the home necessarily, but it puts your home on their “blaa” list, which does not stand out in their mind as a must-buy. Something as simple as adding a couple of flowering shrubs or perennials can create that connection to the buyer who is looking to be drawn in and welcomed by a home.
Entering the castle
- When a buyer enters a home they are struck right away with either a good, excited feeling, an uncertain if this will get any better feeling, or a “I’m secretly counting the moment until this over” feeling. You, as a seller, want buyers to experience the first of these. Buyers say that often the first thing they see when they enter a home is whatever the homeowner has left or piled by the door. Excess shoes, dog leashes, coats and old sweatshirts are noticed by buyers and give the impression of clutter and lack of space in the home. This may or may not be the actual case when it comes to your home’s space, but clutter makes buyers think there is no storage space or even enough room for all your coats.
- The next thing a buyer will notice is how your house smells. Yes, it is true. If you have pets, smoke or just cooked up a nice fish-fry in your kitchen you may not notice it like someone stepping into your home for the first time. You want to make sure buyers smell nothing unpleasant upon entering and welcoming scents like from fresh baked cinnamon rolls on the counter are in the air to make it feel and smell like home.
- Dirty bathrooms are big on the list of things buyer notice and which quite frankly, gross them out. Any mold or grime in the tub, toilet or sink sends buyers out the door squirming. And if your bathroom is outdated and in need of repairs, nothing highlights this more than not being freshly cleaned. It is a sad fact that a new, impressive spa bathroom can get away with much more dirt that a small old outdated bath.
- Unmade beds speak for themselves. Buyers already feel a little odd peaking around a stranger’s home. They do not feel comfortable seeing your sheets crumpled up and bed looking like you might still be in it. There is a reason everyone was taught to do this years ago. Your mother would tell you, it is how anyone who does not sleep in that room should be allowed to view it.
The final comfort killer that buyers note is the homeowner being present during the showing. It is best not to be around, making a sandwich or sitting as a family, awkwardly together on the sofa as buyers go through. You want them to see your home as potentially theirs and they can not begin to do this with the present homeowner facing them eye to eye.
Before each showing, think about what you might see and notice as a buyer when first entering your home. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and try to make it the most welcoming experience of their day.