First Impressions Count: How to Increase your Home’s Appeal

Much like a first date or job interview, that first impression you offer to others can make all the difference in the world. The same rule applies to your home. If you want potential buyers to get past the curb and across the threshold, there are a few hard and fast rules to which you must adhere. Staging your home for a fast sale may seem overwhelming, but it really just takes a few simple steps to give it that “WOW” factor.

Consider the exterior of your home. Approach it like it is your outdoor living room. If your yard looks attractive, potential buyers will see that as a reflection of the interior of the home. Your lawn may need a bit of dressing up first, and you can do this by keeping the grass freshly mowed and remove any clutter in the yard. Be sure to weed the yard and install fresh mulch to all flower beds.

Loose door handles anywhere? Tighten them up and be sure to clean all of the windows while you are at it. It is also a good idea to power wash the exterior of your home and make sure all gutters and downspouts are well attached and fully functioning. If you have a wooden fence, be sure to apply a fresh coat of paint or stain to liven it up.

Approach your front door as if you are a potential buyer. Does it look a bit pale, drab and unappealing? Consider a fresh paint job. Be sure to place a ‘Welcome' mat at the door, too, as well as a few pretty potted plants near the door. Consider this the makeup for the entryway.

Take a hard look inside your home now. You may want to rearrange furniture in certain rooms or even temporarily remove some and place it in storage. The idea is to make the rooms appear larger and flow easily.

You may want to roll up your sleeves for this next part. It's tedious, but important. Clean and organize all cabinets, closest and bookshelves. Also clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans and other fixtures you may routinely overlook during regular cleanings. Think: Drastic spring cleaning here!

Other action items to consider include cleaning or painting walls and ceilings; fixing or repairing discolored grout; replacing broken tiles and worn countertops, shampoo carpets, and remove excessive and unnecessary wall hangings and various knick-knacks (a/k/a “clutter!”). If you have been putting off any minor repairs (torn screens, cracked caulking, sticking doors, etc.) around your home, now is the time to attack those projects.

When it's time for that exciting showing, turn on all the lights; open the drapes and shutters in the day time; ensure any pets are secured outside; invest in new towels for the bathrooms and new bedding for the beds; and replace outdated lamps/lampshades. You can add a bit of subtle ambiance by playing quiet music in the background, lighting the fireplace or at least cleaning out the ashes; infuse the home with a light and comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla and set the dining room table as if you were expecting to host a fancy dinner party.

In short, you want to present your home so the potential new owners can envision what it will look like when THEY live there. Don't give it your personality; instead, stage it to speak to the buyer. They want to visualize how they will use the space, not how you use it.

And finally, be sure to leave the property while it is being shown!

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