Making a GREAT first impression

In today’s fast moving market, every buyer is comparative shopping.  Make a small investment in time, money and effort in your home will give you a solid advantage over competing properties.  First, be sure to review our "Preparing Your Home to Sell" page to make sure all repairs and maintenance get done prior to putting your house on the market.  Next, it's time to pay attention to the details, because first impressions count with buyers and you have one chance and it starts with curb appeal.

Exterior Appearance

  • Keep lawns cut:  A uncut lawn will make a buyer feel there are other things about the home that are also neglected which could lead to not wanting to see the home.
  • Add some color to brighten up your yard and add curb appeal.  If your gardens are blooming, great!  But if not, try a display of large flower pots. This is the best way to brighten up your yard and enhance that curb appeal.  You can pick up inexpensive pots at a pottery place, K-Mart, Target, Home Depot, or even at a Garage Sale.  These same places carry all types of flowers at reasonable prices.
  • Keep Garage Door closed.  First impressions are important and even though the garage is an important space, it should not have the door left open at anytime.  You also don’t want people to think they should enter through the garage because it is open.



  • Keep a Clean Kitchen.  Clean fridge and stove (inside and out).  Even if the appliances are not included in the sale, they should be clean and in perfect working order.  Odors come from a dirty stove or fridge and can leave a poor first impression.
  • Clean and freshen bathrooms.  Bathrooms should be clean and spotless.  These are rooms that Buyers will pay a lot of attention to and when clean and bright, they will make a great first impression.
  • Clear Kitchen clutter off the counters and stove.  Buyers want to have a kitchen that feels spacious and appears clean and fresh. The stove top should never have items piled on it.  It not only looks like there is not counter space, but also is not a safe practice.
  • Clean porch and foyer.  This is the first thing the buyer will see when entering your home.  Make sure the porch is free of clutter and swept clean of dirt. Be sure there is a door mat to catch dirt before it gets tracked in the house, making it easier to keep the floors clean.  The foyer should be clean and is a good location for a small table with fresh flowers if there is room.


Additional Tips for "Showing Appointments" or “OPEN HOUSE”

  • If possible, keep all pets out of the house.  Pets need to either be out of the home or in a crate when the home is shown or an Open House is planned.  Even the best pet can have an off day or be afraid of strangers in their home, and many buyers may be afraid of certain pets.
  • Add some fresh flowers in a vase.  Colorful fresh flowers add warmth to a room, or even freshly cut greens from your yard can make a big difference.
  • Make all the rooms in your house smell good.  If you don’t like to bake fresh cookies, just add a cinnamon stick to water and put it in the oven on low for a nice smell or a scented candle always adds a nice aroma.
  • Create as much light as possible.  Open all blinds and curtains.  The brighter the home the better.  Windows should be clean, blinds and curtains open, and lights on when needed.
  • Add fresh towels to the bathrooms.  New fresh towels and even small soaps in a soap dish add a lot to the bathrooms.
  • Turn off all TV’s computers, etc.   They tend to take away the attention of the buyer.
  • Add a little music softly in the background.  Soft music can add relaxation to the buyers mood as they go through the home.


One Last Bit of Advice

Never hold an Open House alone.  You are allowing strangers into your home and it is better to have another person with you.  This person should be another adult, not a child.   Also have a cell phone with you at all times if possible and an auto dial button for 911.  When showing the home, always have the buyer enter the room ahead of you so that the exit is never blocked.  If there is a basement in the home, have the lights on and have the buyer go ahead of you, again always leaving the exit open for you if needed.  An Open House can be on any day, not just week-ends, but should always be during the day, with hours that end before dark.