First Impressions

You have only seconds to make a great first impression on your potential home buyers and their agents, so staging the exterior of your home to receive that result is a wise use of time and, perhaps, a little money.  

Stand across the street from your home and look at it as a buyer would.  Is your lawn green and neatly trimmed, or sprouting a patch of weeds?  Does your front walk need a clean sweep?  How is the paint on your front door?  Make a note of everything you see through a buyer's eye.

Now, follow these staging tips for a positive first impression!

  1. If grass (or other green things) are growing between sections of your driveway or front walk, spray it with a weedkiller and pull it out.
  2. Sweep your walk and front porch, and make sure they are kept clear of leaves or snow while your home is on the market.
  3. Trim your shrubbery and pull any weeds from flower beds.  Add a new coat of dark-colored mulch for more pop in photos.
  4. Remove any cobwebs hanging around.
  5. Touch up the trim around your windows and front doors if it is needed. Don't forget the shutters if you have them!
  6. Repaint your front door, or replace it if it is in really bad condition.  )In the last two years of the Cost vs. Remodeling Report, a new steel entry door had the top return on investment nationally.)  Look for a good contrasting color to the home exterior, but not something crazy-wild.
  7. Replace the door hardware if it is pitted or damaged, and make sure the key your agent will put in the lockbox works smoothly.  (I have shown homes where the key doesn't work at all, and you don't want to miss having those buyers see your home.)
  8. Add a welcome mat or replace a worn-out one.
  9. Add a seasonal wreath to the front door or a colorful pot of flowers, but only do the latter if you can keep them watered.  No flowers are better than dead ones!
  10. How's your mailbox?  Get a new one if it is needed, and make sure your house numbers are clearly visible.
  11. Power wash any dirty siding, check for damaged gutters and downspouts, and look for cracked windows.
  12. Don't forget the garage!  If the door is badly dinged, you might need to replace it.
  13. Replace any tarnished exterior lighting, and make sure they are working correctly.

I am sure this is beginning to sound like a lot of work, right?  If you need some encouragement, take a look at the photo above.  Fortunately, the tenant who had occupied the property for two years treated this townhome like it was her own, and the addition of the wreath, flowers and fern made this home such a treat to show that the first buyer to see it purchased it, at a price that hadn't been seen in the complex for a number of years.

Done with the exterior?  Click here to step inside the house and get ready to stage your walls!