First Impressions: 10 seconds to Home Selling Success or Failure

| October 3, 2012 | 0 Comments
Milton Curb Appeal First Impresssions

Flickr User: dprevite

Last weekend my wife and I went to 2 open houses in Scituate. The first was a split level ranch set in a private neighborhood and the second was small 3 bedroom colonial also in private neighborhood. As we pulled up to House #1, we first noticed an overgrown front yard, then peeling paint on a pair of uneven garage doors, some mildew & seasonal staining on the vinyl siding and roof and finally a buckled and bubbling driveway littered with kids toys like an old plastic hockey net, a small Malibu Barbie car and a dirty half-deflated basketball laying under some bushes.

At House #2 the lawn was mowed, the driveway was clean and clear and the front door looked welcoming.

You may notice that my description of the second home was much less descriptive than the first. I couldn’t tell you if the the siding of the 2nd house needed to be pressure washed or if the roof looked old. The reason I couldn’t tell you tell you these things is because the very first things that I did notice looked neat and clean and generally “in order.” So I didn’t look for more problems. My first impression was that this house looked “in order” and I immediately looked for front door to see how to get in.

At House #1 my wife and I both noticed all of the turn-offs I mentioned but neither of us said anything until later. What we did instead was react internally- look for more negatives and quickly make a preconceived judgement about the home. We weren’t even out of our car and we had already ¬†judged the home. This all happened in less than 10 seconds. It was almost instinctual. Despite our initial impressions we went in partly to be polite and partly willing to give it a chance but the exterior of the home was an accurate representation of the inside and once our preconceived judgements were verified, we quickly left.

If you are thinking about putting up your home for sale, there are some very inexpensive things you can do to prevent a buyer from making a negative preconceived judgement about your home. Below is a quick list that I give to our customers before we list the home publicly. Any good realtor should do the same for you. A GREAT realtor will actually help you manage the prep work, which is something that The Murphy Team always does! #shamelessplug!


Mow the lawn
Trim & prune shrubs, bushes and trees
Lay down fresh mulch
Clean up around the yard and driveway (throw away old and damaged items)
Patch fences
Straighten uneven garage doors
Touch up the paint on trim boards of exterior siding
Clear walkways, front steps and front door
Put out a fresh pot of seasonal flowers

Have the carpets professionally cleaned AND DEODORIZED
Replace carpets if needed
Have the windows professionally cleaned (inside and out)
De-clutter the kitchen (more on this here)
Clean kitchen cabinet doors and hardware
RE-Face or RENEW cabinet fronts if possible
Clean and organize the attic & basement
Hire a weekly maid service while the home is on the market
Keep a bottle of Febreeze on hand and spritz the main entry rooms before every showing

Keep these tips in mind when preparing your home for a sale. The risks of not doing these things could mean a drawn-out selling process or  thousands of dollars lost in the sale price.

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Category: Home Staging

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The S3 Team was created by a group of local real estate agents, designers and business partners from Massachusetts South Shore. Trying to tell the story of the South Shore community and striving to connect the world to all the amazing things that make the South Shore great.

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