Friday, November 2, 2007

First Impressions

YOU MAY ONLY GET ONE CHANCE…Get your home ready for its first date!!!

Over the past 8 years, I've shown 1,000s of homes to hundreds of prospective buyers. One thing I have learned is the first impression is very often the last impression.

The average buyer may look at 5-10 homes in a single day. By the third or fourth home, they are overwhelmed, tired and even impatient. IF it is raining, hot/cold, or they are dragging children in and out of the car, they may not even hold out until house # 3 before they begin to ask "How many more homes do we have to see today?" To compete, your home has to get their attention in the first 45 seconds (about the time it takes for me to open the door and let them inside)...or they most likely say "Next!" If you don’t have great curb appeal, they may even decline to get out of the car.

Truthfully, you need to make sure you capture their interest even before they walk inside. While I'm opening the door, they are looking around and taking in the condition of the exterior...the landscaping...whether or not the entrance is inviting. A nicely manicured lawn and fresh exterior paint immediately tell the buyer that the home has been lovingly maintained. It sets the bar for what the buyer can expect to find inside.

What will make your home stand out from the last 4 or 5 they have seen?

1. Make sure that your home is clean and clutter free. (This is not negotiable!) I'm sure you wouldn’t go on a first date wearing sweat pants and a stained t-shirt. You may be your most comfortable in sweats, but they may not be very flattering. We all live in our homes and are perfectly comfortable in our home when it's messy. However, just as you would want to show off your best side on a first date, you want to show your home in its best light on "the first date." Another key component of this is not to place your home on the market until it is immaculate and ready to be shown.

2. Cover up the age signs! Okay...I KNOW you ladies never leave home without make-up. And, you guys primp, too! Even Hollywood stars don't shine as brightly without a little help from the makeup artist, hair stylist, and sometimes even an airbrush artist. Fresh paint, new flooring, (or at least professionally cleaned carpets), sparkling appliances will give your home a ‘move-in' feel that appeals to today's buyer. Remember, buyers are looking for the best home the market has to offer for their money. Is your home a perfect ten? You aren't even in the race if it’s not!

3. Have your home inspected and make the necessary repairs. Unless you are a super vigiliant repair person (or dating/married to one), you may have put off some maintenance items in your home. During the past 8 years, I’ve not seen a single house that was perfect on home inspection, but a couple were really close. Ninety-eight percent of buyers are going to have a home inspection, and the inspector is going to uncover the repairs that are not apparent to the naked eye. some point, if the first date goes well, there is going to be a second date with the home inspector, and possibly a third with the home appraiser. And one of these will discover the flaws you so cleverly disguised for the first date. It is always less expensive and less painful to take care of repairs upfront, before the buyer gets involved. Our goal is...NO RED FLAGS!!!

4. Get out of the house! You want the buyer to imagine what it would be like to live in your home, so you need to get out of the house. Take a walk...go to the mall...visit your Grandma. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it somewhere other than the house. Give the buyer some private time to bond with your home. If you stick around, odds are the buyer won't!
I hope this helps you look at your home from the perspective of a potential buyer. If you want more information on selling your home and/or buying a home in Middle Tennessee email me at

If you aren’t local to middle Tennessee, but you are thinking of placing your home on the market I can also put you in touch with a great real estate professional anywhere in the USA!

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