The Golden Door

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”. ― Emma Lazarus

This quote by American poet Emma Lazarus which is emblazed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty exemplifies the ultimate Welcome Home sign. It says to everyone that approaches it, “Please enter and make this place your new home.”

So now you are trying to sell your home. You want to make a good impression. Shouldn’t every visitor to your home should be treated with the same respect that an immigrant is offered by the Statue of Liberty?

One of the best places to start welcoming the visitors to your home is the front door. For most people, the front door is the place where you make your first impression. Nothing turns a buyer off more than walking up to a house and seeing a messy or ugly front door.

Before they go in the potential buyer must open the front door. But what if the door is broken? Dirty or in need of paint? What if the lock does not work properly and is hard to open? What will be your home’s first impression?

As both a home buyer and seller I can attest to what happens when the first impression leaves the buyer thinking. “I will have to fix that.” It immediately signals the house needs work. “What else is wrong?”

A few days ago, I showed a prospective buyer a house that was being flipped by an investor. It was in a good location, nice floorplan and the seller had invested a significant amount of money on new flooring, a kitchen remodel, and new paint, among other repairs. Yet they failed at the most basic step in remarketing this property. The front door.

When I approached the door I was turned off by the fact that the screen door was filthy. It had rust in the corners and cobwebs on the screen. The large wooden front door was equally as bad. While it at one time it was likely a grand entrance, a golden door, on that day it looked sad and tired. At a minimum, a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint would have improved the look.

At some point, a buyer will come along and look past the first impression and make an offer on this house. But it was not this day or this buyer. We moved on to another property.

My advice to home sellers and listing agents across the globe? Be like the Statue of Liberty. Welcome, all comers with hope and respect. Offer them the feeling of hospitality. Help them see the house as a home, not a project.

“A good first impression can work wonders”. J. K. Rowling




Joe Domino is a Realtor® serving the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Need more information? Or to Search for your next home, visit

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Joseph Domino

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Comments (20)

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Always surprising that sellers forget how they reacted when they were buying homes. Weeds in the flower beds and in between the paving on the walkway. Little things can make such a big impression and for such a little cost.

May 17, 2020 09:58 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Joseph that is such a no brainer for me since my early days in the business - presentation begins at the street looking in. How on earth could an 'investor type' miss that.......just saying.

May 17, 2020 10:35 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Joseph,
A wonderful reminder of the importance of that first impression.  I can't tell you how many times I was set to show property and the buyer didn't even want to look just because of the "curb appeal"... or lack thereof.  Ultimately, I could influence them to go inside because we had an appointment and they trusted me, but not all buyers would do so.   Thanks for the post.

May 17, 2020 10:57 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Joseph- you make an excellent point. Buyers will begin to make up their minds as they pull up to the front door. 

May 17, 2020 06:06 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

May 23, 2020 07:01 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Kathy Streib Thank You!

May 24, 2020 07:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent post. I'm glad Kathy Streib included it in her weekly "What I Learned" post. First impressions are really important. I've brought buyers to homes with doors that had issues, and it's the same thing - they wondered what else was wrong.


May 24, 2020 05:02 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - yes, front doors make a great impression and they are worth replacing if they look tired.

May 24, 2020 06:57 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 ,

So glad that Kathy Streib featured your excellent post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. It should receive a gold star..wake up AR Gods! A good first impression can make or break a showing.

May 24, 2020 07:10 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The first impression matters. By painting the front door, have a new welcome mat, and new attractive address numbers make a good 1st impression. 

May 24, 2020 10:05 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Through the years I’ve listed homes that needed to repaint both the Front Door and trim around it ( as well as their garage door trim )

May 24, 2020 12:10 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi, Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - Curb appeal and front doors make all difference for a first impression.  Our Sedona home was completely overgrown and had hideous wallpaper throughout. The house sat on the market for 6 months because people could not see past this.  However, the front door was a solid cantilever design with 66 crystal beveled glass inserts. This sold my husband on the quality of the home and we got a great deal! 

So, does the front door make a difference?  Infactically YES! 

May 24, 2020 12:38 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Joseph:

You are so right on target. It's amazing how many front doors are a huge turnoff, and other than curb appeal that's what buyers will notice, especially as the agent is hunting down the lock box. And, oh, when that key does not work well!


May 24, 2020 08:02 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

So many welcome chances to be taken in these times and many more to come in the near future I’m sure. :)

May 24, 2020 09:50 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Not only is he right on target But I think he far exceeds the target in the best way possible! :)

May 24, 2020 09:52 PM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

It is really true. As you are fighting with the lock & key, the buyers are looking around seeing what else is out of whack. I wish every seller would just 'get it'.

May 25, 2020 02:16 PM
Raymond Henson, eXp Realty
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Taking the time to sharpen up the front door is time well spent, for sure.  A nice, unique color is always a nice touch.

May 25, 2020 05:19 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

While the agent is standing at the front door trying to find the lockbox, etc. - the buyer's whole attitude toward the house is being set - is it yuck or Ahhh, rejection or relaxation

May 26, 2020 04:07 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Imagine an investor spending time and money and not addressing the front door? WOuld make me wonder what else was overlooked Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 

May 26, 2020 05:31 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I can see why Kathy chose to  highlight it this week!

May 26, 2020 06:41 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

We're all "buyers" in some sense ... whether it's in actuality and we're hoping to purchase a home ... or we're just weighing the "what ifs" in our mind when critiquing a home we see, Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 ... it's only natural to do.  Just naive to think that anyone could or would overlook a door/entrance ... pro or con ...

So glad that Kathy Streib found one of AR's finest ...


May 27, 2020 12:38 PM

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