Maximize your home's first impression

Real Estate Agent with Looking Glass Realty

When we are showing homes to prospective buyers, one of the biggest considerations, aside from price, is the condition of the home. No matter what price it is, if a home appears to be neglected and poorly maintained, the quality of the home is immediately suspect, and the perceived value (how much a buyer would be willing to pay) is immediately lower. In the eyes of a buyer, if the most basic maintenance issues have not been done, it's a short leap to assuming that the bigger issues, things can could end up costing the buyer big bucks,  haven't been taken care of either.

Before you put your home on the market, there are a number of pre-emptive approaches you can take to make sure your home is making the best possible first impression and that you get top dollar.

1. Hire your own home inspector. Once an offer has been made on a home, it's very typical for the buyer to pay for a home inspection which almost always results in a Repair Request and sometimes, credits to compensate the buyer. But, by having your own home inspection done first, you can take care of any issues that might otherwise be a stumbling block for buyers. Prices vary, of course, but generally speaking you can plan to spend around $350.00 for a thorough home inspection by a license and insured home inspector. Here are just a few of the things you can you expect from a home inspection:

  • Investigation of all household systems including the heating and cooling (electric and gas), plumbing, and electrical to identify their efficiency and if they are operating properly.
  • Identify any safety issues including some things that may no longer be up to code. This may include a wobbly hand rail or faulty electrical wiring.
  • Examination of the roof, including gutters and soffits, to identify any leaks or failing roofing materials.
  • An interior and exterior (including basements and attics) examination for any prior water damage

2. Another alternative is to ask a friend to walk through your home as a buyer would to help you "see" things you may be overlooking. It won't be as thorough or technical as a home inspector, but it will give you a fresh set of eyes. When we live in our homes for any length of time, it's only natural to not see flaws and problem areas.  You can do this on your own, of course, but another set of eyes is always helpful.

Whether you decide to hire a professional or rely on the advice of a friend, here are some other things you should look for in your home before opening the doors to potential buyers:

- Make sure all interior and exterior doors, especially bi-fold closet doors work smoothly and properly.
- The same goes for windows. Make sure all your windows open smoothly.
- Clean the gutters around your home. This a good time to shore up any sagging sections.
- If you have pets, get an objective "sniff" test.
- Patch and paint/stain any damage to chair rails, wood work, or walls
- Caulk around windows and doors. If you plan to paint, it's a great time to create a seamless look around any molding. And don't forget the bathrooms.
- De clutter as much as possible. Nothing makes a room look small like tons of clutter and too much furniture.
- Clean the carpet.

In a buyers market, there is a lot more competition so it's important that your home leave a positive and lasting impression. For more information or helpful hints, give the Clay Team a call, or visit us online!

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Comments (5)

Fred Chamberlin
Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA - Oak Harbor, WA
Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant

Very good advice Carol. My only question is, do bi-fold door ever work as they are supposed to? Clean carpet and less clutter is always a great idea. I think I will share this with our local folks.

Jan 07, 2009 05:23 AM
Carol Clay
Looking Glass Realty - Brevard, NC
Broker/REALTOR, Brevard NC Real Estate Specialist

Hey Fred! You make a good point about bifolds. I hate those things! LOL


Thanks for stopping by...hope all is well with you!

Jan 07, 2009 11:36 AM
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

Great ideas, but one overlooked in your post is hiring a stager for a home consultation.  These are affordable and usually a stager will provide a "to do" list for the seller. 

A home stager is trained and experienced in the psychology of home buying and can advise you in items such as traffic flow, lighting, visual appeal and much more.  Since they are trained in preparing homes appeal to the largest amount of buyers, they can help your home have "model home" desireability!  People shop with logic but make offers with emotion  -- when selling in a buyer's market you need to know how to appeal to buyer's emotions to get the best possible offer!

Jan 08, 2009 06:18 AM
Anonymous are absolutely right. Hiring a stager is definately a way to improve on a home's first impression.

Thanks for the suggestion...

Jan 08, 2009 06:47 AM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

I concur with Margaret, home stagers can really tell a homeowner a lot about their house.  Consultations are worth there weight in gold.

Jan 09, 2009 03:05 PM