Making a GREAT first impression

In today’s age of consumerism, every buyer is comparative shopping.  Make a small investment in time, money and effort in your home will give you a solid advantage over competing properties.  Pay attention to detail now because first impressions count with buyers and you have one chance and it starts with curb appeal.

Exterior Appearance:

  • Keep lawns cut:  A uncut lawn will make a buyer feel there are other things about the home that are also neglected which could lead to not wanting to see the home.
  • Trim hedges and shrubs:  As with the lawn, this affects the curb appeal when left neglected.
  • Weed and edge gardens:  What is the point in having a garden if it doesn't’t add beauty to the home and yard.  Freshen up the plants by taking off any dead leaves and flowers, weed & edge the area and add some fresh mulch to add a new fresh feel to the garden.
  • Clear driveway and clean up oil spills:  Make sure the driveway is always clear of toys, bikes, trash cans, and other items.  If there is oil on the driveway, clean it with some solvent from an auto store or K-mart, then wash it so it is clean of all spills.
  • Clean out the Garage:  The garage should be viewed as a garage to be able to put a car in, not a storage shed.  When a buyer see’s that the garage is used for storage they will assume the home to too small and has a lack of storage.  It will also free up your driveway making curb appeal better if the car is in the Garage and the garage door closed.
  • Touch up paint:  If the exterior of your home, garage, or any other out building is in need of paint or repair, do it before the home goes on the market.  Again, first impressions are everything!


  • Repair leaking taps and toilets:  If not when a buyer is looking at the home for the first time, when they choose to purchase and have an inspector check out the home, these little things will be brought up and asked to be repaired.  Addressing now is better than later.
  • Clean furnace and filters and if you have an Air Conditioner, do the same:  Doing this should be done as normal maintenance yearly to add to the life of these expensive items.  The working condition of these items will be a major concern of any buyer.
  • Tighten door knobs and latches:  Double check interior and exterior knobs and latches so that they are not loose and in good working order.
  • Repair cracked plaster:  If your home has plaster walls and are in need of repair, you may want to consult a plaster expert for a price and have it professionally done.
  • Clean and repair windows:  Make sure all windows are clean and replace cracked or broken glass.  If you have slider windows make sure the tracks are clean and oiled so that they slide easily.
  • Repair seals around tubs and basins:  If this is needed, you can purchase caulking at a Hardware store and replace and repair where needed.
  • Replace defective light bulbs:  If the home is shown when lights are needed, you want to make sure all bulbs are in working order.  Bathrooms and other smaller area’s need to be well lighted.
  • Oil squeaking doors:  Check all the doors in the home, including the closets for any squeaking that there might be.  Use a little Oil to correct the squeaking.
  • Repair squeaking floor boards:  Repairing squeaking floor boards can be difficult depending on what you have for floor coverings.  If you do not want to attempt it yourself, we suggest you call a professional flooring company.

Squeaky Clean:

  • Clean and freshen bathrooms.  Kitchens and Baths should be clean and spotless.  These are two rooms that Buyers will pay a lot of attention to and when clean and bright, they will make a great first impression.
  • Clean fridge and stove (in and out):  Even if the appliances are not included in the sale, they should be clean and in perfect working order.  Odors come from a dirty stove or fridge and can leave a poor first impression.

Create Space:

  • Clear halls and stairs of clutter:  Halls and stairs that are blocked by clutter will cause the buyer to feel the areas are small and may not be comfortable walking over items to get to another area of the home.  There is also a safety issue.
  • Store surplus furniture:  This will make the rooms seem more spacious.  Try not to store these items elsewhere in the home, garage or basement.  Renting a storage unit for unused items is worth the investment.  If these are not items you plan on moving, you may want to have a Pre Sale Garage Sale.
  • Clear Kitchen clutter off the counters and stove top:  Buyers want to have a kitchen that feels spacious and appears clean and fresh.  The stove top should never have items piled on it.  It not only looks like there is not counter space, but also is not a safe practice.
  • Remove empty boxes and containers:  These items should also be placed in a storage unit until ready to use.

At the Front Door:

  • Clean porch and foyer:  This is the first thing the buyer will see when entering your home.  Make sure the porch is free of clutter and swept clean of dirt, and (if you are in a snow or ice climate make sure it is shoveled and salted)  The foyer should be clean and is a good location for a small table with fresh flowers if there is room.
  • Ensure door bell is in working order:  You will want to test your door bell and make sure it is working so you can hear it ring when a Buyer or Realtor comes to the door.
  • Repair screen on door or other out door areas with screening:  All screens should be repaired before the home is on the market.  Screens help bring the outside indoors and many buyers want to be able to open windows and doors when the weather is nice.
  • Fresh paint or varnish front door:  The front door is always the door to have a prospective buyer come in.  It should look inviting and have a fresh look to it.
  • Repair door locks and key access:  Like the front door, this is what the buyer will see when entering the home.  If the door locks and hardware are not in good condition they should be replaced.  Make sure the key works easily in the lock if your home is going to be shown by Realtors.