That’s all the time you have in which to make a good first impression. During that brief timeframe, we create an indelible impression of ourselves.
Alright, so that research is person-centred. But fortunately for people, we can rectify a bad first impression with meaningful conversation, gratitude and compliments on the second meeting.
Trouble is, your home doesn’t have the luxury of anthropomorphism. So, how do you ensure your home creates a lasting, and glowing, first impression?
Seven seconds? How about seven ‘firsts’? Start the 1st January with purpose as we reveal our seven sure-fire ways to create a resounding first impression.
1. Put up a good front…door
When seconds count, details matter.
All that vacuuming stands for nothing if your prospective buyer has been instantly turned off before they’ve even had chance to set foot upon those perfectly primed carpets.
Often overlooked, when was the last time you truly took in the details of your own front door? Serving more for practicality’s sake than as a ‘wow factor’ when it comes to selling, nonetheless, the front door is the first thing your viewer gets up close and personal with.
Fear not, this one is a relatively easy fix. Unless your wooden door is rotting at the hinges, re-loving it can be a fairly stress-free process.
Firstly, check for maintenance issues. Pet owners pay heed! Look out for scratch marks towards the base of the door and give them a sand down. Pet feeders in porches can often leave un-slightly ‘splashback’ of gravy or jelly, so be sure to scrub down the sill and side casing of the frame.
Breathe life into faded paintwork with a makeover. We love a sophisticated splash of British racing green, or the warm welcome of lollipop red.
For UPVC doors, a lick of paint may be out of the question, but a good scrub and polish can still work wonders. And for a touch of colour, why not invest in a pair of pre-prepared containers of seasonal planting for either side of the entrance?
2. Dress for the part
Just because the viewer is there to inspect your home, that doesn’t mean you (or your agent) won’t be under the microscope too.
As always, presentation is the key. No need to dress for royalty, but leave your ‘comfy pants’ and tattered trainers firmly at the back of the cupboard where they belong.
Keep up appearances with a tidy, clean outfit, and be on hand to greet your visitors in a friendly and welcoming manner when they arrive. If you take this much care over your own appearance, your house must be well looked after, right?
Why not employ a touch of psychology to help secure a lasting first impression?
Play to the strengths of your home’s ‘lifestyle factor’. If you have a stunning garden orchard, why not give your guest some ‘thinking space’ during the viewing as you disappear to harvest some of the crop. A woven basket lined with a checked tea towel, brimming with Egremont Russets paints its own picture of domestic bliss!
3. Selling not smelling!
A fantastic first impression occurs when all the senses join together in pleasurable harmony, so don’t just focus on what your viewer can see with their eyes.
The best way to suss out if your home needs an olfactory overhaul is to invite a straight-speaking friend over to have a ‘nose’ about the place. That way you can freshen up the atmosphere before viewings.
This is particularly helpful if you are a pet owner. Chances are you are accustomed to your pet’s odour. Even if you are militant about grooming, bathing and hoovering…a non-pet owner will sniff out their presence before you can say ‘walkies’.
Many smokers no longer light up in their home, however porches and cloakrooms can often harbour residual smells. Be sure to wash ‘smoking jackets’ and avoid smoking anywhere on your premises prior to a viewing.
4. Kick skeletons out of closets
Admit it. There’s no shame. We all have that one room of doom. Usually the box room, with its unpleasant aroma of mildew, or if you’re lucky just a large coat closet.
Most savvy viewers will want to peek behind every door they come across in your home.
The lasting first impression you want for them isn’t the ambulance siren as they are whisked away to be treated for concussion after they open the airing cupboard door and the Christmas board game box topples down onto their head. Ker-plunk indeed.
Putting your house on the market is a great opportunity to clear out the cobwebs and de-skeleton the closets.
Anything un-used for six months or more, donate to a local charity shop. There, now you can show off the wealth of storage facilities your home has to offer.
5. What lies beneath…
Bathrooms and kitchens hold the key to a good first impression. Get them right, you could clean up. Get them wrong and your viewers will be looking to make a clean break.
For this first impression to be successful you really do have to go the extra mile. Mildew and the dreaded black mould are absolute no-nos. It’s time to don the Marigolds, reach for the bleach and scrub ‘til it sparkles.
If housemaid’s elbow really isn’t your style, then it’s time to get the professionals in. Good deep cleaning services are worth their weight in gold when it comes to clinching the sale. Another top tip for a pearly-white tile-smile includes grouting pens, designed to restore the gleam of stained tile grout in both bathrooms and kitchens.
6. DO judge a book by its cover
How many times have you heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Yet the cover is designed for exactly this purpose. It displays clues and offers sneak previews of the inside on its front and back covers.
Just like your home.
Any signs of wear and tear, neglect or ugliness on the exterior are sure to resonate with your viewers for all the wrong reasons. Once inside, the glamour of your home’s interior may well win them back around; but it’s an uphill battle.
With the stakes so highly set, do you really need the extra scrutiny?
If your home lacks inherent ‘kerb appeal’, fear not. While you can’t change the intrinsic nature of the architecture, even the most eye-watering of 1970s extensions can be presented in a positive light with a little attention to detail.
Mrs Marigold to the rescue once more! Get elbow deep in the gutters; leaves and winter detritus not only look unsightly but can be damaging if left untended.
Peeling paintwork signifies an aging property and will put viewers on high alert for other flaws inside. A spot of TLC now will pay dividends in the long term.
7. Space to shine
Having followed the above tips, it’s time to leave your home to do the talking.
As tempting as it is to shadow viewers around your home and ‘troubleshoot’ any negatives they may mention, space sometimes sells.
Pop the kettle on, and leave a pot of freshly brewed tea or coffee out alongside a plate of biscuits before leaving them to it.
Give them the space and time to make their own minds up about your home; after all, sometimes you just have to play it cool.
With those tips in mind, you’ve done your very best to show your home in its very best light.
And remember…you never get a SECOND chance to make a good FIRST impression.