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First Impressions Last Forever

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By : Karen Murray    99 or more times read
Anyone who has been in the real estate industry for more than a week knows how important first impressions are to a prospective buyer. You’ve heard that people only have one chance to make a great first impression. Well, the same holds true for a home. Although this class focuses on interior design, we cannot ignore the importance of staging the exterior of the home. The fact is that curb appeal adds value.

From the moment a property comes into view as the prospective buyer arrives in front of the home, the opinion of the property begins to form. Before a prospective buyer even opens the front door, he or she has already formed an opinion of the home’s appeal, pride of ownership (or lack thereof) and the overall condition of the home.

The front yard and driveway should be clean, with bikes, garden tools, lawnmower and toys stowed neatly in the garage. Oil spots should be cleaned from the driveway.

Landscaping should be neat and clean. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and any dead or unhealthy plants should be removed. If possible, flowers should be added, either planted or in pots, to add color and provide a friendly welcome to prospective buyers.

The exterior of the home should be in good condition, freshly painted if necessary, gutters cleaned and windows sparkling clean.

Add potted flowers or hanging plants to the porch, courtyard, entry way or steps to create a “sense of arrival.” If there is a front porch, it should be swept clean, free of cobwebs. If there are chairs or benches on the front porch, add new cushions and/or pillows in bright, inviting colors that complement the exterior color(s) of the home. Don’t crowd the porch with furniture. A single bench or a pair of chairs is usually perfect for a small porch. A larger porch may accommodate two or more furniture groupings, but again, don’t crowd the space.

Add or replace the welcome mat and make sure the style and color(s) are consistent with the exterior of the home. This will not only dress up the entrance, it will also help protect the floors inside the home while it is on the market.

Prospective buyers walk up to the front door of a home with anticipation and excitement. Doors are symbolic of hospitality, graciousness and prosperity. Buyers will see the door “up close” and usually touch it, too, so the door should be clean and in good condition. If the front door is badly weathered, it should be painted, refinished or replaced. The threshold below the door is often dirty or in need of paint. Clean or paint it to show pride of ownership.
Karen Murray is co-owner of Renewal Zone, an online real estate school. She has over 20 years experience in the industry, including resale and homebuilding. Her real estate renewal classes are available online at

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