You Never Get A 2nd Chance to Make a Great First Impression!

Remember your first day at school, or your first date, or your first job interview?  Someone special in your life probably quoted those words to you ... "you never get a second chance to make a great first impression!"  And those words hold true for real estate as well.  When you're preparing to put your home on the market, first impressions matter.  What's really important to remember, though, is that you need to be making A LOT of great first impressions if you want to get your home sold, and most assuredly if you want to get a decent price for it!

Buyer's Agents

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Actual photo from the MLS

Yes, their impressions matter ... big time!  Buyer's agents, particularly the more experienced ones, see a whole lot of properties, and therefore have a great basis of comparison.  They become very aware of the "gems" on the market.  Their livelihood depends on it.  And agents are also very conscious of, not just price, but value!  If agents don't perceive that your property offers good "value" to their clients, they're likely to encourage those clients to pass you by.  

Prospective Buyers

More and more buyers are doing their home searching on the internet.  It wasn't too long ago that a prospective seller's focus was on their "curb appeal" and the overall condition of their home.  Today, with so many buyers doing their research online, and many of them actually directing the agent as to which homes they want to see, making that great first impression online has become just as critical as that first impression when someone walks up to your front door.  As a matter of fact, NOT providing a great first impression online may well result in prospective buyers not even bothering to come to your front door.  This image is of how one property is being represented online.  What kind of impression does it give you?  Likely it's not one you'd want to give if you were selling your home!

Appraiser (assuming your buyer needs a mortgage in order to purchase your home)

When the real estate market was booming, it seemed as though sellers didn't have to worry quite as much about this one.  If a lender had a warm body to loan to, they seemed to bend over backwards to make sure that buyer got to the closing table, even to the point of being lax with the appraisers, not really holding their feet to the fire when it came to determining value.  However, with lenders tightening their belts, guidelines for appraisers have become much more restrictive.  This makes it even more critical for sellers to do everything they possibly can to help the appraiser see the seller's home in its very best light.  This is particularly critical because, even if the buyer sees the value in the home, even if the buyer's agent sees the value in it, if the appraiser doesn't, generally the buyer's loan won't get approved!

Taking the time up front, before putting your home on the market, to help your home make its very best first impression can save you weeks, even months of lingering on the market, and even earn you higher offers from prospective buyers.

TIP:  Pretend you are a prospective buyer (or better yet, solicit the help of your most "critical" friend) and go through your home, inside and out, and make a list of everything you (or your friend) noticed that you would want either corrected or adjusted for in the price if you were going to BUY the house.  Now ... correct it.  Some of those things will be very small (but they are still detractors ... buyers typically over-estimate the cost of repairs and cosmetics and they downwardly adjust what they'd be willing to pay for a home they saw as "needing work")