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Sellers, Make a Good First Impression to Maximizes Sales

July 7, 2012

Some homes just stand out, drawing the attention of passers-by and making people stop to take a second look. These homes are said to have “curb appeal.” A distinctive doorway, an attractively landscaped entry, a colorful garden viewed through a set of brightly painted French doors, an inviting walkway with a handmade bench—curb appeal is whatever gives a home a unique sense of style. Having curb appeal helps to sell a home; not having curb appeal can result in a slow sale or no sale.

Most Realtors® already know that improving a prospective buyer’s first impression of a property can help to sell the home. But many Realtors® don’t have the detailed design knowledge and creative skills of an interior designer and may not know how to go beyond the basics in boosting a property’s inherent good qualities. That’s when calling in an interior designer can really pay off. Even if a designer is just called in for a consultation, they can help to turn a potentially negative situation into a more positive outcome.

Many times Realtors® are put under pressure and time constraints to make a sale. Calling in a designer at the beginning of the sales process can reinforce or buffer the Realtor® from giving bad news to a client about their property’s potential. The designer can then function as a problem-solver, helping to determine what could be done to improve the home in the most cost-effective way possible.

What are the common problems that a designer can help to solve? Most homes need to look larger. Providing continuity from the curb through to the back yard expands the visual space of a small to medium size house. Providing harmony and bringing the outside in makes for a more pleasant experience overall. One of the least expensive solutions is to add background color with seasonal ground covers and plantings. Other quick, easy solutions include:

  • Painting the front door with an inviting accent color
  • Changing or upgrading the front porch light fixture(s)
  • Placing an appropriately styled bench, seat or other three-dimensional piece on the porch, verandah or in the front yard or garden
  • Keeping all walkways and entrances swept and hosed off
  • Providing potted plants on the front porch in keeping with the exterior style (don’t mix cactus or succulents in Mexican clay pots with a Cape Cod or French Chateau look)
  • Adding a clean, stylish new entrance mat
  • Upgrading the front door hardware, including the door handle, knocker, hinges and/or kick plate

This sets the stage and creates a pleasant feeling of anticipation by the time the front door is reached.

Indoors, the strategy should be to make rooms look lighter, brighter and more spacious, while judiciously editing and accessorizing to make each room more pleasing to the eye and senses. This can be done by:

  • Cleaning out closets and clutter
  • Painting walls and trim
  • Replacing carpeting to overcome pet stains/smells
  • Staging an empty house with rented furniture and potted plants
  • Adding inviting sensory aromas with potpourri or a stovetop diffuser

Remember: The lighter, brighter and more harmonious the interior of a house can look the better.

It’s also important that the feeling of the front yard and interior of the house should flow outside into the backyard and patio areas. Patio furniture and containers can be harmonized with the colors and styles used in other areas of the home. These outdoor rooms should be as aesthetically pleasing as the entrance and interior spaces, allowing the prospective buyer to leave the property with a good feeling about the entire house.

If a buyer can’t picture themselves or their belongings in a house they won’t buy it. Therefore, a Realtor® can help close a sale by bringing in an interior designer to help a prospective buyer visualize styles, furnishings and the possibilities of a new use of space in the new home (including how to fit their existing furnishings into each room). A designer with extensive experience in space planning might even suggest interior architectural changes or enhancements.

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