Looking Out From the Garage

Cheap Tips #3... Making a First Impression in 6 Steps

A Garden hose.
Image via Wikipedia

We all know that there is no second chance to make a first impression.  That saying almost couldn't be more overused.  But it is still true.  I drive up to homes for the first time with buyers on an almost daily basis.  I listen to them as we approach the house.  I listen to them as we park in front or in the driveway.  I listen to them as we walk up to the front door.  I listen to them as I access the lockbox and open the front door for the first time.

I hear a lot of the same comments...  It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to freshen up the outside of the house, but you do have to be strategic.  These are the things to concentrate on.

  • Driveway.  Clean it up.  If you have a pressure washer, it might be a good way to spend a Saturday morning.  If there are oil stains, there are a few tricks you might try.  I have also had success with a paste made out of powder laundry detergent.  I wet the area, apply the paste, letting it sit for a while.  I use a stiff pushbroom to scrub it in... then rinse it off with a LOT of water.
  • The front door of a house is often decorated t...
    Image via Wikipedia

    Keep the Grass Cut. So easy, and it is something that about half of the foreclosures I see don't have done enough.  Since it is something you should be doing anyway.... it really isn't costing more.  And you never know when the right buyer is going to show up.  It is an easy way to seperate your home from the foreclosure up the street.

  • Pinestraw, Mulch and Edging.  A few bales of pinestraw or bags of mulch can really make the landscaping look fresh.  Keeping the lawn neatly trimmed, with nice edging goes a long way.  A few fresh flower plantings can push it over the top.
  • Front Door.  Make it the best it can be.  If it is painted, a fresh coat of paint is cheap and VERY important.  If it is stained wood, clean it up and consider refinishing it.  Buyers, and their agent will be standing outside of the front door for a couple of minutes while the agent opens the lockbox to get the key.  The buyers WILL be looking at the house while they stand there.
  • Clean up Outside.  There are places that we never think about... spiderwebs under the eaves, junk in the HVAC Outside Unit, junk in the gutters, keep the rear deck or patio swept.
  • Last thing...  Clean the outside of the Windows.  Windex makes a sprayer that screws onto your garden hose.  Clean out the spiderwebs and get rid of last winter's grunge... it will brighten the inside, too.  Buyer love that.

It isn't about creating perfection, just making sure that your home is seen in its best light.  Everything here can be done on a Saturday.  Of course, some of it is continuing maintenance.  But, if you can sell quickly, then it will be worth it.

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Comment balloon 1 commentLane Bailey • February 08 2011 08:31PM
Cheap Tips #3… Making a First Impression in 6 Steps
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