First Impressions

Front doorFirst impressions seems like the ideal subject for my first editorial post of 2010. It’s time to take that big step forward and I don’t know about you, but I want to make the most of it.

So, as a seller of a home, how can you maximize the first impression that your home gives? Of course you want to mow the lawn, clean the roof, trim the bushes and trees, but is that all? And, in fact, are those items even the most important? No, they aren’t. I believe that the single most important area of your home that you need to spiff up and get ready, is the front door.

When ever I take a new listing I give my little talk about getting the front door ready. Think about it. Typically a buyer is waiting at the front door while the Realtor is finding and opening the lock box. The buyer will pause there for a minute or two and have the opportunity to look at every little detail. Is the area clean? Is the paint fresh? Or is there a sofa and a big bag of Alpo on the front porch? And if there is a pile of rubbish to step around, what do you think that the buyer is anticipating finding inside? I really believe that buyers make their decision about the house at the front door. If they like what they see, they go into the house seeking to reinforce that opinion. They go inside looking for things to like. If they have been put off at the front door, they enter the house feeling critical. Will the bag of Alpo be accompanied by crates of rabbits and a barking dog chained in the back yard? This is just a very, very important place to spend a little time getting your home ready for marketing.

First I recommend a good cleaning and fresh paint. Get out a scrub brush, some soap, and take the time to really clean. Wash not only the door but the threshold, the weather-stripping, the light fixtures and everything around the door. Sweep the porch. Wipe away the moths and spider webs around the light fixture. Make certain the paint on the door is fresh with no scuffs or scratches.

Make sure the door knob and the key work easily. You may want to consider updating the hardware for the knob and the lock.

The National Association of Realtors publishes an annual report that is specific to every region of the country telling what sort of re-sale return can be expected from remodeling. The only item on the entire list, including kitchens and bathrooms, that returned of 100% of the investment was the purchase and installation of a new front door. Seriously. It will make you money to do this right. The estimated cost in the Pacific region is $1353 to install a new door and a return on the sale of your home of $1732. That’s a return of 128% on the original investment.

Once you get the door clean, painted and ready, do a little staging of the exterior entry area. Be careful not to crowd the area with too much. People should not have to avoid or step around anything you display. I recommend a pot or two of seasonal flowers (at this time of year you can display primroses and pansies) or perhaps a wreath on the door. Be careful with holiday decorations not to leave them on too long, but they are certainly appropriate during each holiday of the year.

Take a little time as you get ready to sell your home, and be sure to take time at the front door. Your efforts will help you to realize a better sale and probably even make you some money.

Looking forward to a great 2010, Dianne