Assuming the curb appeal of your home is satisfactory, then what the potential buyers see when they enter your home will be the first impression. Those first moments in your home are critical to a good first impression. According to a 2006 study by researchers at Princeton University, it only takes seconds to make a first impression. And, those first impressions are not easily reversed or undone. Humans, perhaps subconsciously, look for additional data points that will support or bolster that initial impression. Hopefully, you see where I’m going with this train of thought with regards to selling your home.
That first room, the entryway and whatever buyers can see from the entry, are the first impression of the interior of your home. That first impression of the interior of your home includes the lighting, smell, and appearance of your home. The first impression of your home should be well lit, odor free, and well presented. If the lighting is too dim, then buyers may wonder if you’re trying to hide something. The same thing goes for aroma. I’m not a fan of air fresheners, perfumes, etc. There are enough buyers that are sensitive to different smells that you don’t want to turn some of them off with a scent they don’t like. It’s best just to have a clean, aroma free home.
Finally, the appearance of the interior of your home for the first impression is critical. It should be clutter-free, organized, and well-kept. Below is an example of hardwood floors at a home:
The worn and beat up hardwood floors detracted from the rest of the home and were difficult for potential buyers to overlook. The condition of the floors were frequently mentioned in comments after showings. I believe that potential buyers got such a negative impression of the home from the first impression that they were unable to overcome that shortcoming when viewing other wonderful and attractive aspects of the home. Even offering buyers a credit for refinishing the hardwood floors could not reverse the first impression. Now, look at the hardwood floors after they were professionally refinished:
The impression of the home changed completed and comments from potential buyers were much more positive after the floors were refinished. Moreover, refinishing the floors cost less than the amount of credit that was being offered to buyers. Upon entering the home, buyers now saw a well-cared for home.
While the entire home needs to be clean, well-cared for and properly staged to attract today’s buyers, the first impression room can be a difference maker. The walls should be freshly painted a neutral color, the carpet or hardwood floors should appear as new as possible (refinished or re-carpeted if necessary), and the trim, baseboards and doors should be cleaned or painted to make everything pop. You’ve now used those first critical seconds to make a good first impression and put the buyer in the proper mindset as they tour the rest of the home.