Appealing to the Visual Sense: Selling a Shiny, Sparkling Home

Similar to my blog, Smelling Your Home, this is about one of the five senses and selling your home…though this time it’s about the visual sense and how to maximize what buyers see as they first enter your home. When buyers come to view your home, their senses are on high alert.  The olfactory sense – how does the house smell? The hearing sense – is the home in a noisy or quiet location? But the most important sense is the visual one – is the home aesthetically pleasing?

You’ve all heard that old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is certainly true when it comes to buyers walking through the door to see your house for the first time. And so as a seller, it will be your goal to make your home so visually-appealing that the buyers “fall in love.” Because we all know that when buyers fall in mad, passionate love with a house, it’s the seller who wins because the buyers will do/pay anything (relatively speaking) to make sure they end up with the house.

So here are some things to do to make your house sparkle, shine and appeal visually to as many buyers as possible the first second they walk through the door:

  • Create the illusion of open space – Specifically, I am talking about moving out large pieces of furniture. If you have massive couches and chairs in your living room, for example, it will be hard for buyers to see how large the room is because all they can see is the big furniture. The room will look small and tight even if that is not necessarily the reality of the room dimensions. Instead of a positive take-away, you risk a negative one. By moving your large items to the residences of friends and family, the space in your house will feel open and larger, and this will make a big difference to the buyers’ home-viewing experience.

  • Present a clutter-free home. Similar to the recommendation above, if you have filled each room from top to bottom with chachkas, the buyers won’t be able to see the space, and it will likely overwhelm them at the same time. Too many family photographs can have the same effect – not to mention the distraction it can add to the buyers’ experience as they view your home. The buyers might become more concerned with discerning if you have a happy family, how many children you have, etc. than attending to the flow of the house, the amount of natural light, the modern amenities and more. You want buyers to envision themselves living in your home and to focus on its appeal, but if they can’t see the space and “the big picture” because there is so much clutter and so many distractions, they won’t be able to do this.

  • Work to remove blemishes. In other words, focus on addressing things that will catch the buyers’ eyes right away. I am talking about things like cracked, peeling paint, broken window seals that fog and impair windows and cracked tiles (if there are many of them).  Anything unsightly or in disrepair that will draw the buyers’ eyes as they walk through the house should be addressed prior to putting the house on the market. If buyers readily see a plethora of things that need to be fixed, they will think there is even more disrepair that they can’t see, and it will not leave them with a favorable opinion of your home.

  • Make your house sparkle. This works hand-in-hand with removing blemishes. Your house will shine when you replace burned-out light bulbs, do touch-up painting to rid walls of dirty, smudge marks and clean the windows as well as the window sills which tend to collect pollen, dust and dirt. And don’t overlook the exterior effects – mow the lawn, rake the leaves and weed the garden. All these little touches will ensure that your house does indeed sparkle when buyers first step foot on your property.

  • Clear out the closets. By doing this, it gives the impression of space and organization. One thing that is important to buyers is having ample closet space in which to store things.  If all of your closets are chock-a-block full with things falling out of them when the door is opened, the buyers’ take-away will be that your home does not have adequate closet space. Not to mention that they might get harmed from loose, falling objects, which may open a whole other can of worms – and a negative one at that.

  • Clean your house consistently. Clean the house yourself or have the housekeeper come clean on a consistent basis. Not only will your house shine, but you will also get the added benefit of fresh smells throughout. Another bonus is that the buyers will likely feel that you take pride in your home and the way it looks, which they will then hopefully take to the next step and assume that you have maintained it well over the years. This is all good.

  • Eradicate the rodents and spiderwebs. Before buyers come to see your house, it’s a great idea to get rid of such vermin as ants, stink bugs, mice and flies alike – be they dead or alive.  We all know that mice are everywhere – in fact, inspectors joke that it’s rats in the city and mice in the suburbs – but buyers do not want to see them as they are going through your house. Not only is this yuck, but it is not a great way to make a favorable first impression. The same can be said of spiderwebs. They are visually unappealing, and they give the impression that you don’t regularly clean, take pride in and/or take care of your home….

What are your thoughts? When buying a home, what do you notice first and foremost from a visual sense? What is most important to you visually? And what things have you seen when first viewing a home that has ruined your first impression of it? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.