There is that awkward moment when your realtor is fumbling with the lock box to get the key, and you (the buyer) are patiently waiting and subconsciously creating an image of the home you are about to see. Could this be the one? Such anticipation!
This holding pen outside the front door is a golden opportunity for a savvy seller to set the stage for the buyers tour of their home. That front door area is where first impressions start, and it truly creates the tone for the rest of the home tour. Just three simple steps can make your front door set the wow tone for potential buyers: Clean, Update and Stage!
- Trim back bushes, pull weeds, throw down some fresh mulch, plant some flowers, etc.
- Sweep out the porch, steps and walkway (do not forget the cobwebs).
- Wipe down the front door (and screen door, if you have one).
- Polish door knobs and light fixtures.
- Power wash if necessary.
Update: Now that you can see everything, does anything need updated or repaired?
- What is the condition of the front door? Does it stick? Do you have to swing your hip into it to get it open? Make sure it operates smoothly.
- What about your screen door? If it does not work smoothly, or if it is an eyesore, take it down.
- Do the steps need repaired? Is the handrail sturdy? Chances are these types of repairs might show up on an inspectors list anyway. Might as well fix them now.
- Light fixtures – are they worn out or dated? Do the light bulbs work? Make it shine!
Stage: Now you have your clean canvas to work with. Look at your front door objectively.
- Are your house numbers up to par, or looking a little worn (or outdated)?
- Pitch your welcome mat and spring for a new one. That one small investment can make a huge difference!
- If you have room, add a welcoming seating area (but please, no cheap looking lawn chairs!).
- Add some natural elements, ideally potted plants. Choose something bold and of proper scale to make an impression.
- If appropriate, add a seasonal wreath. Just make sure it is not too cutsie and please, no dried flowers (they represent death in some cultures).
- Adding solar-powered lights along the walk way or spotlights highlighting a tree can also make a big impact.
Now that you have that wow front door, remember to check on it periodically to water the flowers and keep it swept.
I would be remiss if I did not take this subject to the next step. What happens once they walk inside your home? Keep up the momentum and stage the inside of your home too! A professional stager has the objective ability to see your home as a buyer would see it, and make resourceful, yet meaningful changes to how your home is presented.
by Susan Jensen