The Most Important 15 Seconds in Real Estate

Having a hard time selling your home? Staging can significantly help you increase your chances of selling faster than you can say “the movers are here!” It’s a real estate rule that, if followed, will help engage potential buyers.

A homeowner has about 15 seconds to make a good first impression. Curb appeal is the first turnoff. If prospective buyers drive by and don’t like what they see right away, many simply turn away. So a fresh coat of paint, perhaps in a different color, on the front door. Think Mandarin red or midnight blue or white linen. Cluster potted flowering plants. Or place comfy outdoor chairs on a front deck or porch with gorgeous colorful pillows and a table in-between to help people imagine relaxing there. Think about installing impressive front door hardware. Kick up your curb appeal by engaging a landscaping designer to work with you to glamorize that first impression. And look for inspiration on Pinterest under Home Staging.

If you can get buyers through the front door, provide a positive impression in the entryway to entice them to want to see more—especially if the house is being shown unfurnished. This is your next 15 second hurdle, when they form their first impression inside. A borrowed piece of stunning art, pots of flowers, a luxurious rug or runner leading inwards, a fabulous chandelier, will all make an entrance more alluring. And remember to strip any wallpaper and simply paint the walls white. No clutter, clean, white, with something beautiful to adorn the entryway is the way to go.

Staging can be emotional for homeowners as they are so attached to their individual decorating style and furniture and mementos, family pictures and pet toys, that it pays in time and potential increased power on price negotiation to hire a professional stager. Be kind to your real estate agent and listen to them. They have your best interest at heart and want you to sell your house as much as you do. They are the experts, having done this many times over. They know what sells or is currently selling. Rely on them to guide you in staging your home to get the highest price for it.

And remember. Even if your house is being shown empty of furnishings, smells still count. Doggies, cooking, etc. all leave behind odors that you might not be sensitive to but a stranger would immediately pick up. Buy some expensive home scent diffusers in neutral scents to place discretely around the house before you leave, especially in mud rooms, doggie rooms, and kitchens. Then, gently close your door for the last time, and turn towards your future in your new home.