The Entrance – Your House’s Handshake

First impressions, as you already know, count for something. They are the reason you wear your most professional outfit to that important job interview. They are the way in which we connect with others. Or not. In real estate, first impressions can mean the difference between a spectacular sale, and a dud. House stylists tell us that potential buyers make buying decisions within the first 10 seconds of entering a home. Your entrance is your house’s handshake and your job is to make it a good one. Your entryway may be the critical deal maker in your real estate transaction.

Yes. The entire process of home-buying has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Today the process starts on the internet where buyers begin looking at listings and photos of properties. Long before potential buyers even call a selling agent, they have combed through online real estate listings and eliminated all but a very few homes. In other words, if your property has made it on to somebody’s “must see list” you want to be very careful about the first impression your home makes in real life. You have 10 to 12 seconds to knock their socks off.

This phenomenon is probably responsible for the fact that most sellers depend on a property staging firm and house stylists to prepare their homes for sale. There really is very little room for error. Particularly in a market like Sydney’s keenly competitive one, where the prices give some buyers pause, the need to WOW the buyer is critical. It’s for this reason that you see property styling firms popping up on every corner today. Their services are much in demand, especially for those first critical seconds when the love affair between a home and its buyers first blooms, or fizzles.

If you are planning to stage your own property for sale, we’ve compiled a short list of rules and tips for your entrance that may help you get the buyers beyond the front door.

• Begin with an inviting front door. Make sure it looks flawless by cleaning it thoroughly and giving it a new coat of paint if necessary.

• The windows of the entry way must be clean and streak-free even if you need to hire a professional to reach the top. Eliminate window coverings here so that you let in all the light possible. The light they provide will showcase your entrance and also serve to keep the space brightly lit and safe. One doesn’t want the new buyers to trip on a rug as they pop in.

• Clear out the clutter. Think in terms of the lobby of an upscale hotel. You almost never find sundry umbrellas, muddy shoes, and school books littering those spaces. Instead, you find a space that graciously welcomes visitors to a comfortable, but sophisticated space.

• This is a great place for dramatic lighting fixtures, particularly if you are lucky enough to have a two-storey entry. Such a fixture will serve to make a big impression so, whether you have a pendant or a chandelier, keep it dust and cobweb free.

• Since this is usually a limited space, you can probably afford to splurge a bit. Buy a really terrific piece of wall art or size-appropriate floral arrangement or potted plant.

• If space permits, add a table or shelf and perhaps a welcoming chair. The purpose of an entry is, of course, to give family members a place to sit down, take their coats off and prepare to be welcomed back into the fold. Hopefully, there is a nearby place for coats and umbrellas. Better yet, there is an alternative entrance elsewhere in the home that can double as a mudroom, leaving the main entry for ‘company’.

• Invest in a new doormat for the exterior and a beautiful rug for the entry hall proper.
Again, we hope that when you’re ready to sell your home you will make the investment in having your home properly and professionally staged. It’s the investment in your investment that can pay off the most when the sale is final. Call in a professional house stylist, if for no other reason than to advise you – in the end, you’ll be glad you did.

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