“Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home, if they’re interested in buying it.” Barbara Corcoran

This popular real estate quote by Barbara Corcoran may seem preposterous to believe for most homeowners. However, having worked successfully with hundreds of buyers, I have often heard buyers commenting within a few seconds of encountering a house. It’s not unusual to hear emotive pleasantries like “this place is so cozy” or “I really love the fireplace”. But sometimes you hear less flattering and painfully honest comments like “what’s that smell?

Buying a Home is an Emotional Decision

Buying a home, in which you expect to live for many years, is not like buying an investment property. The process is not primarily about whether the numbers in the deal work out. The purchase decision is grounded on an emotional bond that buyers feel when they enter the house.

When buyers walk into the house that they will eventually purchase, their demeanor instinctively and completely changes. Their facial expressions change as they approach the house. I often see their eyes sparkle. I typically know before the buyers do, that they will make an offer on a house, because I can sense their emotional response.

The Universe Will Help When Necessary

I have also said many times: “When a buyer has found his or her house, the universe will come together to make it happen”. I’ve been able to put together seemingly impossible deals because I knew that a particular house was meant to be purchased by a specific buyer.

Walk in the Shoes of Buyers and See What They See

So when it is your house that needs to sell, how do you get buyers to make the right decision in those first precious eight seconds? Good question – the rest of the quote states:

“Get out of your car, walk in their shoes and see what they see within the first eight seconds.”

There is only one chance to make a first impression and in real estate, every second counts. Similar to the job interview process, it is not solely about being well-qualified for an opportunity, but being perceived as the best qualified. Diligent homebuyers will have seen many comparable properties, so they will have a good feel for what they like and don’t like. In short, you want your home to standout quickly and emotionally against the competition.

3 Tips to Get Your Home to Standout Against the Competition

Keep in mind that the buyer has likely already seen photos of your home online, so they are now ready to experience it. Don’t disappoint them! Dirt doesn’t pick up in images, so it is extremely important to do a deep cleaning of your house prior to the first open house. Hence two of my tips pertain to cleaning. Your home needs to look, smell and, most importantly, feel clean.

1. Clean Your Windows

Some homeowners never wash their windows. Dirty windows are one of the first things that I notice when entering a house. Buyers may not notice it, but remember it is all about the feeling. Clean windows make the house sparkle and let natural light in.

Another benefit of clean windows is that they are cleared of cob webs, insects, dirt and debris. Keep in mind that getting windows to be spotless isn’t as simple as spraying a cleaning solution and wiping with paper towels. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when cleaning windows in your home from Realtor.com.

2. Clean Your Carpet

Given that renters universally know that when they move out they need to clean the carpet, sellers should be even more cognizant of this, but many are not. Dirty or stained carpet will always prompt buyers to ask the dreaded question: what is that? Is it cat urine? Did someone meet an unfortunate demise here? Be sure to deep clean the carpet, and if unsightly stains remain, think about replacing it.

3. Get Objective and Experienced Outside Opinion

To address the harsh reality of quick perceptions, it is important to get the opinion of a seasoned professional real estate broker, as we are trained to objectively see the house from the buyer’s perspective.

We can tell you what needs to be done in order for a buyer to fall in love with your house in those vital first few moments. Every property is unique and has specific areas to address. We look at hundreds of homes and know what buyers like and what they expect, within a specific market.

Sometimes professional advice can be as simple as moving the furniture around. In one instance the only thing I did was move a large couch out of the way so you could see the outdoor pool right when you walked into the main entrance. The previous layout had obstructed the view to the beautiful patio area. The new layout gave the feeling that house was open and the main focal point, which was the backyard, was the first thing you saw. It sold in one week.

Natalie Alchadeff is a Real Estate Broker and Owner of the Hero Broker Group affiliated with Keller Williams.

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3rd-Party Resources

Barbara Corcoran Bio
Barbara Corcoran Website
6 Common Window Washing Mistakes