Selling Reno And Sparks Real Estate Blog


This House Blew That Only Chance To Make A First Impression!

Patricia Kennedy just posted this blog! She learned in grade school that we only get one chance to make a good first impression. This lesson would have helped the seller who listed this house with the sale of his home. Look at those steps leading up to the house.

Excellent first impressions are not only important for face to face interactions, they are also important for home selling as well.

A house in my neighborhood recently went on the market, and being the Crestwood expert, I ran right over to see it.  Like many Washington, DC homes, it has several sets of steps leading from the sidewalk to the front door.  And they look like this:

Now, let's talk curb appeal - or the lack thereof - and the real life impact it has on people who see your home.

This is a house with a past.  It sold a few years ago in "as is" condition - a granny house needing a serious face lift with a very funky grandson residing there.   Everyone on the block assumed the new owner (and current seller) would do a bunch of work on the place, and he did do some.  But not quite enough! 

When I saw the steps and the storm door, my expectations went way down.  But when I got inside, the kitchen was new and the first floor didn't look awful.  But then, with this really bad first impression in mind, I began to mentally pick the kitchen apart, making a judgment that the redo had been a hack job. Then the redone baths!  Then the "renovated" basement.  And the staging was minimal, with clutter and unmade beds on the second floor.  At least it didn't smell bad.

I arrived at the same time an agent got there with a buyer.  And the buyer seemed to be reacting the same way I did!  I overheard him with his buyer broker talking about how everything would have to be redone - again!

In this case, a bit of easily repaired deferred maintenance hits people in the face right out of the gate.  Had the sellers taken care of the steps and perhaps replaced the storm door, this could be a gorgeous home from the street.  And inside, the potential is strong.  The house has an amazing floor plan, with two sets of French doors leading from the huge living room to a wide veranda.  There are lots of bedrooms, and an almost finished attic on the third floor.  With about $15,000 in deferred maintenance repair and staging, this place could have been a contender. 

And I thought of Sister Mary Letitia back in grade school, constantly reminding her young charges that, as we meet new people in life, we get only one chance to make a good impression. 


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Comment balloon 6 commentsTerrie Leighton • April 15 2011 10:43AM


it is so true, the front door area needs a little extra attention since it is the first spot people see, and often buyers are waiting for you to fumble with the lock box to get in and are taking note of the initial impression as well!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 7 years ago

First impressions are such a big part of this biz - in every way - impressions on the home, impressions of your Realtor....

Posted by Emily Read over 7 years ago


I agree; and every condition has it's price. If Sellers price base on AS-IS condition it will help not to disappoint Buyers seeking move-in-ready. In an inventory rich market the well staged,conditioned and priced homes have an advantage. JMHO



Posted by Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain (Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain) over 7 years ago

That reminds me I need to do my spring office sprucing. 

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 7 years ago

Robert ~ If you have to walk "up" to get to the front door you really should make it presentable!! The entrance will surely leave a lasting impression.

Emily ~ I really wanted to wear jeans this weekend while showing homes to new clients but I didn't, that would not make a good impression! Got keep up our image after all.

Steve ~ Even "as is" homes, sellers should consider sprucing up a little in order to stay competitive in today's buyers market.

Tammy ~ You are funny! I hope you were able to get a cleaning sprucing accomplished this weekend!

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

That’s the kind of house that I used to specialize in when I was doing flippings many years ago. $500 worth of paint and you can add $5,000 to the flipping price of the home!

Posted by Not a real person over 7 years ago

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