Making the right first impression

Making the right first impression

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Making the right first impression must happen in the first few seconds. Others will measure you up and make judgments when you meet for the first time. In these first few seconds, they will form an impression about you based upon…

  • your appearance (image, look, presence, characteristics, attire),
  • your body language (mannerisms, behaviors, gestures, quirks),
  • your demeanor (conduct, attitude, expression, disposition, image),
  • your personality (nature, character, uniqueness, sense of humor),
  • your class (status, refinement, style, group, taste)

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” Making the right first impression cannot be undone or reversed, which suggests its imminent importance. It will set the tone for all that follows.

Can you make a first impression without even being present? Absolutely! For example, most people count on their resume to introduce and present their best selves to potential employers. Or a model will submit a head shot to a promising modeling agency. And in Real Estate, an Agent may stage a home to present it at its best to prospective buyers.

Let’s take the five aspects outlined above into account with regard to Real Estate. Let’s say for example, you are considering selling your house. What steps will you have to take toward making the right first impression?

Let’s take a step outside of your own being and become the prospective buyer. You are out looking at houses and come to see your house. What stands out that would now deter you from buying that house? It is likely those same things will stand out to potential buyers. So, it is particularly important that we be sure that what stands out are all good things! With this viewpoint in mind, let’s walk through the outlined aspects…

  • appearance (image, look, presence, characteristics, attire)

When you are driving up to your house, what stands out? Is the curb appeal beckoning you to come in and see what else is in store? Or is it suggesting you turn around and look elsewhere? Are there details that you could add or take away that would make the appeal more welcoming? The curb appeal is the true ‘first impression’. Without a good one, you may lose buyers before they even come into the house.

Although curb appeal is the true first impression, the entire walk through is the total first impression. We don’t want to lose momentum at the front door. Now, when you walk, what catches your eye? What is your first impression of the house? Does it set a desirable image? Or much to be desired? How does it look? Is it tidy or messy, clean or dirty? Is it welcoming or off-putting? Does it have character or flaws? Is the décor attractive to the eye or a clutter of personal items? These are all key elements to consider in order to help a potential buyer engage in wanting to see the rest of the space. Appearance is key!

  • body language (mannerisms, behaviors, gestures, quirks)

Oh yes, your house can and will speak to those who enter. It will tell them much about you … if you are a pet owner; if you are a smoker; if you care for your home and your things; if you have pride of ownership; if you want to sell your house. Like your body, your house also has flow. Is it easy for prospective buyers to flow through the space without obstruction? Where furniture is placed is key to how guests will flow with ease through the space and find it comforting.

  • demeanor (conduct, character, attitude, expression, disposition, image)

And you guessed it, your property has an attitude. It could be warm and easy, it can be cold and frigid, it can be bold and harsh, it can be stark and bright. Whatever it may be, it will need to be brought to welcoming and desirable. For example, we know that we want our rooms to be bright and visually pleasing. But if we paint everything white to brighten the room, it can become cold and frigid. Or if the paint colors are fun, bold colors, they can come across as harsh and unappealing.

So, if our mission is to make these rooms welcoming and desirable, what’s a homeowner to do? Well, in a white room, you can add warm, neutral tones with pops of color to the furnishings and accessories to break up the white walls and draw your attention to the warmth of the furnishings. And you would do the same with brightly colored rooms, grounding the room with heavier furnishings in dark tones to balance the feel.

  • personality (nature, temperament, individuality, sense of humor)

Now here’s where it can get tricky. Yes, you want your space to have personality. But you don’t want it to be the class clown. It’s so important to temper down your individuality and sense of humor and think about ways to appeal to the masses. You want your house to stand out, but in a good way, where people want to come back and stay!

An example of personality gone wrong, I went into a house where the homeowner decided to burn a candle in every room. Wow, the smell was overwhelmingly overpowering and was not a pleasurable showing. And what that said to me is, what smells are they trying to hide?

And another … you’ve heard you should bake cookies or a pie before your Open House. Well, stick to the script. I went into a house the other day where a homeowner decided to just cook some apples in margarine on the stovetop. All I could smell was the oil from the margarine, which I am guessing she used instead of butter. It was not a pleasant smell at all!

So, if you want your house to smell welcoming as apple pie, bake an apple pie. Don’t burn an apple candle or cook apple butter. And, of course, the typical personality gone wrong … paint colors. If you are going to paint, paint neutral colors to appeal to the the masses.

  • class (status, refinement, style, group, taste)

So now we’ve tidied up the appearance, cleared the flow, accentuated the character and added some mild personality, it’s time to refine and stylize. Look in to what is selling in today’s market. What is the going ‘look’? What is the style buyers are paying top dollar for? How can I refine my space to speak to that class of buyer?

The key to making the right first impression is not to be cookie cutter like everyone else, but to present your space appropriately. Remember, your first impression is typically the pictures of you space on-line. And as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Are your pictures portraying the right things toward making the right first impression?

This kitchen was a full gut

In this kitchen, all we did was declutter and clean it up, stain the cabinets and add a backing to the island.

Of course, not everyone can afford to fix all the fixes, paint all the walls, buy all new furnishings and all, but just strive to make the biggest impact possible throughout each room. Accent the positives and draw the eye to those areas of the house. Simply make your house more enticing the masses. Everyone can clean, declutter and reorganize at the very least. And if you can go the step further and invest your time and money into evident fixes and/or paint, those things will add value. Remember, the faster the home sells, the less holding costs you will incur. Every outlined aspect you can address will add value and help you to get your house sold more quickly and for more money.

And if your house is already listed, before you agree to a price reduction (typically in the amount of $5,000 – $10,000 each month!),

CALL ME!  518-491-1383


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Hi, my name is Julie Baker. I am a Redeveloper, Realtor and Home Stager and have my finger on the pulse of the Real Estate community. I want you to know that YOU HAVE OPTIONS before agreeing to a(nother) price reduction. In fact, depending on which option you choose, we may even be able to prevent a price reduction -or- increase the price back to its original list price.

With simple fixes, your property could become a hot commodity. You’d be surprised how few people can see potential in a property. But I can see it … and, I’ll bring it to light! And possibly without a dime out of your pocket! If this option sparks interest, I’m happy to meet to talk more.

The other much simpler option would be to stage the house. For typically less than half a proposed price reduction, we will increase your home’s actual and perceived value, bringing you top dollar for your property. Whether your house is furnished or vacant! We’d simply accent the positives, tone down the shortcomings, bring in some coziness and draw attention to inviting furnishings and accessories, drawing the eye away from the flaws and dated features. Staging will help people desire to make your property work for their family.

Let’s create a win1-win2-win3! We’ll make your property shine so you1 and your Realtor2 can get top dollar for your house, not have to endure another price reduction and provide a quality product for a buyer3. Everybody wins!

Call today to talk more about your options! I am more than happy to help you to get your house SOLD!  518-491-1383


PS: Below is a flyer of some more of my previous staging work…

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