What do Home Buyers Notice?

Previously Published on AlexandriaStylebook.com

To some, the idea of strangers walking through your home is unnerving. But when your house is on the market, every showing brings excitement that maybe the next owner might be walking through the door! What will they notice? What will they think? What will they like? These are questions we ask ourselves when preparing a home to go to market. When we work with our sellers, we make sure the home is presented with its best foot forward. Sometimes that means full staging, other times, it could mean a power wash on the exterior or a freshly painted interior. Whatever touches may need to be done, we make sure our sellers are prepped to set a great first impression on potential buyers!

The average showing is about 20 mins. That puts a lot of weight on a buyer's first impression of being in the home! In past posts, we've shown you the before and after power of staging. This week, I want to share with you what our buyers notice when walking through a listing. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

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The Good: Updated appliances and approachable paint colors.

There's a saying that "new is always better." New appliances, fresh coats of neutral paint, and new or refinished flooring are examples of seller updates that will help the home show well. A move-in-ready home is what buyers want. When appliances are updated, it's one less thing a potential buyer will need to add to the project list or budget for in their home buying process. Approachable paint colors like clean whites and light greys will make the home bright and light while also serving as a blank canvas that's move-in-ready.

The Bad: Storage and limited space.

Let's talk about stuffed closets. It's the place we panic fill when "hiding" our mess from guests, and it's easy to neglect and forget that it's more than just a clutter zone! Buyers open all doors, and that includes your closets, too. When a closet is overstuffed, it gives the impression that storage is limited in the home, and your only solution would be to overstuff. (Maybe our friends at Neat Method could help!) The layout and size of furniture could also give the impression of limited space. When walking through a home that has big furniture that fills up most of the floor space, we think one thing: this room is small. A buyer may look at your big comfy couch as crowded and could distract from the fact that it's actually a sizable space if it utilized the right furniture. 

The Ugly: Dirt, bugs, water damage, and stains.

I think we all can agree that dirt is a total turn-off. Nothing like a dirty window to distract you from an otherwise gorgeous view! On the list of things to prepare a home for the market, cleaning is probably the simplest and easiest way to level up. Windows, bathrooms, and the kitchen are the major places to clean! When these areas look dirty, the mind can easily wander and assume that the rest of the home is dirty, too. Although buyers know only a little elbow grease and Clorox might solve a dirty bathroom, it won't set a good lasting impression.

When you find the place that feels right, it makes all the difference. From home buying to home selling, we provide a full-service real estate experience so our clients can feel at home no matter where they call home. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date on new listings, open houses, community, and real estate news!


The Patterson Group is one of the most experienced and trusted real estate teams in the area, serving the community of Alexandria, VA for more than 30 years.

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