The arrival - Make an entrance
The entrance is the introduction to your home. The roadside appeal of your property has caught the buyers’ attention enough to slow them down and make them want to explore further. To get this far is no small feat and most agents know a decision to buy a property is usually 80% made before the buyer even steps through the front gate.
A dwellings entrance reflects the pride the vendor (owner) has in their home. It represents them. The entrance step/foyer or porch is where visitors, family and friends are greeted and fare welled. It also sets the tone for the whole over-all impression of the home. The entrance is the build up – the chaser or the taste of what’s to follow. Will it stimulate the person who enters to action or disappoint them?
Front Garden / Yard
Trim shrubs and straggly bushes, remove dead or dying conifers. Don’t let your partner loose in the garden with secateurs if they usually make a botch of it. Spend on a garden groomer; you want pretty new growth in two weeks not four months of bare stumps! If there is an attractive tree in the front garden place a bench seat beneath with a small outdoor table beside. For a small front garden use one focal point; a specimen tree or a garden sculpture for example. Under plant the tree with bright annuals. Take care not to go overboard, simple statements are best. Keep paving materials, concrete, pots and flowers in pots to a few colours that work well together. Have clear unobstructed walk ways.
Replace cracked panes of glass, rotten boards and broken spouting. Don’t allow work to be created in the viewers mind. Have lawns mowed but please leave some visible grass. Don’t think that if you get it really short this week you won’t have to do it again for three. Bald grass, rubbed to the roots by the mower is not a good look. Weed the garden, cut the path and garden edges. No sprayed brown strips to the front door, around the garage, down the driveway and along the fence line. Get rid of any old car or engine parts and anything broken – if they are not fixed now, throw them out or give away.
The Main Entrance
What message does your front door send to those arriving? The door colour will make its own statement. If dark, gloss blue – regal, executive, serene. Bright red says – welcoming, prestigious, fun. Water-stained timber, in need of repair – means work to a prospective buyer. Many Auckland homes in the inner city suburbs are painting front doors glossy black. It’s, powerful, protective and stylish. Add a couple of potted standard shrubs or standard roses at the entrance steps, and it looks inviting and modern. Then again if black is used on a rundown, un-kept property, it would have the reverse effect – sinister and foreboding.
Make sure the front door mat is in keeping with the style of the home and don’t let the pattern or colour of the mat dominate everything else. Buy ‘Goddards Glow’ or ‘ Auto salve’, a metal polish sold at most garages to shine any metal; door handles, black metal, brass, chrome, copper – truly miracle stuff.
Have the entrance foyer washed.
The entrance needs to be as open as possible. No hanging pot plants at the front doorway for guest to dodge or bang their heads into. Hang them at least 2 meters either side of the entrance if you love them. Have an open, clean, unobstructed entrance.
Make the extra effort, it will work for you.
All of a buyer’s senses are alert when they are house hunting… sunshine, fresh air, window cleaner, spray and wipe, fragrant disinfectant, fresh flowers are worth the effort.
When the front door opens, buyers don’t want to feel attacked by heavy cleaning fragrance or pet B.O. The idea is to slightly arrest them with a clean, light, fresh-air fragrance. Have animals fed around the back, and not in the back doorway. If inside, wash their eating area daily. The smell can waft through to the front of the house on a breeze and those living in the house won’t even be aware of it. It’s the same with shoes, especially gym shoes. Use a lidded wicker basket, a shelf or purchase a shoe cupboard. Place it just inside the laundry door or at the entrance to the house from an attached garage. As mentioned another issue can be pet odor. Wash your dog more often, don’t let it think the porch is its armchair, air the house regularly and invest in some odor neutralizer. Have a trusted friend visit, go out for coffee, and get their initial response on your return. Air fresheners are great if they’re not to strong or programmed to eject fragrant mist into the air every five minutes. Clean is good, sparkling clean is even better.
How you live in your home is different to how you present your home for sale.
Inside your front entrance remove all clutter – no school bags, stacks of library books or sports equipment. Pack away all family and personal photographs. No Rogue’s gallery confronting buyers with your family tree of photos as soon as they step through the door. As soon as the buyer steps through the front door their eye should go to one point directly in front of them at eye level. It should be a pleasing piece and not a mirror. If the entrance foyer is dark, hang a mirror on the left or right wall to throw more light around and increase the sense of space. Is there room for a hall table to display a sculpture or vase of fresh flowers? Will an umbrella stand be too much or will it just finish the entrance nicely? One hung picture unless your entrance is oversized. Remember… less is always more.
A gorgeous rug inside the front door is often the finishing touch for a beautiful entrance. Have a tasteful lightshade or chandelier, make sure it’s dusted and the ceiling corners are cobweb free. Jiff light switches. When taking pictures etc down from walls push a little jiff into the hole to camouflage.