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Don’t Forget the ‘Windshield Effect’ When Perfecting Your Listing

By Sabine H. Schoenberg

Most sellers concentrate on getting the inside of their homes ready for visiting buyers. While this is, of course important many miss the most important moment in the presentation of their home: The so-called “windshield effect.”

By the time buyers enter a home they already formed opinions. They already have emotional imprints and reactions. The property, including your seller’s “stuff” spread around the outside of the home, gives them clues about the sellers and, most importantly, their motivation for sale.

I always tell my client sellers: Daily living and presenting a home are two very different experiences. We are all bound by our habits. However, a buyer sees a home for the first time with fresh eyes and as a visitor.

Have your seller ask themselves these five questions:

• What story does your home tell a visitor right now? What story do your home want it to tell?

• When you drive up to your house, what do you see? Overgrown shrubs or a landscape, which draws your eye right to the front door?

• Where do visitors park, and how do they get from there to the entrance? Is it in front of your house, to the side, in front of a garage? What makes the walk from the car to the entrance enjoyable? Are surfaces, handrails, and steps safe and secure?

• What kind of items are scattered around your house at any given day? Do visitors have to walk past garbage or recycling cans since pick up occurred that day? Are kids toys strewn all over the front yard? Are their “gifts” from your pets on the lawn? If the listing shows a sprinkler system, for example, do not have a sprinkler hose hanging out on the front lawn?

• Is your house nicely lit at night? Good lighting adds a romantic side to your home. Buyers who are contemplating a purchase might just be doing an evening drive by for a bit of dreaming – let them fall in love!

Today’s buyers are independent. Many drive by a home before having the real estate agent even arrange for a showing. Your home and property have to be in “show condition” 24/7 – NOT JUST made ready for a showing.

Take it from me who in December 2012 unexpectedly sold her unlisted home to someone driving by with his broker after visiting a home in the neighborhood. He fell in love and was willing to pay –  yes, this even happens in today’s market! (AND, by the way, it is the third time it has happened to me!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sabine H. Schoenberg is the owner and founder of two firms: the boutique real estate firm PrimeSites, Inc. in Greenwich, Conn., and SabinesHome.com, a web-based company to inspire and share how to create improved homes and more fulfilled lives for oneself, one’s family, and community by changing one’s physical surroundings. Schoenberg is the author of a new kitchen design book  “Kitchen Magic” (2012). Schoenberg’s product reviews,, tips and tricks-of-the-trade derive from her design training (Art & Design, Pratt Institute) and her many years of building and selling small and large homes throughout Fairfield County, Conn. Over the years, Schoenberg’s homes have received many accolades, including being listed as one of the “Top 10 Homes around the World” in a leading European magazine. Schoenberg is a regular guest on many radio and television programs.

Comments
  1. Flo sayre

    Great information and very timely — especially as we approach the fall marketing time when we also see another surge in buyer interest.

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