The house is finally ready to sell. You put in all of the work to make the house ready, from new fixtures to a complete redesign of the kitchen and bathroom… not to mention all the time and marketing dollars it took to land the deal and the unexpected issues that came up during escrow. Now you are about to put your newest flip on the open market. At this point most investors have the same question: “How am I going to make my house stand out from everyone else’s in the neighborhood?”

The answer to this is actually simple — you want your home to make the best possible first impression for buyers and appeal to their emotions. After all, buying a house is largely an emotional decision for most, and you only get one chance to make a first impression, so do it right. This guide is mostly going to focus on some of the smaller aspects of getting your house ready for a retail sale that make a big difference. I am going to assume all the major cosmetic upgrades and structural repairs have been made and the home is priced right.

Related: How to Determine What Your House is Worth in 10 Easy Steps

How to Appeal to a Buyer’s Emotions
Set the Stage
Consider recording an HD video of your home. Show off the different features and upgrades of the home. Do a stunning sweep showcasing the home’s exterior; do a slide showing the home’s new top grade granite countertops.
Showcase the amenities of the neighborhood. This is especially true in luxury real estate, but applies to all price points. When someone buys a house, they don’t just get a plot of land and a roof over their head, but they also inherit a lifestyle. Does the neighborhood feature an award winning HOA, is the property located by a private golf course, is the neighborhood gated, what are the schools like and what kind of shopping is nearby? It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but should show off the features of the area and should be displayed in your marketing materials.

Home Exterior Impressions

Don’t neglect the exterior of the home! I see it quite often, where both real estate agents and investors will spend a great deal of time and effort on the interior of the home — and do nothing or the bare minimum outside. Even in a competitive market like Dallas-Fort Worth, where house inventory is very low and buyers are eating up homes, these small improvements can make a big difference! So don’t make this mistake.

Curb appeal is incredibly important in real estate. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes — you are looking for a new place to call home, and you drive up to random house #8… what is going to be there to impress them? Well, for starters, the exterior better look nice because that is the first impression they will have of your home. Remember, you want to help them “mentally move in” to the home. Create a space that they themselves can imagine living in and raising a family. You can do this with small improvements.

For example:

If it’s during the fall season, make sure the front and backyard are not littered with leaves. If during the summer, the lawn might need a little more watering than usual to prevent the grass from dying and turning brown.
Make your lawn pop. A little extra spending here and there can go a long way, especially investing in some brightly colored flower beds near the front of the house. You want your house to have that fresh, manicured look that gets buyers excited. Keyword there: “excited.” Remember, we are trying to appeal to buyer’s emotions. Also make sure to store away any garden accessories, trash bags and or tools that may be strewn about during showing times.
How does the mailbox look: is it all dinged up, battered and bruised? If so, this can be a cheap replacement that can make a big difference.
How does the front door look? This is one of the last things a buyer will see before they enter the interior of the home, and I think a lot of people overlook this. If the door has weather damage, then even a new coat of paint won’t fix it. If needed, invest in a new door.
Make sure your windows are nice and clean; no streaks marks.

Related: 6 Ways to Sell a Home FAST!

Home Interior Impressions
Make sure the house is completely spotless from the rehab. One thing that you have to watch out for is painting around outlets and things of that nature — sometimes contractors get lazy; they don’t market it off correctly, and you can see smudges of paint here and there. If needed, have professionals come through and thoroughly clean out and perfect the interior of the house for showings.
This might sound like a funny one, but what does the house smell like? Are there any unpleasant odors? If you flipped the house, chances are you put in new paint and carpet anyway, so that should take care of any lingering smoker or pet smells. Even if there is no smell, a lot of Realtors swear by using fragrances, such as warm apple pie.
Consider staging. A lot of investors and home sellers alike scoff at the idea because they just view it as an extra expense. What they don’t see is that proper home staging is an investment. It can significantly reduce the time on market (holding costs) and help you sell your home for top dollar and many times encourage a multiple offer situation. Again, appeal to the emotional aspect of buying a home. Nothing will help a buyer visually move in more than staging a house. They can see where their family will congregate or where their couch is going to go.
There is a reason eggshell tones are very popular for homes. When you flip, you typically don’t …read more