When I am showing a buyer homes I can always tell as soon as I walk in the door whether or not the listing agent did a good job coaching the sellers about creating a good first impression. Let’s face it, there a lot of things that a seller can do to create a good first impression, including: de-cluttering, doing a deep cleaning, get rid of any odors at the source, stage it like a model home, having some light jazz or classical music playing in the background at a low volume, etc. But my big pet-peeve when I open up a house to show and find it dark, drab, with no lights on in the house and most of curtains and blinds closed. I mean really?
The potential buyers have never been in the house, they don’t know of the homes features or charm. Do you really want their first impression to be groping to find lights, or squinting to see, or when I later ask them for feedback on a house and they say “that was the dark one, right?”
For my listings I always let me sellers know of the importance of that first impression. In addition to mentioning all of the things I listed in the first paragraph, I also stress to them to please, please, please leave lights on in the main rooms (Foyer, dining room, kitchen, family room, living room and bedrooms). I also ask them to open up the curtains and blinds and let the natural light in.
Sometimes I get a little push-back from a seller saying something like “we leave for work early and don’t want to leave lights on all day for an afternoon showing”. Believe me it is a small price to pay if you look at the bigger picture of selling versus not selling. And even if you are penny-pincher and don’t want to pay the $10 in electricity, is that an excuse not to open up all curtains and blinds? I think not.
When I open up a well-lit home I immediately know these sellers understand what is required to make a good first impression and I usually mention it to my clients (the potential buyers). Just my mentioning that these sellers know what they are doing and want to make a good first impression gives my clients a good feeling about the sellers (whom they have never met).
Bottom line… sellers, even if your agent didn’t coach you well, please do yourself a favor and leave lights on in the main rooms (not every closet and bathroom or hallway) and open up the curtains and blinds and LET THE LIGHT IN!