The key to making your home appealing to buyers is to look at it through their eyes. Here are 5 things home buyers instantly notice when they tour a listing.The old saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression is definitely true in real estate. Home buyers start judging a home as soon as they drive up and for some, if they don’t like what they see in the driveway or once they step inside the foyer, they will walk right out without finishing the tour.

That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your home is in its best shape possible when you decide to put it on the market. Putting yourself in a buyer’s shoes is a smart way to achieve this. We tend to overlook things in our own homes that we get used to seeing every day, but buyers will notice them immediately.

Here are 5 things home buyers will notice when they walk through the door for the first time.

What Buyers Notice When They Walk Through the Door

1. How Much Light the Home Has

Coming in from outside, one thing that is obvious from the get-go is how much light a home has. A dark home will feel even darker to a home buyer stepping in from the sunlight and will create an unpleasant, drab atmosphere.

If you home doesn’t have a lot of natural light, paint the walls in a light, neutral color and make sure there is plenty of artificial lighting the agent can turn on before a showing. Use mirrors to reflect that light and open up the space, and decorate with light-colored, lightweight furniture. All of these things will help your home feel more open and bright.

2. How Much Space There Is

If your entryway is small and cramped, that’s going to set the buyer’s first impression of your home off on the wrong foot. While you may not be able to change the square footage of your entryway, there are some easy tricks you can do to make it feel larger and avoid that negative reaction.

Similar to the tips on making a home brighter, use a mirror to also to give the illusion that it is larger than it is and decorate with light, airy neutrals. Make sure there is no unnecessary clutter and avoid too many patterns and colors. Lead the buyer’s eye to the rest of the home by positioning art or other eye-catching decor in the direction of the traffic flow.

For more tips on making a small space feel larger, click here.

3. How It Smells

One of the most telling signs of how well a home has been taken care of is the way it smells. As soon as a buyer steps through the front door, they will be met with the scent of your home, so it’s crucial that it’s fresh and inviting. An unpleasant odor can be an immediate (and HUGE) turn-off.

Make sure you get a deep (preferably professional) cleaning before you list the home and air it out as often as possible so that it doesn’t smell stuffy. Usually, these two things will do the trick in making your home smell great.

To take it a step further, click here for some more tips on improving the scent of your home.

4. Any Signs of Pets

While we may love them, many home buyers see signs of pets as red flags that a home hasn’t been well-maintained. They expect more damages, odors, and issues with these homes, even if that’s not necessarily the case. Some buyers won’t even consider a home where pets have been living.

It’s important to keep your home as spotless and clutter-free as possible while it’s on the market and especially pay mind to any signs of animals. Pick up food and water bowls, hide toys, put the cat litter somewhere buyers won’t see it, and take down any personal photographs.

For more tips, click here for home staging with pets.

5. Damages (Stains, Cracks, Etc)

A house in one of the biggest investments most of us will make in our lifetime, so we want to make sure we are getting a good home for our money and not a money pit. Buyers are on the lookout for any signs of damages or repairs they will have to sink money into after signing on the dotted line.

To ease their concerns, make sure there are no visible damages anywhere in the home. Fix scuffed floors and squeaky doors, repairs damages in the baseboards and walls, and take care of any other issues, regardless of how minor they may seem to you. Chances are, they won’t seem so minor to a home buyer as they wonder what else might be problematic that they can’t see.