The problem with first impressions is that they’re often made very quickly and can be very difficult – if not impossible – to change. Your home makes first impressions with people all the time, and thinking about each of these areas from the viewpoint of the first impression it’s making with the people who live in or visit your house can help you make improvements that truly make your house a home.
Is Your Home Making a Bad First Impression?
To start, let’s talk more about first impressions and how they are formed. Although these stats are usually thought about in terms of meeting a person or visiting a retail environment, we’re really talking about human nature, so the same principles can apply when it comes to first impressions of your home.
- First impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds
- 93& make judgments based on what they see (vs. verbal cues)
If you were the decision-maker in purchasing your home, you already had a first impressions moment. Those things that attracted you or which you like most about the house were those that stood out among all the others as your first impression of the home were formed. Now it’s time to make sure your house makes a good first impression on other people, these ideas that can help.
5 Times Your Home Needs to Make a Good First Impression
When it’s time to meet the neighbors.
After a move you might be living out of boxes or waiting on appliances and furnishings to arrive for days – or even weeks. That doesn’t mean your home can’t make a good first impression when new neighbors come by to introduce themselves.
Give a smile and friendly wave to neighbors nearby or who are walking or driving past and keep your walkway clear, so that if someone comes up to your new home they won’t feel like they’re in a hazard zone. Keep a stash of crackers and cubed cheese, cookies, beer, wine, and/or soft drinks on hand so that you can quickly break them out when guests arrive.
Have a radio or Bluetooth device ready to play music. Make sure you have a bathroom that’s ready for use with toilet paper, tissue, hand soap and towels.
When it’s time to meet the in-laws.
Depending on your relationships, the first time the in-laws (or your own family members) come to see your new home could be a stressful time. Make sure that your new home shines when it’s time to meet the in-laws by keeping your kitchen, family room and bathrooms especially clean (even if you’re still living out of boxes following a move). Be ready to point out the aspects of your home that make it unique, the reasons you chose it and what makes it perfect for you and your loved ones.
When overnight guests arrive.
Overnight guests don’t just put your home’s first impressions to the test, they give you a chance to show off your hospitality skills as well. Before your overnight guests arrive, make sure their sleeping quarters are clean and fresh linens are on the bed. Place some extra pillows and blankets in the space so they have them should the need arise. Leave a fan in the space for those who sleep with white noise or may become too warm.
Stage your guest bath with mini products, an extra toothbrush, tooth paste and other items an overnight guest might need (or might have neglected to bring). Position towels so they’re handy for guests when they step out of the shower. Walk through your guest spaces before they arrive to think about the experience from their point of view.
When overnight guests arise.
It can be awkward waking up in a new space. Guests may be asking themselves many different questions; such as:
- Is it too early to get up?
- Is there anything to eat?
- Can I get some coffee?
- Where do I shower or get ready?
You can talk through many of these items the night before and show your guests where they can find coffee, creamer, breakfast foods, and so on. Ultimately your guests will be most comfortable if they have what they need and don’t feel like they are inconveniencing you, so the more you think ahead on their behalf, the better their impressions of your home will be.
When it’s time to say goodbye.
The average American moves more than 11 times during their lifetime. Chances are that the home you’re in now will not always be the home you live in. When it’s time to say goodbye to your home and sell it, the characteristics that you loved about it when you first saw it can be the same traits that help you attract buyers. When your home needs to make a good first impression with buyers:
- Make sure it’s very clean
- Declutter – and be ruthless about shedding things you no longer need
- Take down overly-personal décor so buyers can imagine their own things in the space
- Improve your home’s curb appeal with fresh paint, weed-free planting areas, trimmed grass, a unique and appealing front porch and a thoughtful entry way.
Think about the different people who come to your home and which aspects of your house are making the biggest first impression on them. Whether you’ve just moved in or you have lived in your home for a long time, there are always ways you can make it better and more inviting for guests and visitors.