Winnetka, IL Condos For Sale

What Buyers Notice as Soon as they Walk In

  • Zita Billmann
  • 09/11/23

What Buyers Notice as Soon as they Walk In

Buyers notice everything – good and bad. It can be impressive just how discerning a buyer can be, as they inspect a home from top to bottom, noticing small details that you, the homeowner, might’ve entirely overlooked. There’s a good reason: they’re trying to evaluate your home and determine if it’s right for them and their family. If you are preparing your home to sell, it’s time to stop and really consider the small details- the ones a buyer is going to notice - and address them before the home hits the market. Doing so could mean the difference between getting a great offer and a missed opportunity.

  1. Light – Good lighting will make a beautiful house shine brightly, welcoming in potential buyers and making them feel at home from the moment they step through the door. Natural lighting is a great tool to help make your rooms look their best. Adjust blinds and curtains throughout the day to maximize the available lighting. This applies not only during an open house or viewing, but also in listing photos. Amplify the natural lighting whenever possible by having light colored walls and flooring, minimizing visual clutter, and utilizing mirrors. In rooms where natural lighting isn’t available, use fixtures and bulbs that light the space without appearing too harsh or washed out.
  2. Fresh Scent – The Nose knows. According to an article in U.S. News, “A bad odor in a home can easily kill a potential sale. If the smell of garbage wafts in from the street on a hot day, this is a problem. Not only can bad smells indicate a problem with the property, but these are also a major turnoff for potential buyers.” Use subtle, natural scents to help make the most of your home. Conveying clean, comfortable and cozy is ideal. Some scents to try: Citrus, Vanilla, Jasmine, Green Tea, Cinnamon. It’s hard to beat the sight- and smell- of a vase of fresh cut flowers.
  3. Space – Open floor plans are popular for a reason- people like to have the room to freely move around. Even in a home that isn’t open floor plan, it’s important to consider the flow of each room. Remove any unneeded furniture, opening site lines, offering a spacious home which allows buyers to move about freely and envision their furniture in the space.
  4. Ceilings – Ceilings are now considered by many designers as the 5th wall—so buyers will most definitely look up. If you still have a popcorn ceiling, your buyer will almost certainly appreciate a more modern alternative. At the very least, a fresh coat of bright white paint will look sharp and can help reflect and enhance the lighting in a room.
  5. Depersonalize – Your goal is to make buyers feel at home in your home, and it’s been shown that many buyers struggle to do so if there’s substantial signs of you still owning the home. As much as possible, depersonalize your home. Put away personal photos and other effects, and instead rely on more neutral décor which can apply to anyone.
  6. Spotless Charm – Buyers are always looking for clues that your home has been well maintained, and one of the best ways to show that is with a spotless, sparkling home. Don’t be afraid to double check even the smallest, most obscure areas. Consider engaging a professional house cleaner to get your home show ready.
  7. Don’t Forget Outdoors – Once you’re done going over the inside of your home, it’s time to apply the same attention to the outside. Whether you have a small backyard or a palatial estate with carefully manicured gardens, the same principles apply. Make sure all plants and the lawn are well maintained and in good health. Keep debris like leaves cleared. Make sure your driveway has been cleaned and isn’t stained – a power washer can work wonders. If necessary, repair cracks in walkways or driveways. Apply new mulch to gardens. Wash your home and repaint any worn trim. The same goes for other outdoor fixtures: fences, mail boxes, sheds, and patios.


When a buyer is viewing your home, the goal is to help them to picture themselves living there and loving every minute of it. Don’t leave behind small details that will distract them from that focus. A home that is well prepared for the market is more likely to sell quickly and for maximum value.

Work With Zita

Whether you are a first time homebuyer, looking to upsize to a larger home, relocating to or from the area, or downsizing as an empty nester, my expertise and 20+ years sales experience will get you where you want to go.

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