When staging your home for sale, you need to remember the importance of first impressions.

Depending on what time of year you are trying to sell your house, you should still take a good look at the outside of your house. We all know that the inside needs to be pristine and clean and look like you don't live there. But we have to remember that these potential buyers are going to come to your neighborhood and walk up your driveway or walkway to your front porch. According to many real estate agents, they have already decided about your house before they got to the front door!

So, here are ten things to do that will help with the sale of your house.

1. If it is summer then edge your gardens. Even if you can't get at all the weeding, just give your flower beds and the edge of the driveway a clean edge, it makes all the difference, it just looks maintained.

2. If you cut your grass, and have lots of trees or shrubs, take those garden scissors around afterwards and cut the grass at the base of the trees. This tends to make a yard look messy. You could even go a step further and put a circle of mulch under the trees, this gives them definition and makes the garden look cared for. The garden is the first step to looking awesome and inviting.


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Don't Forget the Garage Door

3. Look at your garage door.  Does it need repair or painting? Does it look faded? Is it peeling paint? Is there holes where the kids put the hockey puck through last winter? A garage door is a big deal, it is the first thing you see when looking at the house,  can't be stressed enough here about your garage door. This is a large area that stands out like a sore thumb if not dealt with.

4. Do you have rusty metal decor items, such as plant holders, or tables or chairs? Then take them and clean off any loose rust and then paint them with outside metal paints such as tremclad and this will leave them looking new. Nothing stands out more than rust.

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Replace or Repair Your House Numbers

5. Street numbers. Are yours hanging, or rusted or non existent? Just because you know where you live, doesn't mean you should not show good looking numbers. By replacing them or painting them it gives them a fresher look, also shows just how much you care about your home. When setting up your house for selling, you have to give the impression that you love and care for your home. Which means going that extra mile. Clean up your numbers or replace them, and make sure they are secure.

If you have a rural property and the emergency numbers are suppose to be at the end of the driveway, make sure it is there, not half hanging off the mailbox.

6. If you have a patchy paved driveway, then invest in a bucket of sealer or get it sealed. This will even out the tone of the driveway. This will make it look dark, clean and black. It just shows off the whole garden and takes your eye away from any defects.

7. Plant some flowers in urns near your front door or on your porch. Or any kind of seasonal decoration you can use to make your front entrance look welcoming and that you care.

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8. Hide the garbage cans, and get rid of broken barbeques. I can't tell you how many houses I have been to, with broken barbeques and piled up rusted propane tanks sitting around. If the barbeque is broken, get rid of it. They actually recycle those now, and if you look in the paper there are people who will come and pick it up for free! Take the old propane tanks to the hazard section of your local dump for disposal. This is filed under the importance of first impressions!

9. Clean out your garage. Before you list your house, you need to get rid of junk. The garage is an important piece of real estate. If you worked out how much your garage is worth in square footage you would be shocked, especially if you are just using it as expensive storage!

This extra square footage that you are using for junk, could be a potential wood shop or auto shop for a hobby lover, and they won't be able to see past your junk. You may be able to picture what it could be, but many potential buyers have been looking at houses for weeks, and they need something to pop at them. So, make your garage "pop" and let them picture themselves doing their hobby or storing their precious car in there.

10. Outdoor lighting. This is really important, especially if they are coming in the evening. You can add extra lights to pathways, and even add solar lights. These have got better as to how much light they emit. They can also add beauty and function to your yard.

If you already have outside lighting, but the fixtures have seen better days, and are rusted, then consider taking them down, and cleaning them up and repainting them with outside paint, in a more modern or trendy brushed metal look. Also make sure you replace burnt out bulbs. Have lots of light available for your potential home buyers.

The above ten items, should give you some inspiration as to what to tackle first when staging, and the importance of first impressions. You want to "wow" your potential buyers. You don't have to do a full renovation to sell, just get rid of clutter, fix what you can and paint what you can.

Painting and some general care can go a long way and cost very little in comparison. Labor in the yard, and gardens and a coat of paint on the garage and front doors and take the junk to the dump or reuse, and you can make a huge difference. The importance of first impressions when setting your house up for sale,  can't be stressed enough. You have but a few minutes to impress your buyer.

Our agent, told us, that sometimes he has brought potential buyers to a house and they didn't even want to go up the driveway, when they saw the junk laying around and a peeling garage door and unsightly driveway. They assume the inside is the same and don't want to waste time. So keep this in mind when staging, and the importance of first impressions.