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When it comes to a home for sale, what’s on the outside counts. Along with your home’s entryway, the front porch offers buyers that all-important first impression and sets the tone for the interior spaces. Nail it and your home could sell faster and for a higher price, up to 7 percent more. Neglect it and buyers may start nitpicking the rest of the home. Here are seven of the outdated entryway and front porch features home buyers notice first, according to real estate professionals.
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It’s not enough that the style of the front door makes a good first impression. An old latch and lock that sticks or is too loose can create a negative vibe before buyers set foot in the home.
Rob Levy, real estate agent in Portland, Oregon, says the experience of opening the front door should offer a distinct sense of arrival. High-quality door hardware, “has a more solid and luxurious feel, like opening the door of a Mercedes instead of a budget model car.” Pushing down on the latch should be comfortable and easy, with just the right amount of pressure and release.
Harnessing natural light in a home’s entryway is important to create a bright and welcoming space. And an oval lite front door is not the way to do it anymore, says Lydia Bass, owner of Fruitful Home Staging. You know the kind — the front door of ’80s and ’90s childhoods with large oval-frosted privacy glass in various decorative patterns. “Front doors with glass that let in lots of light are in style now, as opposed to oval lite front doors.”
Is the small entryway coat closet past its prime? Taylor Hirst, a Realtor at Navigate Realty, says her buyers want to reimagine the space. By reimagine, they mean blowing it out completely and expanding the square footage. “They want the space for the bench and peg hooks to create a kind of focal point of the entryway.”
Is there any light fixture more outdated or builder-grade than the boob light? This type of flush-mount may be popular with apartment landlords because it’s cheap and gets the job done, but it’s one of the first things buyers notice when stepping through a home’s threshold. “The boob lights are talked about a lot,” says Hirst. They’re one of the first things on her buyers’ to-do lists. “Oh, we’ve gotta get rid of that, they tell me.”
While this type of feature isn’t part of the entryway per se, it’s often immediately noticeable when you walk into a home. An entryway that steps down into a sunken living room is an instant interior design red flag. “There’s not a huge desire for that split-level entry or anything with too many steps either up or down,” says Hirst.
An entryway with a step-down feature is also an accessibility issue and a potential deal breaker for buyers with limited mobility.
The foyer light fixture is another feature that can make or break your entryway in buyers’ eyes, says Bass. “Many older homes have dated chandeliers with shiny tarnished gold metal and crystals.” For her clients who are planning to sell, she recommends modern chandeliers with clean lines in black or antique gold. “This will instantly give an updated first impression when your guests walk through the door.”
A front door that looks like it belongs on “The Brady Bunch” has definitely outworn its welcome. It’s the door that has a seemingly endless number of small square panels and probably looked stylish 50 years ago. “I’ll often find a ’70s house where someone’s done $130,000 of remodeling on the inside but it’s still got that old ’70s front door,” says Levy. And when first impressions can make a home sale, it can make buyers anticipate an outdated house.