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8 Things Real Estate Agents Zero In On the Moment They Walk Through Your Door

Turns out, first impressions are worth a whole lot. Or at least to real estate agents stepping into a home for the first time—especially if they’ve been tasked to sell.

So what do they notice? I asked eight real estate experts to weigh in. Here’s what they said:

1. The floors

“Believe it or not, the first thing I notice about people’s homes are the floors because that’s my first indication of the property’s condition and how well the homeowner has taken care of the home.” –Jennifer Okhovat, real estate agent with Compass in Los Angeles, California

2. The baseboards/moldings

“The trim is the first thing I take note of when I walk into a home. Baseboards, window trim, and crown molding can give you great insight into the build quality of the home as well as how it has been cared for. If the fit and finish of the trim is tight and the quality of the materials and the workmanship appear high, you have a good indication that the home is well-constructed.” —JW Roeder, real estate agent with Reece Nichols Realtors, Kansas City, Missouri

3. The floor plan

“The first thing I notice about a property is how well the floor plan flows. I look at whether the rooms are functioning as they should be and if the home is livable. If the functionality is less than ideal, we then have to figure out what to do to make it work. After all, a home can have an array of great qualities like charm and views but layout issues shouldn’t be overlooked.” —David A. Palmieri, licensed real estate salesperson, Citi Habitats, New York, New York

4. The smell

“How a house smells is the first thing I notice. Everyone’s space has its unique scent and it can be a positive or a negative one. A space with a neutral scent is ideal because buyers are imagining themselves living in a space. If it’s too personalized with a particular scent it can be an obstacle.” —Christopher Totaro, real estate agent, Warburg Realty, New York, New York

5. The curb appeal

“The minute I drive up, I look to see if the owners have pressure-washed the siding and under the eaves. You have a lot of time to look around while you’re waiting for someone to answer the door so I look to see if the front door is marked up with streaks or scrapes. And then there are other things I will look for, including a welcome mat, plants, and hopefully no trash.” —Devin Beverage, real estate agent with the Lombardo Team in Tampa, Florida

6. The light

“Natural light and lighting choices make a big difference. [They are] the first things that always hit me when walking into a home for the first time. It can be the difference of whether a home sells quickly or not. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, take heart and never underestimate the value of creative and dramatic lighting choices.” —Jeremiah Wiggins, real estate agent, Bohemia Realty Group, New York, New York

7. Signs of water damage

“While most people ‘tidy up’ before having an agent over or inviting someone into their property, there are things they can overlook. For me, it’s a red flag when I see water stains on the ceilings or mold or mildew, especially in the bathrooms.” —Jennifer Okhovat

8. The “wow” details

“If there’s a striking entryway with a massive chandelier, a super beautiful interior, a striking painting, or views that span the city, we notice. Trust me: We notice anything that makes the average person go ‘wow!’” —Chantay Bridges, Realtor in Los Angeles

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