John's Florida Real Estate Blog


When Selling Your Home- "Let There Be Light!"

I remember a song from the early 1970's ( I am dating myself now), that had lyrics that went something like, "Let the sun shine, let the sunshine in." I thought of that song as I was on our agents tour of homes this past Wednesday. We go on these tours to see the new properties that are on the market.

In one of the houses there were no lights on, the drapes were pulled, and I felt like I was in a dungeon. Now the owners and their agents know when the tour is scheduled, yet they made the house less welcoming and certainly less appealing. As an agent I can see past a lot of this, but potential buyers will not.

In past posts you will remember that I have mentioned that buyers often decide within the first 10 seconds whether they like or dislike a home. I have found this to be true rather frequently. They certainly would not have been impressed with the home I saw yesterday.

I visited another home which was in a high-rise condominium building. It already had a strike against it since one of the interior walls was shared with the unit next door and thus had no windows in it. However, the agent had every light turned on and the shades open in all of the windows the home did possess. As a result the place actually seemed quite airy and bright. The complete opposite of the other property. It made all the difference.

So do all you can to make your home as bright as you can. Here are some tips:

  • Turn on as many lamps as you can, including those on the ceiling fans. This will help drive the shadows out of those dark corners and most homes have.

  • Make sure that the lamps you use have bulbs that are bright enough in them. I have been in some homes that I swear had fireflies in the light fixtures. They gave out so little light. Saving energy is great, but not at the expense of making your home look gloomy.

  • Pull or tie back the drapes and open the mini-blinds to let the natural light flow into your home. The quality of this light cannot be duplicated and can do wonders for your home. Everyone seems to appreciate natural light.

  • Many homes now have large patio or French doors. Make sure you get as much light from these large openings as you can.

  • If you have very dark wall colors, consider painting them a lighter shade. Dark walls will seem to suck the light out of the home and make it feel dark and dreary. Dark colors also tend to make rooms seem smaller. Not an effect that will attract buyers.

  • Light candles throughout your house. Even though they give off very little light, they create a warm glow that people associate with comfort, warmth, and home. If the weather permits it and you have a fireplace, have it lit when a potential buyer is coming to call.

  • Proper placement of mirrors can also increase the light in the home. They almost seem to function as a window where one does not exist. As a bonus, they make the home seem like it has more space than it really does.

  • Consider buying some inexpensive accent lights that can help you lighten corners or dark zones in your home. I bought some "up lights" to sit behind my plants and in corners. This indirect light can really help create a welcoming atmosphere, yet they can be purchased for under $10.

  • If you have awnings over your windows, make sure that they are not restricting the natural light too much. Make adjustments as needed. I know you want to keep heat from entering your home on hot days. However, the little energy you will use while the buyers are there will be paid back many fold if your home sells for a good price.

  • At my home I have some hibiscus plants in front of my windows. When I neglect them the grow up past the opening and cut off the light. It makes a world of difference when I give them a haircut. My rooms seem much nicer when the natural light enters. So consider cutting back shrubs and tree limbs if they darken your home too much.

  • If your home is being shown in the early evening or at night, be sure that all exterior lights, including those in the landscaping, are lit. No one likes driving up to a dark house. Nothing less inviting than that. Not to mention that you do not want to risk having visitors trip on the dark steps.
  • These are just some ideas I thought of for brightening up your home in order to make it more appealing to buyers. You can probably think of others. But do your best to change your dark cave into a light-filled sanctuary for customers.  It will make a big difference!

    For more information or questions about this topic please call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: 

    You are also invited to visit my webpage at:

    John Elwell - REALTOR

    CENTURY 21

    Bill Nye Realty, Inc.


    Licensed in Florida


    Comment balloon 0 commentsJohn Elwell • August 12 2007 12:37PM


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