5 Tips For Seeing Through Home Staging
For the seller of a home, the whole point of preparing their home for sale is to get top dollar for the property. They have been coached by their real estate agent and read tonnes of online advice about how to stage the home to sell for its highest possible price. In this article we aim to train your eye to spot these tricks for what they are.
Picture your stuff “living” in their space
The very first thing the seller does to prepare their home for sale is to eliminate all the clutter that's lying about the house.
They’ve gone through a large-scale cleaning and either boxed a lot of it, or put it in storage. They want the space to look bigger and more open so that you can imagine how you will use the space.
Crowded houses do not look good to buyers, so aside from clearing out the clutter, buyers will also “optimize” the space. This means they’ve removed or stored all but a few pieces of key furniture. They may put 4 of the 6 dining room chairs in storage, remove the big living room sofa, or even rent furniture from a staging company. A typical change involves substituting queen size beds with a double or single bed.
The goal is to make the space look bigger than it will be when people actually live in it, so pay close attention to the room dimensions and total square footage. Try not to fall for the optical illusion.
Daisies overflowing from the window sills and geraniums on the little balcony. Before they decided to sell, the balcony had a BBQ and was their makeshift bicycle storage. Of course, they’re going to tidy up for the sale, and make it look beautiful. Just remember these plants didn’t grow here, they were likely bought yesterday.
Don’t get distracted by the pretty flowers. Look out the window, what is the view like? How much light does the balcony get? What does the neighbour’s balcony look like? Look at the debris on other balconies to get a more realistic idea of what the balcony will look like in the future.
Well-placed lighting on both interior and exterior can make a home more appealing without doing any real home improvement projects. Accent lights on a patio or balcony can make the space look very charming. Similar to the flowers, remember these could be intended to distract your gaze from something else.
Ask about appliances
Those beautiful appliances may not come with the deal. If you’ve fallen in love with the huge fridge or the 6 burner range, then be sure to ask if they’re included with the home. If you’re already stretching your budget to buy the place, you don’t want to move in and find the kitchen is empty. Always agree on and list the major appliances included in the purchase contract.
Look closely at the paint
A fresh coat of paint is considered to be one of the cheapest curb appeal improvements sellers use to increase how much buyers pay. You could say that they’re increasing the value of the property but they could be covering something too. Look closely, to see if there are cracks that were covered by the paint or if there are areas that look like they may have bubbles under the paint. People have been known to paint over mouldy drywall and rotten wood to make it presentable for an open house. Think about it, you spend 20 minutes looking at a home before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Take your time and flush the toilet. Maybe check the window seals. You shouldn’t feel rushed. When you move towards closing the deal, make sure your home inspector is thorough about checking any concerns you may have.
Finally, watch out for air fresheners
Yes, they cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms, but that innocent air freshener could be hiding unpleasant odors that they weren’t able to eliminate. Odors can be a result of simple issues that have been fixed such as humidity from a recent flood, but more concerning odor inducing problems include mould, poor air circulation, and pests.
Value is subjective and can be influenced by emotions, and the seller’s goal is to entice you to pay more for the home. You want to try to identify everything they’ve done to make the space look more attractive so that you can figure out what is cosmetic and what is worth paying extra for. The home viewing process should not be stressful, but pay attention to these 5 pointers to minimize the risk of an unwanted surprise in your new home.
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