Don’t Fall Victim To These Common Home Staging Tricks—They May Be Hiding Serious Issues

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We were thrilled to purchase our first home together in 2019 when my husband and me bought it. We saw beyond the buckling hardwood floors and the outdated kitchen. There was even a piece of paper taped to one wall that contained a missing section of crown molding. We found a home that we loved.

Anxious to start moving in (I was pregnant), we looked past things we probably shouldn’t have. We were first-time home buyers. There were red flags that we didn’t see and many of them should have been discussed with the realtors.  

Buying a home, whether it’s your first home or not, is an overwhelming and exciting time. It can be overwhelming to find the right home for your family. This is something that clever sellers understand and take advantage of. Sometimes it’s innocuous things, but other times these staging “tricks”You might be hiding something more serious. 

Staging a home in and of itself isn’t manipulative. Staging a home helps buyers see its potential and makes them feel more connected to it than if they were buying a vacant property. You can save yourself from potential headaches by being more aware of the common staging techniques.

1. Curtains

Curtains can make a space feel cozy and welcoming. Curtains can be used to create privacy, insulate, or tie the space together. They can also hide problems. Make sure to inspect all windows in every room for signs of damage. Older windows can cause problems in regulating the temperature of the rooms which could lead to higher energy bills.

Curtains can also be used to hide damaged or broken windows and walls. Blinds can be used to disguise small windows and make them seem larger. To make your rooms appear taller and more airy, homeowners will hang curtains closer to the ceiling. This is quite common. However, it is important to make sure that you open all curtains when looking at homes.

2. Fresh Paint

A fresh coat of paint can be a good sign that the seller wants to make the house more modern for the new owner. Paint can mask a lot of problems, such as mildew and water spots. If the paint job looks rushed, you can ask about past mildew problems.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Boost Your Home’s Value, And 3 Things You Should Avoid

3. Do not use strong air fresheners

Sellers might try to mask something if they have put overwhelming smells in the house prior to the open house. A strong scent might temporarily mask odors from cigarette smoke, pet odors, and sewage smells.

Sellers still often use some type of scent to sell a property. However, in recent years, sellers have switched to using more subtle essential oils and DIY room sprays instead.

4. Background Music

The seller might also try to manipulate your hearing, as with the previous example. Background music playing during a showing could indicate that the seller is trying to hide noises from nearby trains tracks, pedestrian traffic, and road noise. It’s best to ask them to turn off the music to get a feel of what sounds and noises you’ll be hearing on a daily basis.

5. All The Lights are On

Sellers often want the home to appear bright and spacious. To do this, they might have all the lights turned on. Natural light is a hot commodity, and many older homes won’t have much. To find out how natural light would look, turn off the lights.

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6. Rugs

A good rug is a must-have. A rug can add style to a space, make it look larger, bring out hardwood floors’ beauty, and help brighten dark spaces. However, rugs can conceal imperfections.

You can cover up stained, scuffed, or damaged floors with a beautiful rug. However, it is important to have an accurate idea of the condition of your floors before making any major decisions. If rugs are over already carpeted flooring, check to see what condition they’re in too. Be aware of foundation issues and potential water damage before purchasing a home.

7. Mirrors, art work, and decor

Mirrors can help make a space appear larger or brighter. To ensure that your furniture fits in the space, measure it. Mirrors, art, and decor strategically placed can hide cracks, blemishes and water stains.

8. Furniture Placement 

You can also make a smaller room appear larger by placing small or compact furniture there. Is the dining room equipped with a four-top table or a 10-seater table? Is there a queen-size bed in the master bedroom? Think about the furniture you have and how it will look in your space.

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