Staging and Pre-Sale Tricks to Avoid
The primary goal when selling any type of property is to try and get the best possible price, whether it is a small one-bedroom townhouse or a huge Victorian home. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways some sellers try to make their home look better than it actually is. The vast majority of these methods should be avoided. These pre-sale and staging tricks to avoid are meant to make the property look more appealing to the potential buyer, while often covering up specific problems that would require much larger investments to take care of.
These tricks are never a good idea and both the seller and listing agent need to be on the same page about that. Even if you are not dealing with a savvy home buyer or buyer’s agent, using devious methods to sell a home are unethical and should always be avoided. Here are several pre-sale and staging tricks to avoid when selling your home:
Never Try to Hide the Noise
Some properties have problems with noise and there is very little that a seller can do to mitigate this problem. For instance, the condo may be near train tracks. Your house might be in a neighborhood that happens to be under a major air traffic corridor. Or the property might just be in a particularly loud neighborhood.
In any case, you should come clean with the noise details the moment the potential buyer asks. If they are smart they will drive by your property at different times of the day or night and hear the issues for themselves. Moreover, while it is often wise to put up hedges or large fences to combat noise levels they rarely eliminate it.
Tricks like only allowing viewings during times you know the noise is abated, or attempting to persuade buyers the noise is just a temporary problem, typically backfire. If they think you are lying or covering something up your chances of selling them the home diminish significantly. That is the last thing you want to occur!
Lying About the Neighborhood
Most people will agree there is no perfect neighborhood. While it can be beneficial to have things like neighborhood watches, sidewalks, public outside lights, and even home owner associations, trying to sell your neighborhood as the most incredible place in town simply does not work. What you think is important about your community may be unimportant to potential buyers so it is advisable to let them notice these things themselves.
In addition, while trying to be helpful, listing agents often say too much. Buyers and their agents will be quick to pickup on the point you made about the dog next door that barks a lot or that a tannery will be opening up just down the road. Avoid saying too much and you will not be put in a situation where you outright lie or exaggerate.
Covering up Mold is a Bad Idea
Mold is a big issue for any property that has it! While it is often found in older homes, or those with basements that are not property insulated against damp, it can happen in any home, even new construction. Because of the dangers that mold bring (both to your health and home) it is never a good idea to try and hide dampness or the mold itself.
If you take the time to talk with experts at a professional painting company they will tell you painting over mold will not make it go away. Unfortunately this is often the first thing that homeowners try to do! The mold will always re-appear if you do not take care of the issue that is causing it to appear in the first place.
If you cannot afford mold remediation you need to declare the issue so buyers know exactly what they are dealing with. You can bet they will be looking anyway so letting them know upfront is the smart play.
Repainting Old Rundown Fixtures
Fixtures like windows and doors are often the first to get ruined under the constant influence of weather. This is especially true if they are particularly old. If the property is in an area where the fixtures are more likely to get dilapidated quickly, like next to the ocean, they will wear out at a higher rate.
Many sellers resort to repainting these fixtures to try and make them look new and air-tight. This often fools buyers but seldom fools a home inspector. It is best to repair, replace, or provide the buyers with a stipend to get these repairs/replacements taken care of.
Hiding Plumbing or Electrical Issues
Nobody wants to buy a home that has plumbing or electrical issues unless they know exactly what the problem is and can either fix it themselves or hire someone inexpensively to resolve it. You can bet every home shopper will be checking closely to ensure they do not see any physical issues (the home inspection will often find the out-of-the-way concerns).
Buyers are keenly aware that repairs or replacement of these systems can be quite costly and if it looks like you have tampered with or jerry-rigged things to avoid resolving the problem, they will most likely walk away from a potential deal. Also, unprofessional work on these systems stands out like a sore thumb so if you are unable to do the work professionally, ensure you hire someone who can.
Going Wild with Staging Tricks
Of course, when you are expecting buyers, you will want to make your home as presentable as possible. Ensuring the lighting works, the taps are not leaking, and everything is clean and in its place is a common sense approach that all sellers should take. What homeowners should not do is go gaudy, over-the-top, or recognizably cheap when staging their home for sale.
Trying to make clutter look chic, using cheap or unrealistic artificial props (i.e. food and flowers), displaying too much religious, political, or sexual content, using too many scents/aromas, rose petals in the bedroom, setting up romantic scenes in the bathroom, and even baking cookies or bread can give buyers the sense you are desperate for a sale. At best you will seem desperate and at worst you will seem weird.
The expectation is that you will be honest and disclose everything about your property when you are trying to sell. However, do not be surprised if buyers are skeptical and use the “trust but verify” approach with your home. Do not take it personal!
If in doubt about what information to provide and what you need to keep to yourself, talk to your agent. They will be a huge help here!
More Pre-Sale and Staging Tips
Common Staging Mistakes by Karen Highland
Checklist for Sellers courtesy of Debbie Drummond
Home Staging Tips to Avoid via AOL blog