Staging and Pre-Listing Shortcuts 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 cottage or a waterfront estate. 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 disguising  specific problems that would require a larger investments to remedy.

These shortcuts are never a good idea and both the seller and listing agent need to be on the same page about that. Using devious methods to sell a home are unethical and should always be avoided. Here are several pre-sale and staging shortcuts to avoid when selling your home:

Never Try to Hide the Noise:

Always come clean with the noise details the moment a 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.

Only allowing showings during times you know the noise is abated, or attempting to persuade buyers the noise is just a temporary problem, usually backfire. If they think you are covering something up, your chances of selling them the home diminish significantly.

Lying About the Neighborhood or Neighbors:

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.

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 a professional paint company, they will tell you painting over mold will not make it go away. Unfortunately,  homeowners often try to do this! 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 disclose the issue so buyers know exactly what they are dealing with.

Repainting Old Rundown Fixtures:

Staging and Pre-Sale Tricks to AvoidFixtures 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.

Many sellers resort to repainting fixtures to make them look new or air-tight. This can fool buyers but seldom fools a Home Inspector. It is best to repair, replace, or provide the buyers with a credit to get these repairs/replacements handled.

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 to resolve it.  Most Buyers or Home Inspector will be checking closely to ensure they do not see any physical issues.

Buyers are keenly aware that repairs/replacement of systems can be costly and if it looks like you have tampered with things to avoid resolving the problem, they will most likely walk away from the deal. Also, unprofessional work on these systems stand out, so if you’re 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 appealing 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 obviously “cheap” when staging their home.

Trying to make clutter look chic, using cheap or artificial props (i.e. food and flowers), displaying excessive religious, political, or sexual content, using too many scents/aromas, rose petals in the bedroom, and even baking cookies or bread can put off buyers.

Final Thoughts:

The expectation is that you will be honest and disclose everything about your property when you are trying to sell. However, don’t be surprised if buyers are skeptical and use the “trust but verify” approach with your home. Don’t take it personally!

If you have any doubts about what information to provide and what you need to keep to yourself, talk to your AGENT. They will be a huge help as they deal with these issues daily!

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