Going to a property inspection for the first time is not dissimilar to going on a date for the first time. Many things can appear perfect at first impression. But when you examine further, you may find that the person, or the property, is not what it seemed to be. People can dress up to look the part, put on makeup, wear a wig or tighten up body parts where they want to be slim. Similarly, a property can look more appealing to buyers with home staging tasks as simple as cleaning, removing and rearranging furniture or as extensive as styling with hired furniture and art work curated by interior staging experts.
Home staging is the act of preparing a property for sale to appeal to prospective buyers. When you sell a property, this can be a profitable activity to rake in extra dollars. However, a cleverly disguised home can be a tricky distraction for buyers. In fact, some home staging techniques are so good that buyers will get deceived time after time. Let’s look at some of these tricks of the trade.
Building Flaws Playing Hide and Seek
No vendor would like prospective buyers to use property flaws as their bargaining power. The question is, can buyers find them? Freshly painted walls can be a delightful touch for the buyer as the vendor has already done the work. On the other hand, paintwork is an effective cosmetic concealment of any ceiling or wall leakage marks. A shoddy paint job over wallpaper or tiles can mean more work for the future owner when the paint starts to peel and reveal the original surface. Building flaws can also be hidden by strategic placement of furniture, an artwork, a rug or even a potted plant. If you find something out of the ordinary, put on a detective hat and find out more. That could very well be a decision maker for you to purchase the property or not.
Honey, I Shrunk the Furniture
Many apartment buyers wonder why they cannot make their queen-sized bed and bedside tables fit as suggested by the stunning display unit. The truth is, some of these pieces of display furniture are made smaller than they normally are. Display beds are specifically made smaller to create the illusion of a larger bedroom. Smaller than usual hired furniture such as bedside tables, sofas, coffee tables and dining sets are used in some display units to visually enhance the size of the rooms. Home staging companies offer smaller furniture for existing home sellers to visually enlarge their properties. Off-the-plan properties for sale may also have smaller-than-usual furniture drawn in floor plans to mislead potential buyers into thinking they have a spacious property. Another trick for enhancing space is the use of mirrors. When mirrors are used on walls, it is wise to check if there are any space shortcomings in the property. It is always a good idea to measure the rooms whenever practicable to avoid post-purchase surprises.
The Illusion of Quality
Selling properties with furniture provides buyers an opportunity to imagine how they can utilise the spaces. Carefully selected high quality furniture has the ability to transform drab to fab. They can distract the attention away from low quality floor coverings and the cheapest window furnishing. It is important therefore to imagine the room without the furniture so as not to get carried away. After all, the furniture does not normally come with the sale of the property. There are instances where vendors may sell the furniture with the property, but these are rare.
Unsightly views are often blocked away by half-opened blinds or the usage of translucent window materials during inspection times. Views directly to the neighbour’s windows, clothesline, main roads and bin areas are usually hidden from sight. Draw down the curtain and open the blinds of rooms to see where the window is looking into, or if there are any views the vendor is trying to hide.
Car Space Trap
Often, vendors are advised to vacate the garage or the carport to make the space look bigger. The last thing the vendor wants the buyer to find out is how difficult it is to get in or out from the car in the car space. Some of the car spaces on title are so small that it is possible to park a car in but difficult for the driver to get out. In some houses, the driveway is in an awkward curve or slope, which is not ideal. Some driveways are so tight that driving in and reversing can be a frustrating daily experience, should you buy the property. Undesirable car spaces often deter potential buyers, hence it is best to check dimensions before making an offer.
Open Time Tricks
For certain properties, it is advisable to do inspections at different times of the day to have a feel of the streetscape and neighbourhood other than the allocated inspection times. Some properties are allocated a particular inspection time to hopefully prevent buyers from noticing the busier traffic, the cars parking right in the front yard during office hours or the crowded school hours when parents pick up their children. Some newly constructed homes are only open during daylight hours to prevent buyers from noticing the lack of interior lighting provided. Some brand new million-dollar builder’s homes have only one halogen down light in each bedroom, making the rooms very dim during the night.
Ambience Or Cover Up?
Have you noticed that sometimes you walk into a property and there is Jazz music playing or the television/radio is switched on? Most of the time this technique is used to drown out undesirable external noise such as those from traffic or construction. If possible, make a request to the real estate agent to have these audio distractions turned off so you can determine the extent of the noise level, if any. What about those enchanting fragrance from candles and air fresheners? Some vendors are genuine aromatherapy aficionados. Other times, however, these are gimmicks to get buyers in the mood and affect the way they feel emotionally about the space. They are a nice touch but avoid being carried away by these mood-controlling scents.