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Buyer beware: Tricks vendors can use to sell their property

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It’s no secret that many sellers spruce up their property when it’s time to put it on the market. While some of these tricks of the trade might be an attempt to pull at your heartstrings, others could be more circumspect.

Setting the stage

We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but first impressions play a big part in the home buying process. So it’s unsurprising that many vendors turn to some not-so-secret tricks to present their home in the best light possible.

And who can blame them? Highlighting a property’s strengths and downplaying its weaknesses can help increase a home’s appeal.

Common staging tricks to look out for include:

  • Flowers and scented candles to make a home smell welcoming
  • Mirrors to create the illusion of space
  • Decluttering to make a home seem larger
  • Hiring high-end furniture to sell the dream of living there
  • Newly redecorated rooms

But, remember, things might not always be as they seem

It’s easy to get blinded by a well-staged home. Sometimes, though, staging tricks are used to hide major flaws and potential deal-breakers. Keep your eyes open and watch out for potential red flags including: 

Lights blazing in every room

If you’re inspecting a home in broad daylight, be wary if every light in the property is switched on. While the vendor might want the rooms to seem brighter and bigger, it could also be a sign that the property receives little natural light.

As you probably don’t want to live in a dark and gloomy home, flick the switches off as you walk around.

Furniture and decor that seems out of place

Large items of furniture and rugs are sometimes used to hide damaged and stained areas. So don’t be afraid to look under rugs and peer behind the sofa to see what’s really going on.

Fresh paint that stands out from the rest of the home

There’s nothing wrong with vendors giving walls a fresh lick of paint before listing their home for sale. After all, new paint can be an easy way to transform and update a room. But, be more suspicious if the vendor has only painted one small area or wall. This could be a sign that they are covering up a more serious issue such as water damage, mildew or mould.

Overpowering ‘nice’ smells

A little fragrance goes a long way, especially if it has come straight out of a bottle. So, if you walk into an open home and get hit by an overpowering ‘nice’ smell, be on your guard. While potpourri and scented candles may make a space smell inviting, they could also be masking a smell that’s not as sweet, such as pet odours, sewage and cigarette smoke.

Ditch the rose-coloured glasses

Buying a home is often an emotional decision, but don’t let your feelings lead you astray. You need to focus on the bare bones of the property, rather than its trimmings – so arm yourself with a tape measure and ask hard questions if anything seems off during an open home.

If you do end up falling in love with the home, it can be a good idea to arrange a pre-purchase pest and building inspection so you know what you’re getting into, warts and all.

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