Beware of sellers trying to give you the slip by Home-Staging

Photo Credit: Real Estaging, Creative Commons License

First impressions matter, and that is even more true when it comes to houses. In fact, according to research, the buyer makes the decision of whether he/she likes the house in the first six seconds, and many sellers are trying to exploit this behavior by home-staging.

Home-staging is essentially beautifying your house so as to make it look better for the buyer. While earlier, you could just give everything a wipe and call it a day, nowadays sellers are going to new lengths to impress buyers. Some employ devious tricks like using smaller furniture to create the illusion of a larger house. Others remove personalized items, giving the buyer a blank slate for the buyer to visualize living there. Mundane items like garbage cans are removed or hidden and physical flaws and blemishes are covered using rugs, paintings and curtains. Sometimes, defects are painted over, and while they don't disappear, they don't stand out either.

Indeed, this tactic has been working so well that sellers are using it to hide the house's flaws. To give you some sense of perspective, here's a startling statistic: The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) has found that up to 82% of buyers were distracted from flaws of a well-staged house. Plus, staged houses often fetch higher prices in the market.  The law states that the realtor should inform you of house defects, but only if he/she knows about them, which gives them plenty of space to exploit you.

The NAEBA encourages buyers to be more vigilant when buying houses, since these cover-ups won't be there when you buy the house. Staging is just a way to distract you from the defects, and doesn't actually solve the problems, as you will come to realize when you buy a well-staged house. You must keep in mind that what you see isn't always what you get, and spotting problems beforehand means that you can make a better investment, both for the present and the future.