When a person (or real estate agent) is staging a home for sale they want to project a place and image where the buyer can envision themselves.  This generally means that the home is presented in “interview best” in hope to gain the most interest, and profit from the sale.  The removal of excessive knickknacks, family photos, and clutter on counters and shelves are all simple ways to make a place seem clean and accessible to many viewers.  It is also very common for people to complete upgrades on their home before putting it up on the market, however there are certain decorating and renovation “fixes” that the buyer should investigate further just to make sure that they aren’t masking any underlying issues.

Here are 5 things that you should consider when viewing a home you are considering making an offer on.

  1. A fresh coat of paint
    New paint is a simple, clean, and a great way for homeowners to show off their place without scuff marks or fingerprints. Make sure the paint isn’t hiding  water damage or mold (this is also something you can ask your home inspector about if you make an offer).
  2. Candles, Incense or other scented products
    We’ve all heard about a person baking cookies to make a home smell great for potential buyers, but too many scented products in a home could be a warning sign for a scent that people are trying to hide.
  3. Carpeting
    It’s always nice to know what’s beneath huge area rugs or wall to wall carpeting, best case scenario: it could be beautiful hardwood.  It never hurts to ask your agent to find out what’s under the broadloom or to take a look and see if floors need to be refinished.
  4. Dehumidifiers and fans
    A dehumidifier or fans on in a basement could be an attempt to mask or remedy dampness.  If you’re concerned, take a look in the basement and look for signs of leaking or repetitive flooding (this is another area where your home inspector can help)
  5. Newly renovated anything
    The listing says the owner just updated the kitchen or bathroom, and that’s fantastic.  Take a moment or two to examine the craftsmanship of the job: Are the tiles even, and is everything sealed okay, what about the quality of the materials used?  If there are a number of corners cut here, this could be an indicator of other shortcuts when it comes to home repair, upkeep and maintenance.