There are so many things that a real estate agent, professional stager, or homeowner can do to make their place more desirable to a potential buyer.  We’ve all heard about the smell of freshly baked cookies as a surefire way to entice offers.  When it comes to things like that sweet scent of vanilla, all is fair in love and real estate, but what about when these little niceties are hiding potential problems within a property.  Sometimes it is love at first sight when it comes to the place of your dreams, however before you sign on the dotted lines, here are four things that might be hiding other potential problems and what you can do about it.

Wall to Wall Carpeting
Opinions on wall to wall carpeting vary, but they certainly hide what’s underneath, particularly any damage.  If it’s the simple matter of an area rug, you can easily lift it up and take a look at the current state of the floor beneath (it could be hiding damage to a tile or other imperfections).  If it is broadloom that’s a little bit more difficult.  When floors are in great shape some agents will have a corner pulled up so you can take a look at the hidden oak floors.  It never hurts to ask if there’s anywhere you can look at the floor, but prospective buyer can’t really take an exacto knife to the floor until after their closing date.

Scented Candles
Scented candles, air fresheners, and incense are lovely, but they could be hiding other scents within a home.  When present in basements particularly be cautious about dampness or mold.

Brand new wiring
Brand new wiring in specific areas may be clues to an attempt to fix previous electrical issues, particularly knob and tube.  However, if the owner knows there is knob and tube wiring they are obligated to tell you, if you ask (click here to find what should be disclosed by sellers).  Ask the right questions, and to be safe make sure you hire an inspector you trust before you finalize your offer.

Newly renovated spaces
Bring a buddy who knows their way around a renovation.  Corners cut on things like tiling, caulking in a bathroom could be warning signs for other jobs “half” done, other household neglect, or the cheapest possible materials to complete a job.  Requesting to see copies of permits for new renovations where applicable is also within your right.

Remember all homes have their imperfections, but a little disappointment before buying is a lot better than discovering something far more costly and complicated down the road!

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