10 Dirty Tricks Home Sellers Play on Buyers

Home-buying is the biggest investment most families will make in their lives. With so much at stake financially and for the sake of a happy home life, it’s important that a buyer understand the nature of home sales. Knowing some of the tricks of the trade that sellers will use to move their property will put you in a better position to make a sound decision. Here are 10 tricks that home sellers play on buyers:

  1. A fresh coat of paint does wonders for covering up scratched, mildewed or damaged walls. Be wary of fresh paint; look closely at surfaces that have recently been painted for potential problems.
  1. Sparsely furnished homes create an illusion of having more space. A home that might not be big enough for your things can look significantly larger than it is if it’s half empty. It’s better to work with numbers than with visual impressions here, so take measurements.
  1. Turning on all the lights can also give a false impression of spaciousness. It can also cover up the fact that some rooms don’t get adequate natural light during the day, and therefore require lighting all the time. Turn off the lights to see how the rooms look without them.
  1. Conversely, some rooms are dimly lit, and are made to look cozy when in fact the intent is to mask unsightly features like bad walls or flooring. Now it’s time to turn up some lights, open blinds, and make sure you get a good look at these rooms.
  1. Cookies left out on a kitchen counter are meant to make you feel at home. To paraphrase an old saying, the fastest way to home buyers’ heart is through their bellies. Have a cookie, but have a good look around, too.
  1. Pet odors, cigarette smoke and cooking smells that would usually permeate a home are typically masked with air fresheners. If there is an overpowering fragrance in the home, then chances are it’s covering up another overpowering odor that’s not so appealing.
  1. Potted plants throughout the exterior enhances curb appeal, but it could also be covering up something else. If the plants are all potted, it may be because the soil on the property is poor and will not allow the buyer to grow her own plants or vegetables.
  1. Floor coverings sometimes are used to do just that – cover up. New vinyl on a bathroom floor could be hiding leaky plumbing or water stains. This leads to fungus and wood rot issues in your sub-flooring if not dealt with quickly.
  1. Staging is a popular trick with sellers. They will sometimes hire professionals to stage the home in preparation for selling. This is a kind of home decorating technique that doesn’t add any value to the home, but provides a superficial boost to its appearance, like flower arrangements, pillows, throw blankets, etc.
  1. Timing is everything. Some sellers choose optimal times of day, or days of the week, that give a misleading impression of the home or the neighborhood. Sore points like traffic issues, noisy neighbors and annoying sun glare can be avoided with careful scheduling, to the detriment of the buyer.