According to a report just out, it is too easy to be fooled by home staging. Home staging is a term that we have become familiar with in this recent Real Estate Market downturn. It is the idea that we try to create the best impression of our home when selling the house. It used to be just run the vacuum over it and do the dishes but nowadays there is a whole set of rules to follow!
The idea is, that a staged home stands out from all the others and therefore gets sold more quickly. It certainly can be carried to extremes with reports of sellers hiring storage units to cart their junk off to. Larger items of furniture are encouraged to be put into storage by professional 'home stagers' so that the house looks bigger and more spacious.
Another instruction is to remove anything personal like photographs, so that the prospective buyer can visualize the house as their own. Closets are de-cluttered so that they look more spacious and all bathroom paraphernalia is supposed to be gone from the counter top! Garbage bins are even removed and hidden from sight.
However it has been suggested that home staging can also be deliberately used to hide a multitude of sins!
The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents has suggested that as much as 82% of buyers are sidetracked from the important issues by a well-staged house. This organization also concedes that home staging nets more cash and faster sales - so it works!
Some of the underhand tricks used in staging can include using smaller furniture to make a room look larger, placing rugs over damaged parts of the floor, or using curtains to hide rotting sills. Also specified is the practice of putting a cheap paint job on to cover defects. Your Realtor is legally obligated to let you know of any defects, but only if he actually knows about them!
Please keep in mind it's common courtesy to make sure that a home is clean and presentable when buyers are viewing the home. Some people just live in such an organized state that some homes that appear staged are just owned by superhumans who somehow are able to keep a home impeccable with 3 kids and a dog. Your Real Estate Agent typically knows the difference because of the number of homes they view and will share that with you.
On the other hand, you need to be able to look past the reality that most of us mere mortals live in where there might be dirty dishes in the sink or laundry in the hamper.
Buyers are urged by the NAEBA to be cautious and to remember that when the house is sold, the stage is taken away. The tricks of home staging do not improve the floor plan, or the square footage of the home or the quality of the neighborhood, and these are the qualities that you will be re-selling at a later date.