“Do the research. Ask questions.”— Katherine Johnson
Buyer beware! As a home stager, it may seem counterintuitive for me to offer this advice, but if you’re currently a home seller, logic dictates that at some point you may be on the other side of the transaction as a buyer yourself. And you need to be cautious of potential home buyer distractions when you finally find a space you love.
Great home staging should enhance all the positive attributes of a home and should never, ever be intentionally deceptive or hide serious problems. But sometimes the presentation is just so darn good that you lose yourself a little and forget to critically examine aspects of the house that may be important to you as a buyer.
So how do you do your “due diligence” when you finally find a house you love?
How to Avoid Home Buyer Distractions
- Distinguish between issues you can and cannot control. Does the home fits your needs? For example, does it have plenty of bedrooms? Is it in the right school district? Do you need a big backyard? Don’t focus too much on furniture, paint, and other variables that can be easily changed or removed once you move in.
- Do your neighborhood research. I don’t care how friendly the neighbors are or how well-maintained the surrounding lawns appear to be, check with local and state authorities to find out what type of crimes and activities occur in the neighborhood. Please don’t wait until moving day to discover that a convicted sex offender lives next door.
- Bring a tape measure. And while you’re at it, keep a list handy of your major furniture pieces (or the ones trickiest to place) along with their corresponding dimensions. Not sure if your piano will fit in that space? Is Suzie’s bed too big for that bedroom? Don’t try to eyeball it — use your tape measure to be sure of it.
- Order your own inspection report. Most buyers’ agents will recommend this anyway. It’s important for you to learn from a more objective, qualified source than the home seller what issues may be going on with the house you fallen in love with. There will likely be many items on the report of little consequence — building codes change often and many issues are simple, DIY repair jobs — but larger structural and mechanical problems need to be identified and possibly negotiated so that you can make a fully informed decision about what you’re jumping into.
Staging appeals to buyers’ emotions, not their logic. And as in any case where emotion overrides logic, it might cause you to miss a few things. Don’t allow yourself to be seduced by a pretty house — (well, ok, you can be seduced by one…but do your homework, too).
How We Can Help
Need a recommendation on a fabulous buyer’s agent who can help you navigate the buying process? Get in touch with us! And if you need to sell your own home first, we can definitely help with that! Take a look below at how we’re helping home sellers all over the country!
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