How to Tell if the Seller is Staging to Conceal Issues

A smart seller will have their home staged for the market in order to showcase their property in the best light to prospective buyers. But as good as a home may look, it’s always possible that there may be issues that are being covered up. In fact, effective staging can minimize the look of flaws by helping buyers focus on more positive features of a home.

Most sellers aren’t trying to be deceitful, but are rather simply trying to make their properties show better by employing home staging techniques. In fact, sellers have a duty to disclose any known defects of their homes before a buyer agrees to make a purchase. But there may be the odd time when a seller may be willingly trying to conceal problems with specific staging strategies.

The question remains, is the seller trying to hide something with their home staging efforts? Here are a few ways to tell.

Strange Furniture Placement

If you notice that a chair, table, or ottoman is placed in an odd spot, check behind and underneath the piece to see if there is something hidden. Sometimes furniture that seems misplaced can be indicative of something awry, so make sure to check the area out in great detail.

Piles of Boxes

It could be that the sellers are just preparing for the big move, which would explain why there are boxes piled up in certain areas of the home. But these piles could also be purposely placed in order to hide something behind them. If possible, take a peek behind these boxes to see if there is a possible issue being hidden.

Fresh Paint

It is often recommended that sellers give their home a coat of paint to help freshen up the interior and neutralize its color palette. But sometimes a new coat of paint can hide something serious underneath. There could be a water problem in the home that may have shown up in the form of discolored, bubbling walls. In this case, a coat of paint would cover up the evidence.

But there could still be remnants of damage despite a new paint job. If there are spots that seem a little suspicious, take a closer look to see if the wall is bubbling and the paint is easily chipped off. You can paint over to disguise discoloration, but any cracking of the paint or drywall beneath will be much more difficult to hide.

Wall Coverings

Just about every home has artwork and photos hanging on its walls, so there’s usually nothing odd about this component of staging. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something behind such wall coverings that the seller may be trying to hide. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look behind anything hanging on the walls to uncover any potential damage that you’ll end up being on the hook to repair when the deal is sealed.

Area Rugs

Again, area rugs are just one of many decorative components in a home, but what lies beneath them? It would be particularly suspicious of an area rug is placed in a seemingly odd location and not centered properly. Since area rugs are not affixed to the ground like wall-to-wall carpeting, there’s nothing stopping you from lifting them up to check out what’s underneath.

Background Music

Perhaps sellers are trying to create a lovely ambiance within their homes while buyers are visiting by playing some tunes. But that classical music or sounds of nature could be just a ploy to drown out any other noise that may surround the home, such as traffic from a nearby road or train, noise pollution from airplanes passing overhead every few minutes, or the annoying neighbors next door who are constantly making a racket.

The Bottom Line

Home staging is specifically meant to help sellers present their homes in the most positive way possible and help buyers see the true potential in the place. What they’re not meant to do is purposefully hide defects that should otherwise be made known to an interested buyer. Unfortunately, there may be times when home staging tactics can be employed to cover up any flaws in a home. Luckily, your agent will be experienced enough to know how to spot defects in a home, and your home inspector will be able to provide even further assistance in detecting problems before you finalize a deal.