House Hunting Tips – Beware of Excessive Curb Appeal

House Hunting tips

There’s no shortage of properties with great curb appeal in Australia. Australian real estate buyers can have their pick of modest starter homes, grand executive homes, or coveted vacation properties. Whatever your heart desires (or your budget affords you), house hunting can be a lot of fun.  But…make sure you can look past subtle curb appeal tricks so you really do get the house you’re expecting to get (for a reasonable price).

Home staging is done, in theory, to help prospective buyers envision living in that home from a decorating, cleanliness, and furniture placement perspective. But in some cases, things can be done to deceive you into thinking a home is worth more than it’s truly worth.

Home staging has become a profitable enterprise.  A professional comes in and helps a homeowner prep a house for the best possible outcome prior to their open house event. Things are done and arranged in a way to appeal to people looking for a home and things are done in a way to help the homeowner get as high an offer as possible. There are known things that can reduce or increase a home’s appeal and perceived value and by playing on those aspects, a home staging expert knows which areas to target to make the home seem more welcoming, appealing, and valuable.

House Tips

When you look for a home to purchase, here are some house tips you’ll want to watch for and look past…in order to help you decide whether or not you really want the home and how much you’re willing to pay.

  • Aroma.  A home staging expert will probably tell homeowners not to cook fish for a week before an open house. The way a home smells has distinct impact on browsers.  Baking smells sell. So do fresh aromas such as pine or lemon. But when you enter a home, be suspect of too overpowering an aroma to be sure the owner isn’t trying to mask a musky, damp smell. Always look for signs of water damage, regardless of scent.
  • Cleanliness. A clean home is likely to fetch a much higher offer. The interior and exterior of a house are often polished to perfection in the hopes of getting a great offer. Don’t let tidiness cloud your judgment, though. Continue to look at the neighbourhood for average sales rates and look for flaws that cleanliness cannot hide.
  • Fresh paint or wallpaper. Sure, a fresh coat of paint or a fresh layer of wallpaper spruces a place up but don’t let decor alone determine whether you want to offer asking price. Look closely at the condition of the walls. Often, wallpaper or textured  finishes can be chosen to hide flaws and increase perceived value. A few hundred dollars in decorating supplies shouldn’t necessarily cost you $25K more. Look past the surface when determining value.
  • Over staging.  Some stager’s make a house look like a model home with rented furnishings that elevate the look and feel of the house. Don’t let it dazzle you. Instead, try to imagine your own things in the space and know your numbers in terms of value for the area and property type guide you.

Money Pit

Not every homeowner is trying to sell you a Money Pit but being able to see past little tricks designed to play on your desires can help you make a wise decision and see anything that should concern you enough to rethink your offer or that could alert you to putting a clause related to a defect in the agreement. Whether you’re looking for Melbourne real estate or a piece of property elsewhere, it’s a great idea to get as educated as possible before taking the plunge.


Richard Colum

Out there to help people in Real estate


6 Responses to “House Hunting Tips – Beware of Excessive Curb Appeal”

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  1. Cade says:

    Hi Richard,
    Your right about being aware of the some of the tricks agents or home owners will try in order squeeze more profit out of selling properties.
    It is worth inspecting a few houses before you buy, and you will begin to become aware of some of the things that will cost you extra money in the initial purchase of the property and ongoing maintenance.

  2. Renee says:

    Hi Richard,

    thanks for your tips on house hunting and the “curb appeal”.
    It is interesting how our subconscious is lured into influencing us and how some people have figured that out and make it a business, very clever 😉

    Next time I am looking at a house I will definitely keep you tips in mind!

  3. Hilary says:

    Great information Richard. Yes, it’s true what a difference it makes to walk into a place, where home staging has been applied. There really is something much more appealing about walking into a house that smells of freshly baked bread!

    For me personally, I just go on gut feeling. Sometimes you walk into a house, and the energy doesn’t feel right.

    Thank you for your advise, I will certainly keep this in mind when we’re next on the house hunting trail.

  4. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  5. Thank you, I have recently been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far.

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