2011 Homebuying and Selling
Home for sale
real estate
Homebuyers, banish the drama of staging

Morton says buyers should look at the quality of the kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities and wood trim. "A home that has been solidly built may be a better buy even if it is older, because a cheaply built home will need more work," Morton says.

Check the lighting

"Come back to the property at different times of day and evening to see how it looks," Green says. "You may not notice that a house doesn't have any overhead lighting until you see it at night."

Utter says buyers should open and close every window to be sure they work as well as to check on the view and the size of the window. Home stagers sometimes place larger curtains over a small basement window to make buyers assume that window is bigger.

Try the sniff test

Green says a musty smell in the home could mean there are issues with moisture, but even good scents can indicate a problem. "The overuse of air fresheners can mean that the owners are covering up a bad smell from a damp basement or a dirty fireplace," Green says.

Arrive prepared

Green suggests that buyers bring a notebook, a tape measure, a flashlight and a camera on their house-hunting trips.

"Think about where you will keep your suitcases if you travel a lot, where you will store your bike or your kid's sports equipment," Green says.

Green reminds buyers that they don't have to do any of this unless they really like a house and are seriously considering making an offer.

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