Your Vacant House is Listed - Now to Get It Sold

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

You are a seller, who has moved away for employment or other reasons. Perhaps, you have moved into another home, and left your vacant home behind.

Real estate professionals generally know vacant homes often sell slowly, and for less money than a like property, which is well furnished. That's because many folks buy on emotion and have a hard time warming up to an empty house.  A lived-in home can be much more appealing.

There is often an echo when you walk through empty houses, and odors can accumulate because doors and windows aren't opened to allow air to circulate.  

So, you are marketing a vacant home, what can you do to create an edge from all other vacant properties listed For Sale?

(1) Leave draperies and window coverings on the windows when you move.  In most cases they will not fit your new home anyway.  And leaving them in place, helps to muffle the echo heard in vacant houses.

(2) Deep clean and paint the house.  When homeowners move, they take pictures and move furniture to take with them.  This usually leaves discolorations on the walls, and flaws not previously noticed are now visible.  Paint is inexpensive, and often pays dividends in sales price.  Use neutral colors, which will go with furniture, prospective homebuyers may have. 

(3) Light fixtures should be left throughout the house.  Lighting helps the house seem more welcoming.  If you have 60 watt bulbs in the fixtures, consider increasing the watts to 75 or even 100, if the lamp or fixture will accommodate it.  Rooms seem larger and warmer with more light. 

(4) If you can leave some of your furniture behind, it is worth doing.  Make certain it is of reasonably good quality, and not old furniture you were planning on hauling off to the dumps.  Furniture in a marketed home can help a homebuyer put things in perspective.  Furniture provides an element of scale to a room.  

(5) Consider a Home Staging service, or furniture rental.  If you don't have enough furniture for your new home and this existing home you re selling, staging or furniture rental can make a great difference.

(6) Only rent out your vacant home if you have no financial recourse, but to do so.  Generally typical tenants do not keep houses in "show-to-sell" condition, nor are they always the most cooperative in allowing access for showings. 

If you are selling a vacant home, be certain to communicate with your real estate professional about other tips to selling your home!  And Good Luck to YOU!

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. June Piper-Brandon 01/28/2011 09:02 AM
  2. Cindy Jones 02/02/2011 01:06 PM
Topic:
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Rainmaker
204,429
Candy Miles-Crocker
Online Real Estate Agent Training - Chevy Chase, DC
Realtor - Real-Life Real Estate Training

Myrl, I believe that most buyers are buying a "lifestyle".  It the property is vacant, many buyers have a tough time envisioning themselves living there.  Staging can willing help the buyer "see" themselves living there.

Jan 27, 2011 02:33 AM #27
Rainer
269,330
Steve Merson 512 412 1621
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX
CNE, e-PRO

Hi Myrl,

Thank you for that excellent post. I always, always, always get my vacant listings staged. After all, it is worth pointing out to sellers that the cost of staging is going to be much less than the cost of a price reduction!!!

Steve 

Jan 27, 2011 02:41 AM #28
Rainer
7,356
Eileen Taylor, USC™
Eileen Taylor Home & Design & The UltimateStager Academy™ - Mississauga, ON
Certified UltimateStager™

Hi Myrl, great post!!

Staging a vacant property makes ALL the difference in the the sale of a home. Without furniture and accessories (especially lighting), a vacant property allows for all the flaws in the home to be right out in the open. There is nothing to divert the buyer's eyes. They will notice every little crack or stain. I think by leaving a property vacant, it puts the home seller in a vulnerable position. 

I'm sure in a lot of cases, the home seller is trying to save money by not staging. But are they really saving money in the end? How much longer will their home sit on the market without an offer?

It's not nescssary for the whole house to be staged to make it look appealing and welcoming. Just by staging the principal rooms, for example, the living and dining rooms, kitchen and master bedroom enables the buyer to get some sense that this house could be their home. In addition to staging, keeping the heat on in the winter and the air on in the summer makes for a comfortable and pleasant environment. 

 

Eileen Taylor (Eileen Taylor Home & Design)  

Jan 27, 2011 02:57 AM #29
Ambassador
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Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Myrl - another great post full of valuable information! When you rent your home out it makes it MUCH more difficult to sell!!!

Jan 27, 2011 03:41 AM #30
Rainmaker
2,189,557
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

And call your insurance agent!! Because a vacant home is typically covered by insurance for 30 days. Vandalism is on the rise. They're even swiping the AC units out of the yard. Vacant homes are easy targets.

Jan 27, 2011 04:01 AM #31
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Michael - I'm glad you liked them!

Ann - It's great that there is new carpet and the heat has been left on.  Good luck in getting it swiftly SOLD! 

Lisa - I couldn't agree with you more.  When I purchased my own home years ago, it was one of those listings that was terribly cluttered.  It had horrible wallpapers that clashed with the old tangerine colored shag carpet on the floor.  I'm in this business, but it took me 5 times of viewing this house, to divorce myself from the clutter and condition, and have courage to make an offer.  Finally, I came in with a piece of graph paper when the sellers weren't home.  I moved their junk from the couch and sat down, and penciled in my own furniture to the floor plan.  I then created a "To Do" list of things needing to be completed before I moved in.  It included painting, new carpet, etc.  But basically, it was all just cosmetic stuff.  I went ahead and bought the house.  Imagine my glee when I stripped back the old carpet, and found near perfect hardwood floors beneath.  With the old wallpapers stripped, some spackle and paint, I had a great house in short time, which surprised even me.

Jan 27, 2011 05:42 AM #32
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Margie - I am always amazed at where the destruction can appear.  Holes in the doors to the Master Bedroom, are pretty easy to figure out!  But some of the other items are sometimes a mystery:-)

Anna - I am a strong proponent of staging for vacant houses, for those clients that can afford it.

Ana - Soap and paint are relatively cheap compared to the huge dividends they pay.

Jan 27, 2011 05:46 AM #34
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Brent and Deb - I could never figure out why folks would make off with the curtains and drapes.  I can understand it in some instances when curtains match bed quilts or comforters, etc.  But still, those curtains will rarely go in the new house.

Candy - You're absolutely right.  Many buyers consider themselves buying a "lifestyle" and they need to be able to picture it when viewing properties.

Jan 27, 2011 05:48 AM #35
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Steve - I love your statement, "the cost of staging is going to be much less than the cost of a price reduction!!!"  I'm going to clone it for my own listing presentations.

Eileen - You make important points about staging the principle rooms, even if not all rooms are staged.

Jan 27, 2011 05:51 AM #36
Rainmaker
342,085
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Hi Myrl - great points for those older properties, and especially for "estate sales", which seldom receive the necessary attention and receive very low offers, if any!  Have a great day!  Julie

Jan 27, 2011 05:57 AM #37
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Barbara-Jo, In all my years in this business, I can only recall once when a tenant was a plus when selling a home.  I have no idea why this particular lady was so cooperative, but she was.  She kept the home clean, allowed a lock-box, allowed me to hold it open, and was a jewel!  There was one thing however, the seller refunded her back one month of rent, plus her cleaning deposit, upon close of escrow, to help her with her move.

Jan 27, 2011 05:58 AM #38
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Elizabeth - That is an extremely important point!  Usually Homeowners policies only cover property for 30 days in vacancy.  After that they convert to standard fire coverage, and that coverage doesn't cover vandalism, broken pipes that flood the house, etc. 

Jan 27, 2011 06:01 AM #39
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Erica - The slowing of the process can be true when it comes to negotiating contracts.  Tenants in California are required to be given 30 days notice.

Jan 27, 2011 06:02 AM #40
Rainmaker
2,519,081
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Julia - Here in Sacramento, with so many REO and short-sale homes being vacant, anything that traditional sellers can do to make their vacant listings appear more appealing helps.

Jan 27, 2011 07:03 AM #41
Rainmaker
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Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Well said, Myrl.  A vacant home is so often cold, dark, and too quiet.  It needs some color and light to be welcoming.

Jan 27, 2011 07:36 AM #42
Rainmaker
1,214,712
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Myrl--I missed this a few days ago.  It reminds me of my mother's now empty house.  Yes, we did many things you mentioned in your post.  A few rooms are staged, walls repainted, drapes & mini-blinds are open.  Heat is turned down, but not freezing cold. 

Now I just want a buyer to write a contract.

Jan 27, 2011 12:09 PM #43
Rainer
145,195
Jeanne Kozak
RE/MAX In Action - Martinsburg, WV
REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA

We used to do staging and some furnishings for vacant homes, but there is too much vandalism and theft with all the foreclosure out there, it is just not safe to do anymore. Last time I did, someone stole the towels...good grief!

Jan 27, 2011 12:49 PM #44
Rainmaker
528,731
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

All great suggestions!  I definitely believe that paint and deep cleaning makes a huge difference! 

Jan 27, 2011 02:29 PM #45
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Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Myrl following these tips will get the home sold faster and for more.

Jan 27, 2011 03:09 PM #46
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Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Myrl...Staging makes such a difference as do all of the other suggestion you have made.  It is not always possible for the sellers to pay for staging but it certainly can help. Cleanliness and keeping it as bright as possible certainly helps too.

Kate

Jan 28, 2011 02:07 PM #47
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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