There are many houses on the market that are currently sitting vacant all across the country. Many are foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties, but thousands upon thousands that are owned by traditional sellers who are current on their mortgage and are trying to sell the property for one reason or another.
Many property owners are choosing to downsize in this tough resell market. Some owners are choosing to upsize, and take advantage of the favorable interest rates and lower home prices to move up into a bigger home. And there are the people who move and relocate for job, family, health, or retirement purposes. For many reasons, there are countless numbers of property owners in today’s market who own 2 houses, with one sitting vacant and listed for sale.
Vacant homes attract problems. From break ins, to vandalism, to an unkempt yard and bad landscaping, missing AC units, utility costs, broken pipes that go unfounded for a long time, and others, there are many reasons not to want a vacant house sitting for too long.
Not to mention there are certain cities across the country where vacancies are more prevalent:
But there are real options to consider for your sellers with vacant houses. Here are some viable solutions to the vacant house not selling headache faced by many:
Rent the house
You’ll need a standard lease agreement applicable in the State your property is in. Or your seller can hire an experienced real estate agent or leasing agent to help lease up the house as well. It’s important the owner has someone who is experienced in leasing (and licensed in most cases) complete the lease agreement and any other applicable documents. Owners tend to want to save money and do things themselves, only to do them the wrong way and subsequently lose money and time. Plus, if an owner doesn’t follow the landlord-tenant laws in their respective State, the owner could become the defendant in a lawsuit even when the tenant doesn’t do what he or she is supposed to.
Do a lease with option to buy
Similar to the lease agreement, a lease with option to buy includes the lease plus a separate purchase addendum. The purchase addendum gives the tenants the option to buy the house they are living in for an agreed upon price and within a certain time frame, usually running concurrent with the lease agreement. If the tenants don’t exercise their option to purchase the house prior to the end of the agreement, they can either move out, or renew the agreement with the owner.
Many people call a lease with option to buy a lease purchase, rent to own, and other misused terms. I specifically use “lease with option to buy” because I want to make it clear the tenants are still tenants, not “property owners”. If the tenant doesn’t pay, the owner would evict just as he or she would on a regular lease agreement.
Contact a staging company such as Showhomes
I’ve professionally used a company called Showhomes on many of my vacant listed properties in the Greater Kansas City area. I know Showhomes (and there are probably some other similar companies) is in many major metropolitan areas across the country. I’ve found the benefits of using a company such as Showhomes are many.
One, there is no upfront fee. Two, the vacant house gets both staged and occupied for the duration of the contract period (usually until the house sells). Three, someone else is paying for utilities and yard care. This is HUGE if your vacant house is in a winter climate! Fourth, there are no long term contracts with tenants; rather Showhomes uses home managers who are independent contractors with very short term agreements. I know from experience a well staged and well cared for house sells quicker and for more money than a vacant one! I have personally had good experiences using Showhomes.
To find out more information about Showhomes go to www.showhomes.com
(And no, I am not affiliated with Showhomes nor a paid spokesperson, just offering personal and professional experiences I’ve had)
Good luck with getting those vacant listings sold!