You Have Moved Out – The House is Vacant – Now What?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Brandywine Valley PARS273421 & De Lic.

Myrl, has a superb list for those selelrs who have moved out of their house and into their new one. When it's on the market, follow these tips and you will get your hosue sold.

Original content by Myrl Jeffcoat



Without a doubt, this housing cycle more than any other I've experienced as a Realtor these past 30+ years, has produced a larger percentage of vacant properties listed For Sale.  In addition to the avalanche of REO or bank owned properties; and number of homes being marketed as short-sales, are folks, who need to move for employment opportunities, and other reasons.  They must leave their existing home behind.

Real Estate professionals say, vacant homes often sell slowly, and for less money than well furnished similar properties  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.




Empty homes often present an echo when you walk through them, and because doors and windows aren’t opened to allow air to circulate, odors can accumulate. 

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!

Real Living Great West Real Estate
(916) 635-0420



Comments (9)

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Happy New Year, Janice!   IMHO * #1 should be to notify homeowner insurance carrier that the home is VACANT.  Many carriers are cancelling or REDUCING coverage for vacant homes in case there are leaks, power outages, etc.  To that end #6 on your list should be #2.....I just rented a home that had been vacant for 90 days.  Allstate did an inspection with photos when the property was listed, notified the owners that their coverage would be reduced after it was vacant 90 days and now that I have a tenant, they want a copy of the renters' lease.


Jan 01, 2012 10:36 PM
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

I agree Wallace

Jan 01, 2012 10:45 PM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty Evolution - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

I like the tips. One thing I have done in vacant homes is to put an air purifier in the property. It keeps the air circulating, assists in odor control and is not expensive to run.

I also agree with notifing the homeowners insurance as well as the mortgage holder that the property is vacant.

Jan 01, 2012 11:04 PM
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Good tips and advice to ensure the vacant home doesn't look too sterile. Furniture definitely provides an element of scale and adequate lighting is important too. I like Doug's idea of an air purifier - vacant homes and stagnant air can produce odors that are immediately off-putting.

Jan 01, 2012 11:11 PM
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert


Excellent tips, thanks for sharing. These may seem like a pain to the home owner but they don't realize how important these can actually be.


Great tip on the air purifier! I had not heard that one before.

:) Matt

Jan 02, 2012 03:40 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Janice - Thank you so much for the reblog.  It is greatly appreciated!  Hopefully, it will help educate sellers of vacant properties, to better prepare their homes for more successful sales.  I also like Doug's suggestion about the air purifier.  Have a GREAT 2012! 

Jan 02, 2012 07:31 AM
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Doug, they are great tips! Happy New YEar!

Jan 02, 2012 09:30 PM
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Charlie and Matt: yes, the air purifier is a good one.

Jan 02, 2012 09:31 PM
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Myrl: So glad I could reblog! It is a great list of tips!

Jan 02, 2012 09:31 PM