Tips for Selling a Vacant Home
Posted by Matt Barker on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 8:39 PM By Matt Barker / October 9, 2008 Comment
It is hard enough to sell a home in the current real estate market. There are special considerations which much undertaken when it comes to selling a vacant home in particular, though. The idea a home is sitting vacant is almost an immediate turn-off for potential buyers. Vacant houses are in the news a lot today, with reports of vandalism, thefts, and deferred maintenance. Additionally, a home that looks comfortable when it is furnished could look bare and flawed to potential home buyers when it’s empty. Not to worry, selling a vacant home isn't impossible. If you absolutely have to leave a home vacant before you sell it, try to follow these tips:
- First impressions are more important than ever. Vacant or not, a home for sale must absolutely have curb appeal. Ensure that the exterior of the home and its surrounding grounds are being well kept.
- If your house is on the market in fall, be sure whoever is tending to the yard also keeps the leaves cleaned up. Likewise, if it's winter and you live in a snowy area, be sure driveways and entrances are cleared for people coming to take a tour of the home.
- Improve landscaping before you leave. Plant some new shrubs, lay down some fresh ground cover, or brighten it up with some colorful annuals.
- Paint or fix up the front entryway. Once the potential buyers have crossed the lawn or sidewalk to make it to the front door, you don’t want the entrance of the home to scare them off.
- Touch up the paint in every room on any walls that have been scuffed. You will probably mark up the walls just moving the furniture out! You may even want to repaint some rooms entirely if they are painted too brightly, as these colors look best when there are furnishings or wall decorations to fill the space.
- Once everything is out of the home, get all of the carpeting professionally cleaned. If the home has hardwood, make them shine! Without furnishings and other items to distract the eye, every stain and mark on the floor will stick out like a sore thumb.
- Clean every crevice of your house thoroughly, including windows, tile grout, and fireplaces. It is hard to hide dirt or grime in an empty room.
- If it is possible, leave some furnishings in the house. Empty rooms appear smaller than they actually are. It will give prospective buyers a sense of size and proportion. Additionally, having a place to sit down encourages them to sit and converse about the features of the home.
- Protect your vacant house from break-ins. Invest in timers for lights both inside and outside the home that turn on automatically when it gets dark and turn off at sunrise. Also, cancel your newspaper subscription and forward your mail: A pile of newspapers is a sure sign to a thief that no one has been home for a while.
- If you have a security alarm, put it to use. Just make sure you give the entrance code to your Realtor.
- Review the provisions of your homeowners insurance. Many companies have a cap on how long coverage will last while the property is vacant.