Selling a vacant house can be a challenge. Because it is empty, it feels empty. This makes it hard for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Furniture provides a sense of perspective, while fittings like curtains, picture frames or art can divert people’s attention from marks on the walls. Buyers may not like your taste in couches, but they at least can get a sense of how it fits in the room.
Here are a few important things to consider if you end up selling your house while it is empty.
- Keep in touch with your real estate agent. This is important, especially if you’re selling long distance, as you will depend on them more than if you still lived in the house. Keep yourself informed on the number of people viewing your house and find out what feedback your agent is receiving.
- If you can, leave some pieces of furniture in your house. A furnished house is more appealing and looks larger than an empty one. Plus, people purchase homes, not houses. They want to be able to see themselves living there. If this is not possible, consider using rented furniture for this purpose, or hire a stylist to do this for you.
- Don’t ignore your home’s street appeal. This could mean you will have to pay someone to make your front yard look good by mowing the lawn, raking the leaves or trimming the bushes or trees.
- Prior to moving out, tidy up the landscaping. You can do this in various ways such as planting new shrubs, freshening up the ground cover, or making it appear more cheerful with colourful annuals. Just make sure there is someone who waters the plant regularly to keep them alive and thriving.
- Once you empty your house, look it over to see if any part needs a fresh coat of paint. There could be scratches from moving furniture that prospective buyers can easily notice.
- You might also consider freshening up your house with a neutral shade. The walls stand out in an empty house. Bold tones, particularly in an empty house, can turn buyers off, so consider using a neutral shade.
- Hire professionals to clean the carpets. Without anything in the house, all prospective buyers have to look at are the floors and walls.
- Make sure your vacant house does not attract burglars. Install exterior sensor lights that automatically turn on when night falls and off during the day.
- Before you move, cancel all regular deliveries and redirect mail to your new address. An overflowing mailbox is a tell-tale sign to would-be burglars that no one is there.
- Use your security alarm, if you have it, and leave the entrance code with your real estate agent.
- Go over your home insurance. Find out if your insurance has a limit on how long it will cover your home while it stays vacant.
I strongly recommend staging your property when selling. Generally speaking, for every dollar spend you are likely to get ten times the return on investment. For example, spend $2,500 and you could be getting an extra $25,000. Sometimes it is way more!