Tips for Selling a Vacant Home
Does this sound familiar? You had to move, now your house is empty and you still need to sell it – now what?
Let me just say that I almost always feel a home sells better with furniture, there are exceptions to the rule, but sometimes things happen and you find yourself needing to move out before it sells.
The first thing you need to do if you know you are taking a new job, or have accepted a new job, is to connect with an agent ASAP and start the marketing process. Even if you don’t plan to put the home on the market “officially” until after you’ve moved out, this will give the agent an opportunity to photograph the home while there are still furnishings in the property. These images will be good for the MLS and for other uses, which I’ll discuss.
Once the home is officially empty here are a few strategies you can employ to help the home sell.
1. Rent furniture from a staging company. Now you don't need to feel compelled to put furniture in every room, just strategic areas. I always try to minimize the costs to my sellers, but some furniture can really help buyers visualize themselves in the home.
I like to have furniture in the main living area, as it's the heart of the home, and I'll add accessories to the kitchen to give it life. If you have rooms where potential buyers may walk in and wonder how they would use that room, that would also be a good room to stage.
The master bedroom is also a good room to stage because the person evaluating your property is the one who will be buying it and sleeping it in this room. You want it to feel luxurious and a place they want to sleep each night. If the secondary bedrooms appear small when empty, you might like to stage at least one to show that it can accommodate several pieces of furniture.
2. Another thing I like to do is to blow up images, from the professional photos that I have taken of the home, and display them in rooms that do not have furniture. It will give potential buyers an idea of what is possible in each room either from how much furniture will fit in the room or an idea of how the room could be used.
I also like to use enlarged photos of the exterior, especially if the home looks great at night. Maybe the landscape lighting is amazing or the home has great sunsets. Most showings occur during the day so showcasing these features is an important selling feature and a benefit to the buyer.
You may think renting furniture is way too expensive, but it could make all the difference in selling the home faster. Statistics show that staged homes do sell faster and for more money. I have seen my staged / re-designed homes go under contract quickly and at high offer price points.
The cost of the rental furniture may be considered a closing cost and can potentially be tax-deductible - be sure to check with your tax professional!
If rental furniture is completely out of the question, ask your agent if they have items they could use to do some light staging in the kitchen and bathrooms to give those rooms some life. I try to use things my clients already own and will bring in additional items, if necessary, from my staging inventory.
The other option is Virtual staging. Have you seen properties in the MLS where a room is empty and then the next shot it has furniture? That’s virtual staging, to give the buyer an idea of what the room would look like furnished.
Now that you have some ideas on what to do inside your vacant home, you still need to get people through the door. If you’d like to receive my FREE Staging Tips click here.
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