The Touble with Vacant Homes

Today’s housing market makes it tougher to get the price for a home and, often, sellers can’t wait around while their homes are on the market. They may have a new job in a different location, may have already bought their next house or need to move to their new location so the kids can start at their new schools.

If sellers already have a new home, it’s likely that they’ll take all their furniture and leave the property empty during selling process. The U.S. Census Bureau’s most current data shows that more than 2.2 million for-sale houses in the U.S. were vacant in 2008, and that number has risen over the last few years as more homes fell into foreclosure or short-sale status.

Yet it all comes down to perception for buyers, who understand that vacant homes can suffer from a wide variety of ills due to neglect and deferred maintenance. Moreover, vacant houses pose unique challenges for showcasing and selling because many buyers cannot see beyond an empty home. They’re looking to buy a “home,” as opposed to a “house,” and without furniture, wall art, rugs, lighting and décor, there are few emotional connections.

Plus, with no furnishing to focus on, a potential buyer will be on the lookout for imperfections, such as floor scratches, nail pops, chipped grout and other imperfections.

The easiest fix for a vacant home is to bring in a home stager, who can give the property a comfortable, lived-in look, enabling potential buyers to better visualize how they would use the home.

When a home buyer perceives flaws and can’t see a home’s potential, there will be fewer offers, greater price reductions, more days on the market, higher carrying costs and less profit.

A vacant home can also hurt your negotiating power. If buyers know that you are already out and most likely paying another mortgage, they will figure you are more motivated to sell and will likely present a low-ball offer.

By staging a vacant home, you will create a proper vision for the property and achieve a quicker and hopefully more profitable outcome.

Tags: Vacant Homes, Home Sales

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