10 TIPS FOR SELLING A VACANT HOME | THE SAFE WAY
Vacant homes can have serious problems. It attracts crime, feels empty and abandoned when buyers view the house, has ongoing maintenance costs and issues, and can attract squatters. So it’s important to get it sold for top dollar, FAST.
There are a few reasons why a house may be vacant. The seller may have already purchased a new home, the house could’ve been a rental or investment property, the owner has passed away, or the house is a foreclosure. Whatever the case is, let’s review 10 tips for selling a vacant home for top dollar, the safe way.
TIP # 1 – LEAVE ALL UTILITIES ON
You may be tempted to save money by turning off the utilities, but don’t do it. You want to keep them on for a couple of reasons.
First, you will need them on for a buyer to perform their inspection and appraisals anyways. Second, you want showings to be a pleasant experience for prospective buyers.
If the electricity is off, the HVAC will be off causing the house to become stale, muggy, and musty. And if you are selling a house in Houston, buyers won’t stay inside for more than a couple of minutes before they run out the door for fresh air. Also, it will help you with security, but we will get to that in a minute.
There are many reasons why you should seriously consider staging a vacant house. One major downfall to a vacant house is that it feels empty and abandoned. It doesn’t put off that warm and inviting feeling.
Check out the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and some of the studies that they’ve done comparing staged houses vs. non-staged when selling. Staged houses end up selling faster and for more money!
Why do you think a builders model home shows so well and they sell new builds like crazy? Because buyers visualize themselves living in it.
TIP # 3 – HIRE THE RIGHT AGENT
I can’t stress the importance of this tip enough. Not all agents are created equal. We have a lot of bad apples in our industry, so tread with caution on who you decide to work with!
Hire someone who is knowledgeable, passionate, honest and has integrity. And someone who actually cares about your goals rather than treating you like a number in their transaction goals for the year.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out the video we made about how to find the perfect real estate agent in Houston to sell your house.
TIP # 4 – PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
We live in a world filled with technology. And considering the fact that more than 51% of buyers find their house online, it’s crucial that you nail a first impression with ‘thumb stopping’ photographs.
Make sure that the agent you hire does not take photographs with their cell phone or expensive camera they bought themselves. Real estate photography is a specialized niche, so this needs to be outsourced to the professionals.
Our team will never take pictures ourselves, we always hire it out to a professional company here in the Houston area to show your house the justice is deserves.
TIP # 5 – SECURE THE HOME
Security is important. If you are not occupying the house, you should consider paying for a monitored security system. If you don’t want to pay a monthly subscription for it, at least hook up your own system so you can personally monitor the property on your phone or computer.
If you are a DIY’er check out SimpliSafe for some decent equipment.
TIP # 6 – MINOR REPAIRS & DEFERRED MAINTENANCE
If the house is vacant, it makes it easy to give the property a facelift and knock out any deferred maintenance projects. Maybe you need to do a slight remodel to get it show ready, or maybe you need to replace important components of the home like HVAC units, water heaters, roof, etc. Now is the time to knock these projects out!
TIP # 7 – DISCLOSE ANY REPAIRS NEEDED
Every seller needs to fill out a sellers disclosure form to protect yourself from any potential lawsuits. This form gives you the opportunity to disclose any deficiencies, previous damages and repairs done to the property.
Check out the video and short article we did covering the Sellers Disclosure, or you can download one here.
TIP # 8 – AVOID TOTAL DARKNESS
Here is another reason why you should keep the utilities on while the home is vacant. You want to avoid total darkness in the home.
Porch lights should remain turned on, and a few lights inside should stay on as well. This way you are doing everything you can to let criminals know this house is not vacant. Total darkness could attract unwanted guests.
TIP # 9 – KEEP UP WITH LANDSCAPING
Remember when we talked about first impressions with online stuff? Now first impressions matter when a buyer pulls up ready to view the house.
What would they see? A yard and flower beds that look like they’ve been neglected for years? Or a freshly maintained yard that gives a buyer the impression that the owner takes care of their stuff? You ultimately control the outcome. So keep the yard looking fresh and clean!
TIP # 10 – OCCASIONAL CHECK UPS
Here is where hiring the right agent comes in handy!
If you are no longer local, who will check on the property for you? If you don’t have anyone here to help, your agent should swing by and make sure nothing crazy has happened to it.
Quick example: A previous client of ours moved out of state from Pearland to Atlanta, Georgia. They had no family here to assist them. On top of this, they decided to replace a roof prior to listing, and a few other minor repairs after the option period. Our team handled that process for them so that they didn’t have to worry about it. Who you hire matters!
I hope this article shed some light on how to sell a vacant house the safe way and for top dollar. If you would like assistance or more information on what you can do, give our team a shout! You can schedule an appointment here.
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