Maybe you’ve recently relocated your belongings to a new property. Maybe you find yourself with a recently vacated rental property you’d like to get off your hands. Whatever the case, you now find yourself in the unenviable position of selling an empty house. As any realtor knows, empty houses often feel cold and empty to potential home buyers. This makes selling them difficult—empty homes tend to remain on the market for longer than their staged counterparts.
So, how do you sell an empty house? We’ve put together a list of the four biggest mistakes to avoid when putting your vacant home on the market, so that you can enjoy a stress-free sale and move on to whatever comes next.
1. Not Investing in Security
There’s a reason vacant houses have a negative impact on neighborhood property values—they tend to attract squatters looking for a warm place to sleep or vandals looking for a destructive way to pass the time. Needless to say, you don’t want to find any of these individuals in your property when you’re trying to sell it. That’s why you should make sure to invest in reliable security when selling an empty house. This should include heavy-duty door and window locks, motion detector lights, and—if possible—a security monitoring system.
2. Not Keeping the Utilities On
You may find it tempting to save some money when you sell your empty house by shutting off utilities. After all, what’s the harm in turning off the power when no one is in the house regularly? In reality, however, there are several reasons for you to keep paying those electricity and water bills while your house is vacant. The first has to do with weather—keeping the HVAC system running can prevent indoor humidity or keep extreme temperatures from damaging your property. Another reason to keep the power on when selling an empty house has to do with showings—buyers will feel more comfortable walking through a cozy, well-lit house.
3. Forgetting to Maintain Curb Appeal
Your empty home’s landscaping is one of the few things it has going for it during a sale. It allows buyers to more easily envision themselves living there, hosting barbecues in the back yard or returning home after a long day of work. But if you don’t live in the area, keeping up on yardwork is probably the last thing on your mind. That doesn’t mean you should let your landscaping go to the weeds, however. Consider hiring a local landscaping company to periodically visit your empty house to mow the lawn, trim the trees, and shape the hedges.
4. Not Staging Your House at All
When staging a home, most people find themselves struggling to suddenly embrace a minimalist aesthetic. But did you know that the right furniture can actually make a room seem more spacious? It shows potential homeowners what they can fit in a space and helps them to envision a house as a home. This is part of what makes selling an empty house so challenging—without setting the stage for a life, a property can seem too empty or cold to buyers.
While investing in rental furniture for your home may help it sell faster, the price tag puts this approach out of reach for many. Still, there are some things you can do to make an empty space feel warmer. Consider renting rugs for living areas, placing towels and shower curtains in bathrooms, and having your real estate agent leave a vase of fresh flowers in the kitchen to help your empty house feel more like a potential home.
Even with all of this, selling your empty house will likely take a good deal of time and effort. If you find yourself needing to speed the process up, contact Fifth Avenue Property Group! We buy empty houses in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, and our team would be happy to talk to you about purchasing your property.