Written by Jess Brennan   |   Posted on   |   156 views

When selling a vacant home, you want a quick and smooth sale.

By following these tips, the sale of your vacant home will be easier and showcase your property’s best features.

There are so many reasons why you might need to sell a home when it’s vacant. Whether you’re an executor of a will, a power of attorney, or just a savvy real estate investor, there are times when a house will need to be sold while nobody is actually living in it.

So what makes a vacant house sale different from typical home listings? Surprisingly quite a lot.

The following is a list of important things to consider when selling your vacant house.

Organizing the Contents of a Vacant HouseOrganizing the Contents of a Vacant House

When we say vacant home, it often brings to mind visions of completely barren rooms: no furniture or personal items anywhere.

However in real estate sales, the previous owner’s belongings may still be in the home. It’s up to the executor to decide how much they wish to declutter the home of the previous owner’s personal items.

While most of the home’s contents may be removed and shared with the family, leaving some main pieces of furniture on display during the sale can actually help with staging the property for buyers.

An Empty House is Easier to CleanAn Empty House is Easier to Clean

If you’re selling a vacant home, and if it was previously occupied or recently renovated, we recommend bringing in a professional cleaning crew.

Giving a vacant home a deep cleaning is much easier than doing so when it’s occupied by furniture and other belongings.

With little-to-no furniture in the home, buyers will definitely see things they may have overlooked in a fully occupied home. Things like scuff marks on the floor and fingerprints on the light switches are much easier to see in a unoccupied home.

A professional cleaning company will make sure everything is sparkling and depending on the age of the home, it could end up looking brand new.

It’s also recommended that you hire a professional company to steam clean the carpets. There will be virtually no obstacles in the way which will make the job easier, more thorough and quicker to do.

If you take care of these particular details, you’ll impress potential buyers and make it look like the home is well cared for.

Set the Stage for SellingSet the Stage for Selling

Sometimes potential home buyers have a hard time envisioning what to do with each room of the home they’re viewing.

This is especially true if the home is empty. All kinds of questions can arise like which wall to put the sofa on, or wondering if a king-sized bed will fit in the main bedroom. This is why it’s a good idea to get some furniture into the home after it’s been cleaned.

If you don’t have any furniture to spare to set up in the main rooms, consider hiring a professional staging company. A staging company will give you professional recommendations on what is needed to bring out the best in your particular house even if it’s mostly vacated.

The staging company will supply modern, stylish, and (most importantly) appropriate-sized furniture and decor for the space. This will really show your buyers how much potential the home has and will increase it’s attractiveness.

Statistics show that staged homes sell much faster than empty ones. Read our article on the home staging process to see how staging can help you sell your home quickly.

Not only does staging a home help buyers envision what’s possible in each room, it also gives the impression that someone is actively occupying the home which makes it appear more comfortable and enjoyable to live in.

Staging Helps Safety & SecurityStaging Helps Safety & Security

Unfortunately there are people that will search online for house listings to see if they are empty. Photos of empty homes can be considered easy targets to potential thieves. Ensuring the security of the home while it’s unoccupied is another side-benefit to setting up home staging.

  • You should consider changing the locks to ensure any past tenants or occupants can no longer access the property.
  • You should also ensure all the windows and doors are locked after any real estate agents have showed the home.
  • It’s also recommended to purchase window coverings that can be easily closed to deter people from looking inside. Home improvement stores often sell inexpensive window shades that are easy to install and perfect for temporary situations like this.
  • Keep the lights on. Keeping the house bright and well-lit is not only a safety measure, but it also looks great to potential buyers. You can easily pick up some simple lamp-timers and set them for various times of day.

Keep the Temperature ComfortableKeep the Temperature Comfortable

While it may be tempting to save on a few utility bills, it’s highly recommend to keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature while your home is for sale.

Keeping the temperature at a comfortable setting is especially important in the winter time. You definitely don’t want to set the temperature too low.

Imagine how devastating the damage would be if a pipe froze and burst while no one was in the house for a few days?

Our team has seen pipes freeze numerous times and we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep the temperature on and properly moderated.

In the summer, if the temperature is excruciatingly high, potential buyers may leave the viewing before they’ve seen the whole house and property. Hot air can also make the air smell muggy and musty and thus take away from the home’s hot selling points.

The solution is to keep the temperature in a vacant home between 65F-75F (18C-25C) depending on the time of year. The aim is to make the house feel comfy, cozy and ready to live in.

Good Curb Appeal SellsGood Curb Appeal Sells

People will be driving by the home and if they see your for sale sign, they’ll slow down to take a look.

Remember nothing screams unkept-home like a pile of newspapers at the front door, and potential buyers don’t want see a porch littered in flyers and stacks of newspapers.

To maintain decent curb appeal on a vacant home for sale, simply ensure that the mail and newspapers are picked up regularly and follow some of these tips:

  • Keep the driveway clean in the winter.
  • Spread salt to the walkways in the winter.
  • Keep the lawn mowed in the summer.
  • Dress up your front porch.
  • Pluck the weeds from the grass.
  • Clean up the garden if there is one.
  • Rake up any leaves and debris from the property.
  • Clean up any garbage or rubbish.
  • Set the lights on in the evening.

In Conclusion…

You don’t want your listing to be the only house on the street with knee-high weeds or ice-covered sidewalks. You should read our article for more tips on increasing curb appeal when showing your home to potential buyers.

If you can’t personally maintain the property, be courteous to the neighbours and arrange for these maintenance items to be taken care of if you’re not able to do them yourself. You’ll definitely thank yourself that you did when the offers start coming in.

*All information provided by the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association (BRREA) for the highest sales volume and highest number of completed transactions since January 1, 2015. All Brantford MLS® House Listings come from the various systems operated by Real Estate Boards and Associations across Canada. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used underlicense. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.

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