Selling a vacant home is more difficult than selling a furnished one, in any market. According to Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium, a vacant home—regardless of how nice the property—can seem eerily empty and lacking in character and warmth. However, if you are trying to sell a vacant home—whether it’s a second home or a space you were unable to sell before moving to a new location—there are a few key tips that can make the process easier and help provide a quicker selling time, and a better selling price.
Sweat the small stuff.
“Once furniture is removed from a space, even the slightest imperfections become apparent,” says Hetherington. An older carpet that was once disguised by a modern sofa and coffee table is now blaringly out-of-date. Holes in the wall or a hallway in need of a fresh coat of paint are now obvious. Spend extra time fixing up any noticeable damages, repainting, and caulking, getting new carpets, pressure washing and fixing up anything in need of repair.
Air it out.
“It’s amazing how quickly an empty house can begin smelling stale and musty,” says Hetherington. Before a showing, throw open windows and doors to allow for fresh circulation, and consider some mildly scented candles or air fresheners.
Amp curb appeal.
“Since the house may be lacking inside in terms of character, make sure the exterior packs a punch,” says Hetherington. Not only should you clear clutter and debris from your yard (children’s toys included), keep grass neat and repair those broken fence posts, but you should also consider planting new flowerbeds, upgrading that tired front walk or even hiring a landscaper.
Even if you have moved all your furniture out, you may want to consider hiring a staging company that offers furniture rental. These professionals can make an empty space into a scene of warmth and comfort. “Remember, potential buyers are not just looking for a roof over their head. They are looking for a place to start a new chapter in their life. You want to show them everything your property has to offer,” Hetherington notes. Since vacant homes often sell for considerably less—typically 15-20 percent lower than the asking price—hiring a staging company is usually a solid investment.
CENTURY 21 New Millennium. Smarter. Bolder. Faster.
CENTURY 21 New Millennium, www.c21nm.com, is a full service real estate brokerage company specializing in residential and luxury properties. The Virginia locations are in Alexandria, Centreville, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, McLean, Stafford, and Woodbridge. The Maryland offices are located in Annapolis, Dunkirk, La Plata, Lexington Park and Lusby. Its core services include: mortgage financing, investing, settlement services, property management, property insurance, global relocation assistance, and commercial real estate.