As a Seller, maybe you have the option of selling your home before you’ve moved out, or after you’ve moved out when it’s sitting vacant and ready for its next owner. It’s only natural to consider which scenario would be most advantageous. After all, if there’s something you can do to make the sale of your home a little easier, why not?
But while common sense might tell you that your vacant home will be easier, and more manageable, to sell than trying to sell while your home is still occupied, you may be surprised to learn that there are good arguments both ways.
Let’s break down the Pros and Cons of selling a vacant home.
Pros of Selling a Vacant Home
1. The home is easier to show.
Without occupants, the listing agent has much more flexibility to schedule showings. A buyer’s real estate agent can easily schedule a showing at a buyer’s convenience, and use the available lock box to access the home.
“Not only is it easier for a vacant home to be shown,” remarks Brinkoetter Realtor, Lana Smith, “it’s also easier to have inspections and appraisals scheduled.”
2. You don’t have to keep your home spotless.
One of the most challenging parts of living in a home that you are showing regularly is keeping it clean. You are living your day to day life, which comes with day to day messes. From tracked in mud to fingerprints on windows and countertops, dirty bathrooms to sinks full of dishes, there are so many cleaning tasks to keep up with when you are showing.
3. You don’t get interrupted to show the home.
No matter how dedicated you are to selling your home, it can still feel like a big-time disruption to open up your home for another showing. Especially if you have kids to coordinate. When you don’t live there, you don’t have to constantly adjust your schedule.
“From an agent’s perspective, it’s very convenient to schedule showings at a vacant home without inconveniencing the seller,” remarks Brinkoetter Realtor, Blake Reynolds.
4. Some buyers have an easier time seeing a blank canvas.
While not the case for everyone, there are a percentage of buyers that have a much easier time picturing their own things in a vacant home. Homes that are cluttered tend to turn off these kind of folks very easily. They can’t see beyond your personal taste and style.
Says Brinkoetter Realtor, Sherry Plain, “One big Pro for selling a vacant home is that the potential buyers are not distracted by the seller's furnishings and decorations (especially if the sellers have a lot of ‘stuff.’) I think it’s easier for some of them to see how their belongings may fit into the home.”
Cons of Selling a Vacant Home
1. Vacant homes feel vacant.
When done well, part of the appeal of a home is its warmth and coziness. But when no one is living there, a home will tend to look hollow and empty. Surprisingly, vacant homes tend to feel smaller.
Continues Plain, “Just as some buyers have a hard time seeing past a seller’s home furnishings, not all buyers have good imaginations. Sometimes without furniture and decor, a vacant home can feel cold. Buyers might not feel an emotional connection to a big, empty room.”
2. Vacant homes still need to be maintained.
“What some people forget is they still need to leave the power and water on in a vacant house,” cautions Smith. “Without power and water, inspections cannot be done, sump pumps cannot function, and in humid weather, mold can appear quickly. Also, yards and landscaping need to be cared for to maintain an attractive appearance.”
3. Vacant houses can signal urgency.
When a home is vacant, a potential buyer might assume that there is a sense of urgency on the seller’s part. They might wonder if the seller has already moved on in the purchase of a new home, and is carrying two mortgages. This may make them feel your asking price is negotiable in their favor.
4. Vacant homes might require special insurance.
Though not always the case, a vacant home may be more expensive to insure than when it’s occupied. A good resource to check out is: https://www.insurance.com/home-and-renters-insurance/coverage/empty-home-insurance.html
Clearly, there are both Pros and Cons when it comes to selling your home vacant as opposed to occupied. The good news is that your skilled Brinkoetter Realtor will be able to provide guidance, protection, and careful planning, whichever route you decide to take.