The ABCs of selling a vacant property

The ABCs of selling a vacant property

Selling a home can be stressful for both sellers and real estate agents at the best of times, but even more so when the property on the market is vacant.

In some cases, sellers are forced to move out of the property for sale before it’s sold, leaving it noticeably empty. A vacant property can in fact impact the sale process in a negative way, mainly because buyers are looking to buy a home, not just a house – and a bare space isn’t welcoming and attractive.
There’s also the increased risk of possible vandalism and break-ins when a house lays unoccupied. If you’re looking for tips on how best to approach the selling of vacant properties as well as some pointers for their sellers, this is the article you’ll want to read.

Improve security

A great place to start is with an alarm system. If the home doesn’t already have one installed, it may be a good idea to suggest to the seller that one be fitted. Not only will this help protect the property, but it will also add value to it, meaning that you’ll be able to increase the asking price. For many buyers, security is a top priority, so an existing security system is bound to make a good impression on them right off the bat.

Beefing up security should also include ensuring all entrances and access points are sufficiently secured. This may entail having to include additional locks or deadbolts. Sellers should be encouraged to do a sweep of the home beforehand to check everything is up to scratch from a security point of view. Any additions should ideally be made before moving out and leaving behind an empty property.

Additional suggestion: Lighting also plays an important role in maintaining the safety of a property, as it helps to illuminate darker areas in which potential intruders may try and hide. Beyond this, lights regularly going on and off at night can help to give the impression that people are home. That’s why a timer can be an excellent addition to a property – it will help control the lighting situation when the property is vacant. Again, this will not only help from a security point of view, but will also increase the overall value of the property.

Notify local police as well as neighbours

It’s not uncommon for agents and/or sellers to inform both local law enforcement as well as reliable neighbours that a home is standing empty. With people knowing this, they’ll make more of an effort to keep an eye on the property and report any unusual movements in and around the home. Neighbours will more than likely be willing to do this, as ultimately it’ll mean keeping the area safer for them too.

If there’s a neighbourhood watch or the like, it’s also a good idea to inform them as they’ll hopefully be able to take a few more drives than usual past the property for as long as it remains vacant. The same can be said for local police patrols: once they know that the property is empty, ask if they’ll make a point to check everything is ok more frequently.

Perfect the art of home staging

Home staging can be even more important than usual when it takes place within a vacant property. In general, agents may suggest arranging a home in a certain way to make it more visually appealing to potential buyers, and this can be particularly effective in the case of an empty house. Buyers shouldn’t have to try and envisage what the home will look like furnished – they should ideally be able to see straight away.

It can also be difficult for them to try and figure out the correct use of space when the property is empty, so you may wish to see if the sellers are able to leave behind a few pieces of furniture. That way, the place won’t seem quite as barren and can appear more homely. When a house is empty, all its imperfections also tend to be more highlighted. Having furniture and personal touches present can help to minimise how easily imperfections are spotted.

Also, if you’re planning on photographing the property for a website or pamphlet, it’s best to do this while there are still people living there. That way, everything will still be in place and buyers will be able to get a better idea of what the property will look like furnished.

Collect post regularly and maintain the exterior

An overflowing post box and overgrown grass can be dead giveaways to the fact that a property is standing empty. Even though sellers may no longer be living there, they still own the house and will therefore still be responsible for maintaining it, until it is successfully sold (and it’s in their best interests to do so).

A certain amount of “curb appeal” needs to be maintained. You can ensure this by suggesting the grass is always cut and there are no overgrown shrubs or unsightly weeds. Post should also be collected at regular intervals. Maintaining the exterior of a property will not only help to keep potential threats at bay, but it can also help the property to remain attractive to buyers.

Selling a vacant home may require a little more effort on your part as well as on the part of the seller, but the situation doesn’t have to be all that bleak. It’s still possible to sell a vacant home successfully (with the help of the owner) and by bearing these tips in mind, hopefully that’ll be the case for you the next time one comes your way.

Article from betterlife

3rd May 2016