There are some advantages to showing an empty house. Sellers are often advised to declutter and depersonalize before prospective buyers take a look. It makes cleaning easier and the rooms seem larger. And you don’t have to call the occupants ahead of time when you have people ready to look at the house.
Problems with Presenting a Vacant House
But there’re likely more downsides. When looking at photos and touring empty houses, buyers may have difficulty seeing the benefits of the property. Problems could include:
- They can’t get a good sense of the size or proportions of the rooms.
- It’s hard to determine the layout of the house or purpose of the rooms.
- They wonder if something is wrong with the house.
- They may assume the house is overpriced or the seller is desperate.
- It may appear that the house has been on the market for a long time.
- It’s more difficult for buyers to imagine their stuff in the rooms.
- Buyers may skip the odd vacant house and focus on more traditional listings.
- And furnished houses just tend to sell better, for more, than empty ones.
So, you probably don’t want buyers to see the house without a stick of furniture in it. But there are some economical ways to fill it with just enough stuff; usually you’ll only need the basics in three main rooms: the living room, dining room, and master bedroom. Consider these tips for presenting an empty house.
- Get Furniture from a Consignment Store
Look in reputable consignment shops for inexpensive, quality furniture for the three main rooms. Offering the furniture to buyers, though not factored into the sale price, can make the property more attractive to young or first-time homebuyers who haven’t accumulated much furniture yet.
- Sale Furniture
Keep an eye out for good discount furniture stores and clearance sales. Floor samples can be had for reduced prices, and a store that’s going out of business could offer drastically reduced prices. You may be able to find furniture for the dining room and living room for under $2,000.
- Rent Furniture
You can get a monthly lease agreement (often a minimum of three months) for rental packages of furnishings for the master bedroom, living room, and dining room. Shop around for the agreement and quality that suits the home and the listing. You can also get lamps and accessories.
- Virtual Furniture
Yes, this is a thing. There are companies that take high-res photos of an empty room and populate it with virtual furnishings. Choose the style, market demographics, target buyer, and listing price, and you get effective photos appropriate for the sale to add to the MLS listing. Remember, you must disclose that these photos include virtual staging.
- Clean, Update, and Landscape
Take the opportunity of minimal furnishings to do some hard-core cleaning and update the fixtures. Dirt, damage, and outdated features are much easier to spot where there’s less in a room. Remember to open windows to air out rooms if the house has been unoccupied for weeks.
Make sure the landscaping is stellar. The lawn, trees, and plants should be neat, trim, and healthy.
Employ a few of these tips plus ask the sellers if they can spare a few quality pieces to tie the rooms together. Then you won’t be dealing with an empty house at all; it’ll be a spotless, well-maintained house with minimal décor and spacious rooms. Less is more, but you need a little to make a vacant house feel like it could be a home.
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