Guide To Selling A Vacant Property

selling a vacant property

Did you know that the average vacant property sells for $11,306 less than a comparable occupied home despite spending six more days on the market?

It’s easy to see the reasoning behind this stat. When buyers see all that empty space, it prevents them from connecting to the property. Even if the home is otherwise in top shape, they can’t see themselves in it.

Many vacant properties also come with security concerns. A home that’s clearly not occupied is an easy target for burglars. In this case, open houses can be the perfect opportunity for them to stake out the place.

Despite these drawbacks, vacant properties can still be valuable assets. Here are some time-proven tips that will make selling your vacant home easier!

Hire a Professional

Before you do anything else, hire a real estate agent. Selling a house from a distance is hard as it is, so it pays to get professional help.

Why is this important? For starters, an experienced agent will be aware of the current home trends in your area. They’ll use this knowledge to prepare and list your home, which usually leads to a bigger sale.

Agents are also great at weeding out unqualified buyers. As mentioned above, you don’t want to let just about anyone in your house. Your agent will be able to pick showings that are most likely to result in a sale.

When interviewing agents, ask if they have experience selling vacant homes. If they do, they may offer complimentary cleaning or staging services. If needed, they’ll be able to offer safety and security tips.

Know Your Market

Even after you hire an agent, it helps to know your local market. If you know what’s important to local buyers, you can use it to your advantage.

Let’s say you’re working with a competitive seller’s market. If all homes sell within days, vacant properties will rise in price. That means you may not need to have full stagings—or even any stagings at all!

The market comes into play with listings as well. Have your agent come up with a comparative market analysis to set the correct price. Work with them to see how much effort you need to put into staging the home.

Prioritize Curb Appeal

When selling a vacant property, curb appeal matters even more than usual. The good news: you don’t need to be onsite every day to make changes.

If you’re selling a home in the spring or summer, hire someone to mow the lawn twice a week. Lawn care will set you back $30-$80 per visit but offers a much higher ROI. In the off-season, one session a week should do it.

Next, consider painting the front door. That creates a solid first impression, which goes a long way if you’re selling an abandoned home. For a traditional red brick house, it’s best to go with a navy or green door.

Many smaller landscaping tasks can have a big impact on curb appeal without costing too much. These include laying down fresh mulch, trimming back hedges, and adding some flowerpots around the house.

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Check Your Insurance

Has your vacant home been unoccupied for more than 60 days? If so, you may need special homeowners insurance coverage.

See, unoccupied homes carry a greater risk to insurance companies. If no one is keeping an eye on it, damage and vandalism become more likely. Lack of upkeep can also lead to an increased risk of fire and water damage.

Reach out to your insurance provider to confirm your current policy covers vacant homes. If this isn’t the case, switch to vacant property insurance. These policies are up to three times more expensive than occupied policies.

Invest in Maintenance

A home that’s not maintained will look unkempt after a few weeks. If you want to sell your home for top dollar, some maintenance is necessary.

First, schedule regular cleanings once every three weeks. You don’t want your buyers to see grime and cobwebs when they come over. It’s also a good idea to invest in deep cleaning before listing the house for sale.

Next, retrieve mail and newspapers regularly. An overflowing mailbox is a dead giveaway that nobody lives in the house. If you’re unable to stop by the house a few times a week, ask the neighbors to get the mail for you.

Finally, think about who would buy a vacant property. Chances are, we’re talking about people who see empty space and envision possibilities. To make this easier for them, declutter your home after every visit.

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Keep the Lights On

When it comes to selling vacant and abandoned properties, it helps to take certain precautions. One common example: leaving the lights on.

Beyond signaling that the house is still occupied, lighting makes it feel warm. If you’ve ever driven by a dark house after sunset, you know how creepy the experience can be. Don’t put your potential buyers through that!

As for how to keep the lights on, your best bet is to use smart bulbs. You can program them from afar and schedule them to turn on each night. You can also invest in mechanical timers, which cost $10 a pop.

Stage Your Home

By now, you’ve noticed this guide has a common theme: making a vacant home feel welcoming. The best way to do that is to stage your home.

Keep in mind that staging isn’t simply adding furniture to a vacant home. It involves using a specific design style to optimize a home for the market. Again, hiring an agent to deal with this task is often the ideal choice.

If you don’t have the funds to stage the entire home, focus on key spaces. These include the kitchen, living room, and dining room. Beyond those, you should focus on the primary bedroom and bathroom.

If you don’t have a lot of furniture, make the space itself seem more livable. Focus on cosmetic fixes like repairing cracks in the walls. Keep in mind that some projects aren’t worth the bother.

Have a Bed and Couch

A vacant home doesn’t need much furniture but it’s a good idea to have a bed. This will make it easier for buyers to see if their own bed will fit.

You don’t need a full bed to make it a focal point of the room. Even a simple duvet and pillow set from IKEA can make a bedroom feel luxurious. If the bedroom is smaller, ensure the mattress isn’t oversized.

If you have a couch, use it to make the living room appear bigger. The trick is to have at least 30 inches of space between each piece of furniture. Leave 14-18 inches between the couch and coffee table for visitors to go through.

Consider Virtual Staging

If professional staging isn’t an option, virtual staging is a fine alternative. It’s a lot more affordable, and you can do it in 24 hours.

Virtual staging is particularly useful when selling a vacant property. It helps buyers visualize the home as theirs while allowing it to stay empty. This all but eliminates the chance that you’ll mislead a buyer in some way.

Virtual staging can also showcase the full potential of your space. With so many decor options to choose from, it’s much easier to take high-quality listing photos. Plus, you can use psychology to impress your buyers!

Set up Security

As discussed above, putting up a “for sale” sign can attract potential criminals. To prevent opportunistic crime, you should invest in security.

First, consider installing motion-activated floodlights. A bright floodlight can both scare a burglar and call attention to their activity. These days, you can get reliable LED floodlights for under $150.

Smart home tech is a bit more expensive but worth the investment in high-risk areas. For best results, try combining security solutions. For instance, smart locks and video doorbells tend to go great together.

Other than tech, why not ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home? If you’ve been a good neighbor, they won’t mind returning the favor. Plus, many neighborhoods have watch groups and associations.

Manage the Thermostat

If you’re selling an old home, it can be harder to make it appealing. One thing that can help: maintaining a reasonable temperature.

This is another tip that aims to make potential buyers comfortable. To do that, keep the temperature around 65-70°F at all times. If you’re showing your house in winter, this will also ensure your pipes won’t freeze.

To save on heating and cooling costs, install a smart thermostat. These nifty gadgets can detect when someone enters and leaves a home. This allows them to boost temperatures to pre-determined comfort levels.

Selling a Vacant Property for Top Dollar

As you can see, selling a vacant property can feel like an uphill battle. If you don’t do it right, it will take a lot of time and effort to reach a sale. Follow the above guide to make the whole process as painless as possible!

Looking to sell a vacant property in Texas? All you need to do is give us some information and we’ll make you a cash offer as soon as possible! Contact us here to learn more about what we do!


The content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. We are not attorneys or tax professionals. For personalized legal or tax advice, please consult with a qualified professional.

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