How to sell an empty home quickly
MAIN IMAGE: Steve Thomas, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
‘Does it feel like home?’ This is one of the key factors for prospective home buyers when viewing properties, but this can be a difficult sentiment to elicit when the home they are viewing is vacant.
As if selling a home isn’t difficult enough, the job becomes even more challenging when the property is empty and devoid of all signs of family life, especially if a few maintenance issues have been neglected as they will be more obvious in the emptiness.
“It takes a person on average no more than 10 seconds to make up their minds which is not a lot of time to kick-start the imagination when walking into an empty home that is too sterile to stimulate real interest,” says Steve Thomas, secure estate specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
See the positives
That said, Thomas says there are a few distinct advantages to showing an empty home that sellers should capitalise on whilst taking steps to downplay the fact that the property is uninhabited.
- Vacant homes allow for easy, unhindered access for short-notice viewings and show days
- It’s easier for a buyer to see the basics of what they are buying, warts and all
- It’s also easier to plan a renovation when all the basic structures are visible.
Cost-effective staging tricks
Fully staging a home would solve the issue, but it’s a costly and time-consuming exercise few can afford, and it’s unnecessary says Thomas. He explains that there are smaller, inexpensive staging tricks that will make a home seem more inviting than soulless – you just need to pay attention to detail and add a few props to transform an empty shell into a potential home.
Leave the utilities on – Having lights on, especially in darker areas and rooms, will add warmth to the property and on a practical level, potential buyers will want to check that light switches, taps and fitted appliances are working.
Mind the kerb appeal – The garden and exterior of a home are the first thing a buyer sees.
For that all important good first impression, keep the lawn mown and shrubs and bushes trimmed. A few simple upgrades like a fresh coat of paint on the front door, a pot plant or two, a new welcome mat and new house numbers are also good ideas.
Strategically placed rugs – This will help to define spaces and add a splash of colour. Ensure that the size of the rug is proportionate to the size of the space.
Neutral walls – Boldly coloured rooms are off-putting to many people, so a fresh coat of neutral paint will be a lot more inviting and viewers will also be able to imagine their own photos and art on the walls more easily.
Small tables and lamp accessories – These create warmth and help to define a space and show buyers how a room is intended to be used without blowing the budget.
Mirrors – Well-placed mirrors will brighten and lighten a room. When placed strategically, they bounce light, reflecting it around the room and making everything feel that much more open and spacious.
Bling the bathroom – The cold, hard surfaces of a bathroom are softened with a few simple and inexpensive additions like neatly folded fluffy towels, quality hand soap and lotion and a pretty shower curtain.
Kitchen savvy – Arrange a couple of accessories on the kitchen countertop to show off counter space and help the viewer imagine creating family meals in the space. A bowl of fruit will add a touch of colour.
Blooming colourful – A vase or two of fresh, sweetly scented flowers, especially at the entrance, will add colour and make the home seem more inviting.
Ensure all necessary small repairs are completed – Make sure the seller takes care of scuffs on walls, replaces missing light bulbs and fills wall cracks. Don’t allow prospective buyers to start wondering what else could be wrong with the property by neglecting to do small, inexpensive repairs.
Take high-quality pictures – When a home is empty you cannot afford to skimp on photo quality to show the property at its absolute best. A listing with high-quality photos will always capture more interest and should lead to more showings.