Are you planning to sell a vacant home? Perhaps you already moved out of your old house and into a new one. Or, maybe you inherited property and you need to sell it. Whatever the reason for selling a home that is vacant, there are some important issues to consider. Safety and security will be top priorities, along with overall upkeep and presentation to maintain good curb appeal.
Here are 7 items to address when selling a vacant home:
1. Focus on Home Security
Keeping a vacant home safe is very important. Remember that listing it for sale will automatically bring some attention to the property. The more attention it draws, the more it can attract criminals, vandals and squatters. First, you will want to inform the neighbors that the house is empty and going to be listed for sale. They can often help keep an eye on the place. It’s never a bad idea to alert local law enforcement, as well. They may drive by and check on the place if they feel it will be a magnet for criminal activity—especially at night when your neighbors are asleep. Other security steps you may want to take include:
- Leaving some of the lights on at night (exterior and interior)
- Installing a security system
- Making sure all possible entry points are secure
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
You can opt to sell your vacant house on your own, but a licensed real estate agent or broker will be able to help on so many levels. They can also help keep an eye on the place and be present for any showings. They can advise if an open house is a good idea or if you may not want to advertise the listing so heavily—in case it might attract too much unwanted attention. Hiring a Realtor® is very smart if you are living in a different area and aren’t able to take care of the property as easily yourself.
3. Stage the Home
Vacant properties can often look depressing and unappealing to potential home buyers. A professionally staged home can make it feel much more inviting. Home staging also helps the house look more attractive in listing photos, videos, virtual tours and any other marketing pieces. Why let your house sit there looking empty and sad when it can be staged to look like a place where people want to live? And of course, a staged home can also look more “lived in,” which is another security benefit.
4. Don’t Let Mail or Other Deliveries Pile Up
If you have a bunch of newspapers piled up on the front porch or junk mail stuffed into the mailbox, it is not a great look. It screams to troublemakers that “this is an unoccupied house!” Plus, it also just looks bad to prospective buyers. Cancel any newspaper deliveries, have your mail forwarded through the USPS, clean up any flyers and door hangers, and make sure no packages are delivered there. If you aren’t able to check the mail regularly yourself, ask a local friend, neighbor or family member to help.
5. Keep Up with Maintenance and Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is so important when selling any home. You want the property to look nice from the outside. Keep the yard clean and mow the lawn regularly. Clean the exterior and make sure any garden areas look nice. Keep the driveway free of leaves and debris. In general, you want to stay current with basic home maintenance (both inside and out) until the property sells. You may hire a handyman, landscaper, pool cleaner or other home service providers, just as you would while living there. Keep the place looking its best for home buyers.
6. Fix it Up
This may be less of a concern if you lived there previously and took good care of the property. If it is an inherited property or you moved about because it had problems, you will do better selling it if you invest some money in repairs and upgrades. Make sure everything is working properly—especially when it comes to appliances and the HVAC system. Fix plumbing issues and any known damage to windows and doors. If something does need to be fixed and you don’t plan to deal with it, be prepared to disclose any known problems when selling the property. Otherwise, fixing it up can help boost its resale value and overall appeal for home buyers.
7. Understand Your Insurance
Lastly, you will want to carefully review your homeowner’s insurance policy as it relates to your now-empty house and your residential status. Some items may or may not be covered when the property is vacant, including theft, vandalism or storm damage. Talk with your insurance provider and make sure you have the necessary coverage for your unoccupied home until the sale is finalized. You may need to adjust your policy or add-on special services.
If you are preparing to sell your home in Chester County or the surrounding Southeastern Pennsylvania or Northern Delaware communities, contact The Cyr Team today. We can help you sell your vacant home or one you are currently living in. Let us guide you through the process and help you get the best return on your home sale.