Vacant houses are tough to sell. And the reason for this is simple: they are tough to buy in the first place.
When a buyer is looking at a vacant home, she has almost no anchors with which to categorize it in her head. Empty walls look the same almost anywhere, and the differences in colours, materials, and patterns are rather elusive. More likely, buyers will to remember the shortcomings, flaws, and disadvantages of what they have seen because there is so little to entertain their attention.
Spotting flaws is the direct opposite of what you expect your buyers to do, which is picturing the rooms equipped with furniture and nice house-warming items. It’s a completely different mental process that accompanies analytic criticism and one allowing for creative “mental furnishing.” The former is a passive activity while the latter is an active effort. Guess which one 95% of your buyers are going to opt for.
For these reasons, a smart seller (with a smart Realtor®) will want to set up distractions in the form of comfortable furniture, cozy arrangements thereof, and some human touches to complete the picture. In other words, make the house or condo look like it’s expecting a family to move in and keep caring for it. If you’re not an expert (and neither is your agent), you may want to use the services of a professional home stager. Some stagers will even temporarily provide the furniture until you close the sale.
Call in a stager as soon as you can, best before even listing the property. This way, you will make a great impression on all of the visitors from the first day in the market on. Also, once listed, it’s not the best idea to replace existing home pictures with pictures of a staged property. Buyers who have been browsing the MLS for a while will be confused when completely different images start appearing next to the original listing number and address.
In our experience, professional stagers, if called up for the right properties, have the potential of increasing the value of the home far beyond their service fees. Consult your Realtor® as to whether a stager could help your property sell faster and with a higher asking price. And remember: make this decision before you list so that you can reap the biggest benefit for your efforts.
Let us know about your experience with stagers and vacant properties in the comments, please.