Why Selling a Vacant Home Is a Big Mistake

June 15, 2013

Every seller’s goal is to sell their house fast and land the best possible offer.  With carrying costs, mortgage payments, insurance, and other associated expenses, showcasing your house at its best are of utmost importance to outshine the competition and to attract as many buyers as possible.

Here is why selling a vacant property can be a costly mistake

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1. The emotional connection is lost

People don’t just buy houses; they buy a lifestyle.  An expensive purchase, such as buying a house, is an enormous decision for most people.  For them, it has to feel right; they should fall in love and connect with the house, which is the goal of home staging.  Sellers should successfully tap into the buyer’s emotions to help motivate them to buy, which is the opposite of what a vacant property does. An empty house feels dull and lifeless; therefore, the emotional connection is LOST.

2. The flaws are magnified

With only floors, walls, and ceiling to look at, and with no furniture, home accessories, and other decorative elements to keep buyer’s eyes busy, they will scrutinize even the smallest flaws of the house.  Dated fixtures, stained carpeting, ugly switch plates, paint colour, and even nail holes, small cracks or gaps also seem to be magnified. Not to mention, the rooms tend to look awkward and smaller without furniture.

3. Buyers are distracted

Selling a vacant home can send so many wrong signals to buyers that may lead to a lower offer.  Buyers might think:

  • Owners are desperate to sell the house
  • Homes does not sell well in the location
  • Owners have  money problems
  • Owners doesn’t care and just wants to get rid of the house

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4. There is NO clear room function and NO point of reference

Vacant homes are the slowest to sell compared to staged or occupied listings because buyers are often unsure if they can function and perform their daily routines in the house. This is particularly the case for smaller homes or homes with odd layouts; buyers are just lost. Without furniture, most buyers cannot visualize the true potential of each room.  Instead, they are stuck with questions like:

  • Where is the dining area?
  • Where is the TV going?
  • Where should the sofa go?
  • Will my furniture fit in the rooms?

5. Vacant houses don’t show well

With so many listing in the market, to catch the buyer’s attention, you have to give it excellent packaging, make it shine, and market it well. Otherwise, your house may sit on the market, for who knows how long, and collect dust and get pushed at the back of the bin.

6. Lastly, consider your online listing photos

Nowadays, 94% of buyers do their initial search online. If your house doesn’t show well in the photos or doesn’t have an edge versus staged or occupied online listings, buyers will click away to the next one.

Home staging is a smart investment that can sell your home faster and for more money.  It is a proven marketing tool that can give you extra money for your bank (studies have shown that buyers are willing to pay an extra $25,000 – $100,000 over asking for a house they like).  On the other hand, by selling a vacant house, your asking price will be the only marketing /negotiating tool you’ll have which is a big mistake that can cost you a lot of money.

Red Barrinuevo | Your Toronto Home Stager

Is a Canadian Certified Staging Professional. His professional affiliations include the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and the CSP. He is the recipient of numerous home staging awards and was picked as RESA’s Top Professional Stager of Canada for 2016. He has worked with hundreds of Real Estate Brokers, Investors, Real Estate Agents, and has helped homeowners showcase their homes at its best when it is time to sell.

As President and Principal Stager of REDESIGN4MORE, Red provides home staging and interior redecorating services for both small and large-scale residential projects throughout Toronto and the GTA. Click here to learn more about Red and REDESIGN4MORE. 

Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, www.stagingdiva.com. © Copyright Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Programwith over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould is the author of four home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more, visit www.stagingdivadirectoryofhomestagers.com