Four Ways to Entice Buyers to View Your Vacant Home

Selling a vacant home has some benefits: you don’t have to negotiate move out versus move in dates, for example.

But there are also challenges.

When prospective home buyers view photographs of vacant homes in their internet search, it’s hard for them to get a sense of room sizes, how the room is used, and the actual layout of the home.

The buyer also may have these questions about why the home is vacant:

  • Has the home been on the market for so long that the owners moved anyway?
  • Is there something wrong with the home that it is not selling?
  • Is the home overpriced?

Those questions and others mean many vacant properties are passed over by buyers. You may have a perfectly valid reason for moving that has nothing to do with your on-the-market house—for example, a job change—but buyers don’t know that.

Even if a vacant home snags a few visitors, buyers often make higher offers on properties that are furnished and occupied. Buyers entering an unfurnished home struggle to imagine their own furnishings within the space of the rooms.

They also will assume if a property is vacant, the seller is desperate.

But there are these staging solutions for a vacant home on the market.

Virtual Staging

Computer-generated furnishings and accessories are placed in photos submitted of vacant rooms, enticing buyers to make appointments to see the property in person.

Take, for example, a company called Virtually Staging Properties: you or your agent submit to them three high-resolution photos of three rooms (usually living room, dining room and master bedroom).

Company representatives discuss with you the type of look you desire, who the target buyer is, the home’s list price and other pertinent demographics—and they then create photos of three virtually staged rooms to put in the MLS.

You have the option of virtually staging more rooms for an additional fee.

One catch: you must disclose in any advertising these rooms have been virtually staged.

Furniture Rental

Companies generally offer rental packages of three rooms of furniture (living room, dining room, and master bedroom) with lamps, accessories, etc.

The caveat is you enter into a monthly lease agreement, usually with a three-month minimum. All companies work differently, so we suggest you check with companies in your area.

Prices vary, and higher-end homes could cost more because of the demand for higher-quality furnishings to suit the home.

Consignment Furniture

You can go to a consignment furniture store and purchase enough inexpensive pieces to make the house looked more lived-in. You could also offer the furniture to your home buyers.

This incentive makes a property very desirable to first-time home buyers who have little or nothing with which to start—or divorced buyers who have had to divide or give up their furnishings.

Note that you cannot factor in the cost of the furniture into the list or sale price of the home. You are doing this purely to add incentive to buy—not to raise the bottom line.

Closeout Furniture

This is the same idea as the consignment furniture, but you are buying it brand new from a store instead.

Very often, stores offer greatly-reduced floor samples or closeout pieces. You might be able to purchase living and dining room furniture—everything from lamps to an area rug—for around $1,500.

That’s much less than a price reduction on the home would be.

Act Sooner Rather Than Later

Any one of these options should help revitalize a vacant listing. It is always better to utilize these options sooner rather than later, however.

Many sellers eventually come to the conclusion selling a vacant listing isn’t working after it has been on the market for a while and price reductions have been made.

If you do it right in the beginning, your bottom line could have a softer landing.

By: Anne Miller

Updated from an earlier version by Bob Kelly

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