With double expenses from a new and old home coming in at the same time, there is a tendency for sellers to want to scale back, to shut off utilities and delay lawn cutting services until it is absolutely necessary. This is not the time to scrimp and make your home look neglected or like it has been abandoned. Due to the slower real estate market over the past 5+ years, buyers are aware that there are often many distressed properties for sale. In these cases, the buyers tend to offer much lower than market prices looking for real bargains.
Consider these items when your home is for sale and vacant:
1) Curb appeal is the key to getting buyers in the door – Keep your lawn on a routine cutting rotation. It needs to look like someone is living there. Don’t forget the shrubs and trees as well and don’t let them get out of hand and overgrown looking. Adding fresh mulch is usually inexpensive, but makes a big difference in curb appeal.
2) It can still be cold outside during the Spring in Richmond – Outside temperatures can be cold and going into a cold house is a turnoff. Often the buyers are out looking at many homes and are dealing with the cold temperatures. If it is warm inside your home, the buyers will take time to look at the house instead of only thinking about how quickly they can get out of the cold house and back into a warm car. It is okay to turn the thermostat up a few degrees lower than normal. This will still feel warm to a buyer coming in from the outside.
3) Buyers need to be able to see the features – Even during the summer months a home without lights can be dark and not a pleasant showing experience. If the showing is in the evening hours without lights, the buyers’ initial reaction is that the home is not very welcoming. Leave some outside lights on and also leave several key lights on inside as well. The small expense will be more than worth the added benefit. Another good idea is to put the lights on timers and have them vary. This will deter thieves.
4) Not having climate control is bad for your home – Drywall tape can crack, doors and trim can expand and stick, flooring expands and can creak when walked on. Keeping your air conditioning on helps protect the interior of your home.
5) Keep your utilities turned on – If your utilities are turned off, buyers may think that you may be in a financial crisis and raise red flags. Having your utilities turned on will make the house feel like a home and ready for an offer and for someone to move in. In addition, when home inspections and appraisals are done, the utilities need to be turned on. Turning the utilities off and then back on for these items will cost more in money with new deposits and connections fees. Turning utilities off can also strain the systems and cause problems with surges when they are turned back on. It is best to keep the utilities turned on during the selling process.
6) Hot Water Heaters and Water Supply – It is okay to turn the electrical breakers to the off position on your water heaters However, do not turn off the water. If for some reason, prospective buyers need to use the toilet, it is important that they be able to flush it. If they are not able, the home will quickly begin to smell and turn off buyers.
7) Keep blinds partially open – Closing blinds makes a home look unoccupied. Also, the home will appear darker even in the middle of the day. Keeping the blinds partially open and with some lights turned will help deter thieves.
8) Have a neighbor or friend watch the property – A neighbor checking your home every few days will help give you peace of mind. Your agent should also help monitor the property as well. Make sure you have this conversation before agreeing to list the property.
9) Let your insurance and mortgage companies know you’re moving – Make sure you have proper insurance coverage for your vacant home.
10) Periodic house cleaning – Showings produce foot traffic and dirt. Bugs die and counters, window sills and light fixtures may get dusty. Toilets get water rings. Arrange to have a light clean up to keep the house looking ready for buyers and smelling fresh.
By assuring that the house looks cared for and ready for buyers your home will be looked upon favorably by buyers and hopefully you will get an offer quickly.
If for some reason, you are not able to wait and sell a vacant home, it is best to contact an experience local investor, like RVA Home Buyers, to make you a fair, all cash offer with a quick settlement.