Vacant or Occupied: Which is Better When Selling?
Will a home sell faster and for a better price if it is vacant or occupied? While both options have their own pros and cons, the general consensus is actually that occupied homes sell faster than vacant homes. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.
Buyers have a harder time visualizing themselves living in an empty home simply because there is no furniture or décor to signify a space’s purpose and functionality. Empty rooms appear to be smaller than they are, but if a bed or dining room table is already in place, buyers won’t have to second guess how such things will fit in the home.
Vacant homes often can appear cold and uninviting. An empty room is really no more than four walls and a ceiling. Many buyers need more than that to really find a space attractive, as well as to keep them from being distracted by any minor flaws with the structure of the home that they might have otherwise not noticed or been discouraged by.
One of the best ways to counteract these negatives is to stage the empty home. Home staging often results in buyers spending more time at showings and makes them feel more comfortable as they look around. On the downside, staging a vacant home does come with the extra expense of renting or purchasing furniture and accessories.
Another downside for selling a vacant home is the home is not being used by the seller who is still responsible for paying for it. Therefore, buyers often “smell a bargain” when looking at a vacant house because they sense they are dealing with a highly motivated seller who might be willing to accept a lower price.
While an occupied home will generally sell faster and for more money, some sellers simply have no choice and must sell a home that is vacant. This option is not without its advantages. While having some furniture and décor in a home is good, having too many personal belongings present can make a home look cluttered. This is unattractive for buyers and may make them concerned about a lack of storage or space. For homes with too much “stuff”, it is usually recommended for the seller to rent a storage unit to temporarily store items they won’t need while they are selling their home, however, this of course is an extra cost that the seller of a vacant home wouldn’t have to worry about. Lastly, sellers might be unwilling or unable to keep the home in turnkey condition for showing purposes. If that is the case, it might be better for the seller to move out before putting the home on the market.