Trying to sell an empty house in Houston? It can be hard for potential buyers to walk into a vacant home and envision making that home their own, which makes selling a vacant home pretty difficult.
While some buyers love walking into what is essentially a blank canvas, other buyers like to see furniture or other items that make it easier to envision living there.
However, it’s not always possible for sellers to stay in their properties while it’s on the market. Sometimes job relocations pull you away from your vacant home, or maybe you’ve inherited a house you need to sell but live out of state.
Holding costs such as mortgages and insurance make holding onto an empty home hard enough, and worrying about how a vacant home will appeal to buyers is just another source of stress.
But below, you’ll find some handy tips on how to sell your empty home, from making it more appealing to buyers to keeping it safe while you’re in the process of selling it.
How to Sell An Empty House: 7 Tips
1. Know Your Market
The housing market in Houston is known for being incredibly competitive. Homes sometimes get snapped up in a matter of days, or even hours! Therefore, motivated buyers are usually as open to viewing vacant houses as they are occupied houses. This has led many people in Houston to sell their house as is.
This may help you avoid a full staging to sell the house. With a comparative market analysis to hand in order to set an accurate price, you can work with your real estate agent to determine how much work you need to put into the presentation of your house.
2. Curb Appeal
With a vacant home, curb appeal is everything. In HomeLight’s Q2 2019 Top Agent Insights Report, it found that over 94% of agents surveyed agreed that curb appeal will add to your home’s bottom line. But there are ways to maintain curb appeal, even if you’re not at the property every day.
-Regular yard care: During the spring and summer, a lawn can get out of control fast. Hire someone to mow the lawn once a week, or every other week in the offseason. The cost of this will depend on the lawn size. However, it’s sure to pay off!
-Keep hedges trimmed: Most landscapers charge per shrub to maintain and trim hedges. But even doing this once can improve your curb appeal!
-Lay down mulch: Not only does a fresh layer of mulch accentuate the landscape, but it keeps weeds at bay.
-Paint the front door: If your home appears a bit flat or dull from the road, repainting the front door a bold, statement color can make your vacant home stand out. For traditional red brick homes, navy, green, or black looks great. Meanwhile, for a more contemporary-looking house, teal or jade really pops! Not only does a fresh coat of paint rejuvenate the house, but it shows potential buyers they won’t have to personally deal with deferred maintenance, even if the house is currently vacant.
3. Remove Any Stray Items
Leaving small items behind such as a lamp or a picture frame can make the space look a little haphazard. Halfway vacant is a midway point to be avoided. A few random items left behind just feel like an afterthought, and are not appealing to potential buyers.
If you are not staging your vacant home, make sure everything is removed before listing it.
4. Schedule Regular Cleanings
When selling your vacant home, beware of dust and grime! If the house looks dirty, this will put off buyers touring the property.
As well as an exhaustive deep cleaning before listing, it’s also a good idea to set up regular cleanings every three weeks. These don’t have to be exhaustive cleanings, but somebody going in, sprucing the place up and getting rid of the cobwebs and dust can make a big difference.
Your real estate agent may be able to make recommendations for local cleaning services if you’re not in the area.
5. Manage the Thermostat Remotely
It’s natural that when buyers walk into a house that is too hot or too cold, they’re not going to have a good first impression. Make buyers at home by setting the thermostat to the ideal home temperature.
The easiest way to do this is to install a smart thermostat, like the Ecobee or Nest, so you can monitor the temperature wherever you are. This also helps you save on heating and cooling costs. The smart thermostats we’ve mentioned can also detect when someone enters the home.
6. Set Up Security
According to the FBI, a home burglary occurs in the U.S. every 25.7 seconds and vacant homes are, unfortunately, often targets for break-ins. Burglars see the for-sale sign as an opportunity, and as strangers walk in and out of the property, this creates even more opportunities to steal appliances or other goods in the home.
Even when you’re not at your property, there are ways to prevent such crimes:
– Alert the neighbors: Nosy neighbors may seem like a nuisance usually, but they are often the best watchdogs. If the neighborhood is particularly close-knit, neighbors will have no problem keeping an eye on your vacant home for you.
All they need to do is give you a quick call or send a quick text to let you know if they spot anything suspicious.
– Invest in smart technology: Tools like the Ring outdoor camera system can help you keep an eye on your property wherever you are.
Installing a smart lock can help you keep track of people coming in and out of the property such as cleaners, lawn caretakers, or a trusted neighbor popping in to check everything is alright.
– Motion-activated flood lights: A bright, motion-activated flood light draws attention to activity around your vacant home after dark, and is a good deterrent for criminals. Most of these flood lights are also easy to install.
7. Make Sure You Have Valid Homeowner’s Insurance
If your vacant property has been unoccupied for more than 60 days, you’ll need to change your insurance policy if you haven’t already to ensure you have the right coverage.
Properties that are unoccupied are deemed higher risk, and therefore your policy may be void. Because they are at higher risk, vacant home policies tend to be more expensive than a policy for an occupied home. If you inherited the home or it’s going through probate or held by an executor, you’ll want to get a professional opinion.
Get in touch with your insurance provider to verify if your current policy extends to a vacant property. Otherwise, you may not be covered if your property is vandalized or damaged.
Want to Sell a Vacant Home Quickly?
We realize that not every home seller is in a position to follow this list, as they may not live near the home. Additionally, you may have to sell your house fast due to other considerations. We understand, and have helped many people living in Houston sell their empty or long-term vacant properties for cash.
Our team is experienced in buying vacant homes in Houston, and would love the opportunity to make you a cash offer today.