Are you thinking of selling a vacant house? There are many considerations when selling an empty house that are different than selling an occupied house. In this article we cover:
- Why would a house be vacant?
- What are the dangers of a vacant home?
- What are the most common mistakes when selling a house that is vacant?
- What is the fastest way to sell a vacant home?
Why Would a House Be Vacant?
There are several reasons why a house becomes vacant while an owner is trying to sell. In these situations, it is important to sell a house fast, but many circumstances can prevent a quick sale. Some examples of vacant properties include:
The seller has already moved. Buying a house and selling a house is difficult to time perfectly, which is why many home sellers move before their old house is sold.
New construction. Any newly built house will have time on the market without an owner or resident.
A rental property became vacant. When a tenant moves out, landlords often experience brief vacancies between tenants, even if the time between contracts is seamless. Often, the investment property needs work done between tenants, lengthening the time the property vacant.
Dangers With a Vacant House
To sell a house fast in these situations is critical because of the liabilities and dangers involved in leaving a house vacant too long. Liabilities of a vacant house can include things such as:
- Vandalism and Theft – Vacant properties attract trespassers, thieves and other criminals without proper security measure in place. Without supervision, the houses become easy targets, and damages range from broken light bulbs to graffiti to broken glass, and even to structural damage.
- Trespassing or Squatting – Trespassing is one, thing, but squatting is a whole other story! You can read about squatting below, but trespassing and squatting is quite different. Vacant houses are especially susceptible to homeless people seeking easy shelter, and may cause severe damage over time. The longer a squatter resides in the property the greater the chance of damage or future legal problems. Read more about squatting here.
- Weather – Even after short periods of vacancy, vacant properties are susceptible to weather. Make sure to keep electricity on and manage the thermostat, and make sure there are no items left outside the house that could cause damage with strong winds.
- Neglecting regular maintenance – in the day-to-day activities that happen in a house, most homeowners tend to “little things” promptly before they escalate. Without a resident, those problems build up quickly with no one to detect the issue, which can cause much larger issues over time.
- Water or fire damage – One of the most common issues due to neglect includes water damage. Mold becomes a major problem when homeowners do not tend to small leaks small leaks or air conditioning unit malfunctions.
Mistakes When Selling a Vacant House
To decrease your liability, consider selling an empty house as quickly as possible. Here are the top mistakes to avoid:
#1: Not Getting It Appraised
Having an appraisal to show buyers not only gives you credibility as a seller, but it also may reduce the time taken to negotiate. Buyers who can see an appraisal will feel more comfortable with your selling price and their offer price.
#2: Forgetting Repair Estimates
Whether or not you plan to repair the house before you sell, make sure to get repair estimates, and make sure to get them from more than one person. If you plan to sell the house, this will give you leverage in negotiating the sales price since you know exactly how much the repairs will cost, or how much you paid for them.
#3: Leaving the Utilities Off
As we mentioned earlier, one mistake sellers make is leaving utilities off. Not only will keeping the utilities on help prevent weather damage, but if they are left off, it gives buyers the impression that the house needs more repairs than it actually does. Keeping utilities on will also make it more comfortable for anyone seeing the house.
#4: Forgetting to Disclose Repairs Needed
If you do not complete all the repairs, make sure you disclose all the repairs needed. You could be found liable for problems you did not disclose, even in an as-is sale.
#5: Forgetting to Stage the House
Vacant houses sell more slowly than occupied houses because people need to see the house as a home, and if it is empty it is just a shell. Keeping enough furniture and décor to make the house looked lived in helps tremendously when potential buyers view the house. Additionally, having the home staged gives buyers points of reference. Empty rooms look smaller, and buyers need help seeing how each space can be used. Lastly, making sure the house doesn’t look vacant helps protect it from intruders.
#6: Neglecting to Secure the House
Lastly, as we mentioned earlier, make to secure the house in order to prevent damage from weather, squatters, trespassers, criminals and other vandals.
What is the Fastest Way to Sell a Vacant House?
To see our tips on selling a house when out of state, click here. The quickest way to sell a house, especially an empty house in which no one currently resides, is to sell to a company such as Big State Home Buyers. Home investors such as Big State have experience marketing and selling houses that are not in perfect condition, so even if the house has experienced damage from weather or vandals, it can still be sold as-is. We offer free no-obligation quotes for people who want to sell their houses quickly, so call today to see how we can help.