Sell Your Home: Vacant or Furnished?

This is a perennial problem for home sellers and is especially relevant today in a buyer’s market. Which will help your home sell faster and for the best price: vacant or furnished?  The answer to that question may mean the difference between a sale or an expired listing.

Many agents prefer showing vacant properties for one reason: it’s easier. Frequently, buyers happen upon a house and want to see If the property is occupied, then the agent must request permission from the seller. Additionally, some sellers must be home to handle their animals or protect their elderly relatives from intrusion. That delay no doubt eliminates many showings of their property. Many sellers, especially in today’s slower market, get discouraged and stop keeping up appearances. Unmade beds, overflowing trash baskets, dishes in the sink are big turn-offs for  buyers who frequently leap to the conclusion these temporary conditions mean the seller has not maintained the house either.

So, does that mean vacant is better? Actually, no…Think about new home sales. There must be a reason why new home builders put 10% to 20% of the value of the property into model homes. There is–it’s called good marketing. Most buyers fall into one of two categories: those who can create their own vision for the home they are viewing or those who have trouble imagining.  Most of us fall into the latter category. Unless your buyer has had quite a bit of experience decorating and buying various houses, most likely some visual help in the form of a lived-in home will do the most good.

Which would attract you more?                                          OR

That’s what a well-presented home can supply–excellent marketing. There is nothing more appealing to buyers than walking into a homey home which is sparkling clean, free of everyday detritus and just begging to be lived in. That’s why some of the smartest sellers keep the A/C on during the day when buyers might visit or the heat depending on the season. Many sellers keep on a radio or leave a plate of cookies temptingly out on the countertop. There’s also the pot-pourri trick or the dining room table fully set and ready for guests.

It’s hard to keep a home sparkling over a long period of time on the market. Kids, dogs, jobs, everyday living–these things do tend to interfere with that perfect atmosphere that will help the buyer visualize your home as his home. But making that extra effort pays off in shorter market time and higher prices.

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