Profile picture for vbaranowski

Easier to sell empty??

I'm just wondering....Is it any easier to sell a house when it's empty?
  • November 03 2007 - US
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Answers (25)

Profile picture for robin398
I would say furnished. It is harder to sell an empty house.
  • November 03 2007
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If you have to have it empty, maybe take pictures of it furnished/decorated for the mls. I had to sell my house empty, but I did leave a few curtains up and some wall art to highlight the paint colors and architecture. I was aslo suprised by how big the family room looked when I took my couches.

Also, it's "easier" selling empty in the sense that you don't live there anymore and you don't always have to be ready for a showing.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for keeztan
Just a little tip for agents with empty homes. I use to have a number of rental properties and many times when I had to show them they would be empty. Most people can not visualize furniture size and placement so I came up with a simple solution. I made some full size templates of Queen bed, sofa etc. from butcher or Kraft paper and kept them rolled up in my car. When a prospective tenant wasn't sure if their bed etc. would fit, I would simply roll out the paper template and let them see for themselves.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for LinusK
As a buyer, I prefer empty homes. I'm not buying the furniture.
  • November 03 2007
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Quite creative Keeztan. After having my house on the market for over 6 months, half of that time being furnished and the other 3 months empty I can say that it didn't matter....what sold the house was price. The only way a house is going to appeal to someone more when furnished is if your stuff is truly nice, updated, and something that someone else would like to have or could visualize for themselves. That is why no builder's model home has furniture from 1975 or plastic chairs on the lanai. Many people just don't see the dirt, the worn furniture, and dingy linens and how it reflects the way a buyer will view the house; that perhaps they don't take good care of it.

If a buyer is looking to move into a house sooner and at a date they want then empty may appeal to them because the owners will clearly be more adaptable to their closing needs/dates.

I left a book with 8X10 pictures of the home furnished to give them some idea of the scale of the rooms and how furniture was placed in it, though I am sure that the marks in the carpet helped too......ice cubes didn't seem to help those out at all......
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for meyers
My home was furnished for the first month of its listing and we got 2 offers. For the last 3 months it has been unfurnished, but I did leave some art, shower curtains, rugs in kitchen, and other plants around. During the last 3-months we had another 2 offers. All offers went south, however.

We will hopefully be getting our 5th offer this evening. We were supposed to get it yesterday, but the buyers had more questions about home warranties and such.

I think that if you are going to sell your home unfurnished, then it better look brand new. You shouldn't be able to tell where furniture sat on the carpet, the tile and grout should be spotless, the bathrooms should be gleaming. People should feel like they're walking into a brand new home with a few accents here and there for focal points. That is my two cents.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for vbaranowski
Our house has been on the market since mid-July and we have been building a new house. The new one will be ready in 2 weeks, but the builder is stretching it out to the end of this month to give us more time to sell.

We have had a total of 45 showings (20 in October alone), but not one offer. We've lowered the price 3 times and replaced the carpet one 2.5 months ago. Our agent says we are priced right and should not lower any more as we are already the best deal in the neighborhood.

Our main problem seems to be that all our bedrooms are upstairs and the going trend in our area is to have the master down with the family room open to the second floor (we have neither). There is absolutely nothing we can do about that....;-(

Homes have been selling in my neighborhood, but they are going for the one stories and the master downs.

I am now seriously considering doing an 80/20 loan and carrying 2 mortgages until it sells. I was just hoping that perhaps we might get an offer if all our furniture was not in it....

Sorry for the long dissertation, but I am unfortunately very attached to the home we are building and so stressed right now I can't stand it....

If anyone has any comments about my home, good or bad, please let me know.

1514 Grand Junction Dr.

Thanks...
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for meyers
VB - I can so sympathize with you regarding the thought of carrying two mortgages. I'm doing it and have been for 4 months! No fun . . . so if there is any way possible that your builder could stretch closing even further that would be great. You would think that they would work with you rather than lose a sale and have to find a new buyer this late in the game.

As far as your home is concerned . . . the outside is just beautiful and the backyard looks nice as well. For your Zillow listing - it does appear that your pictures tend to focus on your furniture versus the actual rooms. Some have said the same of my pictures, too, but it is too late for me to change that due to the fact that my home is now empty.

The market is a terrible thing to deal with right now. I'm not a realtor and don't know your area, but your price seems great by looking at the Zillow maps of your surrounding area. I just can't get over a 2600 square foot home priced in the $100's!!! In Flagstaff that home would be going for at least $550K! Local markets are amazing in their differences.

Best of luck to you. Since I'm doing what you are thinking of doing (two mortgages) take my advice. Don't let the financial strain affect your family. It is easy to let happen because it seems to be all you can think about. However, ALWAYS take time for your family and yourself.
  • November 03 2007
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It's funny, but most people I work with would rather see an empty house. Maybe it's a regional thing. I would suggest taking out the headboard in the bedroom and get nice, crisp bedding on the bed like you would see in a luxury hotel, get some nice fluffy towels for the bathrooms, and remove the afghans from the furniture.
  • November 03 2007
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I dont think you should worry about removing the furniture. As a buyer, I would prefer to see a super *clean* empty house anyway rather than a furnished one. I think a spotless house has more appeal than a "staged" house.
  • November 03 2007
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I totally agree Dominika.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for writeagain
Personally, I think it helps sometimes to have the furniture in place for buyers to see - especially when they're like me and are horrible at spacial relations. I can't visualize anything.

Our third bedroom is small and so far everyone who has seen it has been really pleased that it's furnished so they can see how it can be done. It's got a crib, changing table, dresser, rocking chair and bookcase in it and it doesn't looked cramped. It's been a good selling point.

The other thing I'll say is that sometimes having the room empty creates the optical illusion of it being smaller than it really is. A new construction went up around the corner from us and I went to see the open house. It's completely unfurnished and the living and dining room looked super small. Got home and compared the dimensions - same size as mine it just did not look it at all.

I like the idea of leaving photos around that show the furnished rooms. At least that's something. A virtual tour might help, too. I know they look distorted when you view them, but at least someone can see all the funiture you had in the room at one point.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for LongIslandBubble
When I see a picture of a house that is empty, it's a dead giveaway that the owner is not living there and most likely has two mortgages. These people are more likely to cut their price as they have an alligator chomping at their feet.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for vbaranowski
Thanks for all the feedback! Marci - I plan to go to the mall later to look for new towels and bedspread...Consider the afghans GONE!
  • November 03 2007
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LOL good deal, take new pics and post them after you're done.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for 2 Big 2 Fail
"When I see a picture of a house that is empty, it's a dead giveaway that the owner is not living there and most likely has two mortgages. These people are more likely to cut their price as they have an alligator chomping at their feet."

This is exactly why many sellers rent furniture. I have been to the open houses and look at pictures on the MLS, and I do not see any vacant houses. Some are furnished really nicely, so I have a suspcion they were staged, but I do not know for sure. But again, very few houses in my area are vacant.
  • November 03 2007
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The house is nice, clean and neat. Don't knock the fact that you have all bedrooms upstairs, I prefer it since my children are younger and want them closer to me. The house looks a little sterile: white walls, plain colors, so it lacks any umph. You don't have to spend much money, few pillows to add color, and I keep noticing that many who ask for help here never have any plant life, add a fuax tree in that living room to breathe some life into the room....pull that sectional from the wall a little on the window side and put a tree in that back corner to create a place for the eye to see or put it at the end on the blank wall.

If your realtor says the price is right and it sounds like you have loads of showings, perhaps a small dip in price to make the edge better will help tip all those people looking at your house and make them want it because it is in their budget. Like Meyers I have been doing the 2 payments a month, and it is painful.
  • November 03 2007
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Profile picture for vbaranowski
Marci, 3girls - I have posted some new pics after making some of your suggested changes...New bedspread and towels (removed the afghans).

I also bought a faux ficus and placed it behind the couch to give the room a bit more color.

Thanks for the suggestions!! I am hoping for some positive activity this week...;-)
  • November 04 2007
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Very nice! Those little changes really do make a difference. I am still in shock that you can get a house like that for under 150k.
  • November 04 2007
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Profile picture for vbaranowski
Had I put it on the market back in May, probably would have been able to sell for more than 150K. It's definitely worth it, but the market is just sucking right now and I am running out of time 'waiting' for the right buyer...
  • November 04 2007
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Profile picture for lucydjacobs
Hi,

You are doing the perfect thing, I believe, which is to have a home half-empty. No clutter to distract, but a few pieces to help buyers visualize the size. We left our breakfast table in the kitchen, bistro set on the patio, had all of the cabinets, pantry and closets empty except for a few cleaning supplies to keep the place dusted and mopped up. Our buyer wanted our breakfast table and bistro set in the deal, so staging must matter.

Pull up the blinds up during showings. You're selling bright and pretty windows, remember, not blinds.

Get a storage unit and remove the small sofa from the bedroom. Take out the beer signs over the FoosBall table. Maybe even get the FoosBall into storage, unless you need it to keep the kids happy and you sane. I'm not against beer - I have a vintage beer clock of my own in our office, but took it out for showings. Buyers today prefer to see themselves in your home, visualize it, and think of it as their home and not as much as yours.

I would add some contrast on the sofa so that the room doesn't look all one color. Add a couple of throw pillows - black as the predominant color to tie in with the tables. The dark will give it some pop. If the breakfast table is in eyeline of the family room, add black placemats to tie both rooms together or paint chairs black, the new trend to give a room pop from an all-wood look.

These are minor fixes. It's a nice home. Good luck!
  • November 05 2007
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Profile picture for House_Hopeful
Beatiful Home! Price looks good too. Here in So Cali, your sale price is a 20% down payment on one of our homes! If you're currently living in your home, then I think staging if fine - - just declutter. Looking at your pix, everything looks in order already. If your home were vacant, I would like it empty. I prefer to see open spaces, clear of furntiure. I want to see house down to it's bare bones!
  • November 05 2007
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New homes in New communities are ALWAYS staged. Furniture in a home should complement the home, not detract from it. Most buyers cannot look past the family pictures or gawdy decor. Area rugs make you wonder what someone is hiding. Stats are in that staged homes sell faster. A site I like is www.stagedhomes.com Go see the before and after.
  • November 05 2007
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Profile picture for 2 Big 2 Fail
One thing I always love about new communites that have yet to be built is that the artist renderings always look nicer than the final product...
  • November 05 2007
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Profile picture for vbaranowski
Thanks for the helpful feedback! I will continue to tweak and make some of the changes you all have suggested. When I lowered the price $10,000 two weeks ago, I thought we would have to beat off the offers, but nothing yet...

Based on the feedback I've received thus far, I will tweak and then just try to be patient.....
  • November 05 2007
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