Vacant homes suck the life out of their own sales:
USA Today Design Talk blog:
Recently I was asked by Design Talk to write a column on a question they are frequently asked. The question comes from sellers concerned abut selling their vacant houses and wondering if their property would have a better chance of selling if it had furnishings in it.
Well I replied saying... the fact that most Realtors dread handling a listing that is vacant says a lot, for they know that an empty house is typically a harder sell to make than one that is fully furnished. But why are vacant houses more difficult to sell then furnished homes? Let's take look at a few reasons...
First, an empty room will always feel smaller than a furnished room. When potential buyers tour a property, they are trying to "map" their lives into the home's space. Buyers are evaluating the house to SEE that it will work for them. To help them understand how a house will work or not, buyers will relate the size and fit of the seller's furnishing to their own. Vacant homes make this basic part of the buying process more difficult.
Next, for many buyers a big part of knowing a house will be the "right" is the emotional connection/vibe they get from it. Houses that are vacant often give off a hollow desperate loneliness. Because it is harder to get the welcome feeling of "home" from a vacant property, the emptiness will actually make it more difficult for buyers to emotionally attach to it.
You may have noticed that Realtors, about to show a furnished home, first turn on EVERY light and lamp in it before the buyer gets there to tour it. (And when I say "every light," I mean EVERY light.) They turn on the lights because they know that a well lit home sparkles, shines, and adds a warmth and glow that buyers find appealing. Unfortunately, a vacant house will quite often lack or have no lights at all in some rooms. This bad lighting makes it harder for the buyer to see what they are buying, and ends up making the house show as dreary, dark and dull. A big reason why vacant houses are harder to sell is that there naturally is not much to look at, so what there is to see gets scrutinized. While a buyer does want to spend their hard earned money to BUY a home, they are not too interested in spending money on making repairs and fixing the problems the seller chose to leave behind. Having nothing in a house makes it very easy for the buyer to focus their attention on even the smallest of flaws and then negatively fixate on having to spend money to make repairs. Think about it. a wood, tile and linoleum floor will show more dirt, scratches and mars; the smallest carpet stains will clearly be visible; and naked walls will noticeably reveal all the holes, nicks and scuffs that are present. Because the home is unoccupied, the exterior maintenance will often go undone. In the summer, lawns will either overgrow or burn out and weeds will take over gardens. In northern markets, walks and drives will be hidden if not shoveled after a winter snow fall. In general an unkempt exterior will kill any curb appeal and immediately start to diminish the buyer's hopes as to what to expect on the interior.
For all these reasons, a vacant house will be more difficult to sell then a furnished home. A buyers market will only make it even more difficult for a seller to sell for there are more than enough homes to choose from. Therefore, it is easy to understand how a buyer will be attracted to a home that they spatially understand; get a good feeling of "home" from; is bright, warm and inviting; and shows no glaring signs for maintenance or repair.
Oh... and just because a home is furnished does not make it an automatically and perfectly appealing home to buy. for even a furnished home still should be light, bright, CLEAN, maintained and uncluttered.