Last year of the estimated 130 million housing units in the United States, 11.3 percent or some 14 million stood vacant according to the U.S. Census. A large portion of these houses are vacant and for sale, leading to a glut of vacant houses crowding the market.
“Given the vast oversupply of homes currently on the market, only the jewels will sell. If a house is vacant, it must be updated, remodeled or staged if it is to have a chance of selling,” said Nancy Osborne, Chief Operating Officer of Erate.com, a Santa Clara CA-based financial information publisher and interest rate tracker. Showhomes Home Staging confirms that trying to sell a vacant house adds obstacles to the sale and depresses the sales price.
Showhomes Home Staging is a franchised business with a twist: the company uses live-in Home Managers to manage vacant houses while they are on the market for sale and offset a homeowner’s expense to stage the home. Its unique model has proven effective for 25 years.
Here are five reasons a vacant house is hard to sell from Showhomes Home Staging:
1. People don’t simply buy houses; they buy the next chapter of their lives.
This is an emotional experience and emotion influences what people buy and how much they will pay. Vacant houses are devoid of life, and the chance to make an emotional connection is lost.
2. Vacancy distracts buyers from looking at the house itself.
They wonder: “Is this a divorce? Why did they move out? Are they selling because they have money problems? Is this home hard to sell?” They’ll make a low-ball offer, thinking the owner is desperate.
3. When a house is vacant, buyers focus on flaws.
They look at nail holes, carpet wear and gaps in the molding rather than how the space works. In a vacant house, floors, walls and ceilings are all buyers see. This drives the price down.
4. People can’t visualize how furniture fits.
An empty bedroom might appear awkward or a living room might seem cavernous. Some spaces might confuse buyers because a use is not obvious. Buyers are derailed and move on to the next house.
5. Vacant houses don’t show as well as staged and occupied homes.
Without people, even the best house quickly looks and smells vacant. Dust settles, leaves scatter, and stale odors spread. These cues often shorten the showing time, leading to fewer sales.
“Homeowners don’t realize how much harder a vacant house is to sell,” says Matt Kelton, Showhomes’ COO. “In today’s market you have to win the beauty contest to sell your home.”
“Staging your home is no longer an option,” says Barbara Corcoran, real estate expert for the Today Show and star of Shark Tank.