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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Do I Stay or Do I Go? Selling a Vacant Home

You’ve decided to sell your house. Should you move out before sellers come calling? You may not have a choice if you are relocating for a new job or in other situations, but if you do, is selling a vacant home a good idea?

Advantages of selling a vacant home

Showing a home you’ve already left is undoubtedly more convenient. When your house is for sale, it has to be ready for showing on short notice. If you’re still living there, you may have piles of laundry waiting to be washed, food cooking on the stove, and a messy homework project spread out all over the kitchen table when you get a notice that an agent wants to show your home in 30 minutes. Yikes!

If you’ve vacated your home, agents can show it at any time, meaning more potential buyers see it. You need not turn down showings because they’re inconvenient. Nor will you have to find someplace to go while agents and would-be buyers tour your home. It will be easier to arrange times for inspectors and appraisers to visit when selling a vacant house.

An additional plus during the time of COVID-19 is that if you’ve already moved out, you won’t have to return to a living space that strangers have just visited.

Disadvantages of selling a vacant home

Buyers want to feel that the house they are touring could be their home. An empty house won’t stir buyers’ emotions or make them feel, well, at home. If you are not living in your house while it’s on the market, you’ll need to stage it to look like a home, not just a house. But bringing in furnishings and accessories will cost you.

An additional cost associated with selling a vacant home is that you are still paying on its mortgage when you take on a mortgage or rent payments on your new place. What’s more, your standard homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover your property while it is vacant.  Be sure to check with your insurance agent to see if you need a vacant home policy, which can be expensive.

When a house is empty, it’s at greater risk of being vandalized or targeted by burglars. And if you’re not there, it may be days or weeks before you know about leaks or other potential calamities.

The bottom line is that if you must vacate your house before it’s sold, work with your agent on marketing strategies to get the home sold as soon as possible. That way, you can reap the advantages of selling a vacant home and minimize the downsides.

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