Selling a vacant property - pros and cons.
Category Top Property Tips
When selling a property, it is commonplace to put it on the market while it is still furnished. But what if it's vacant?
Let's be honest - in most cases homes look much better when they are furnished rather than when they are vacant, so there are some key things to be aware of when selling a vacant or unfurnished home. Seeff provide some pointers on the pros and cons of selling a vacant property.
Vacant properties often feel cold and sterile, and potential buyers may find it hard to judge the size of rooms, or to picture themselves living in the space if it is empty. On top of this, being unoccupied or unfurnished can really put any flaws that your property might have in the spotlight. Having no furniture or personal effects to mask any imperfections means buyers will notice every stain on the carpet, every scuff on the walls and every maintenance issue. These may cause potential buyers to offer a lower purchase price in compensation, or even put them off the property altogether. If you have to sell your home vacant please be prepared to spend some money making sure it looks in as good condition as possible before putting it on the market.
While saying that spaces look better when furnished, please note that they look best of all when sparsely furnished. Homes which are full of clutter look smaller, and can also give the impression of being run down. In higher priced and prestige markets it is common to hire 'home stagers' for vacant homes to bring them to life - and there is a lot to be said for doing what you can to ensure that the property has basic furniture in it to delineate the space. If this is just not possible, perhaps consider having some 'virtual' furniture added to your marketing images to set the stage.
Of course 'vacant' has another meaning when it comes to selling an investment property with tenants. If your tenants move on before you sell, this will of course mean that you no longer have rental income to offset against any bond repayments, which could present a serious cashflow problem. Speak to your lender and see if they can give you a 'payment holiday' until after the sale, when all outstanding payments can be deducted straight from the settlement proceeds.
Selling a property with tenants in place can be tricky, unless they are accommodating and tidy. Some tenants will understand and cooperate with your wish to sell, while others will kick up problems in terms of access to show the property and make no effort to keep it looking presentable. Both of the latter will impact both your chances of a sale and the price you achieve. However, if you are lucky enough to have a friendly and cooperative tenant, you will still have rent money coming in while it is on the market. You will have to get your timing right in terms of the expiry date of the lease. If your tenants still have a long term to go on the lease, your agent will need to find a buyer who is willing to purchase the property with the tenant in place.
Author: Elaine Chetty