Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors Philadelphia realtors real estate homes for sale

Janis Peterson, GRI, Realtor®

Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate

Tel:  (610) 642-3744

Fax: (610) 658-0267


Subject: Selling a Vacant House?

Amelia had accepted a job in another state. With her start date only weeks away and her house still not sold, she feels forced to move and leave the house vacant until it sells. Amelia's concerned. And rightfully so. She knows that a vacant house can imply that the owner's desperate for a fast sale, and it can be targeted for vandalism.

What can be done? Homeowners like Amelia can employ one or more of these strategies to hasten the sale of a vacant property as well as protect it during the process.

  • Give the house a lived-in look to thwart any unwelcome visits. Set a couple of lamps on timers, and have a neighbor or friend check on the house daily to take in mail, park a car in the driveway, and close and open drapes and windows. Continue using a gardening service or hire someone to cut the grass regularly. During the winter months, arrange to have snow shoveled from the walks and driveway.

  • If you remove the furniture, have the house cleaned and painted. Furniture, rugs and decorations tend to hide or minimize imperfections. When furniture and artwork have been removed, every blemish and bruise becomes accentuated, faded paint and wallpaper become more noticeable and scratches and nicks stand out.

  • Leave behind a few select pieces of furniture and keep the window treatments in place. Instead of producing a spacious appearance, an empty room tends to look smaller than a furnished room. A chair or lamp on a small table will confer a sense of scale and help potential buyers gauge whether their furniture will fit the space.

  • Consider employing a home care specialist marketing service. At no cost to homeowners, the house is professionally decorated, and trained and insured home care specialists, or house sitters, maintain it in show-to-sell condition. Most companies require home care specialists to mow the lawn, shovel snow, even pay pool maintenance and utilities. Having someone living on site discourages vandalism, protects against deterioration and weather hazards and may even reduce insurance costs. (Check with your insurance carrier.) Using a service of this kind may help you sell the house faster and at a better price, while relieving you of property management duties. Search the Internet for professional house sitters in your area.

  • Find a real estate professional with experience selling vacant houses. Very often, these agents specialize in relocation. According to an article in the Detroit News (To Sell an Empty House, Pay Full Attention to the Upkeep, July 29, 1995), sellers should have their relocation specialist monitor the condition of the house with regular visits; twice a week would be reasonable. And agree up front that if a problem develops, a contractor will be arranged for and the work verified by the relocation specialist.

    Although a vacant house presents certain challenges, it does not need to be difficult to sell. Just keep it spotless and in show-to-sell condition, inside and out.

    "Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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