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Should I Leave my Home Staged or Sell Vacant?

Nobody likes the process of moving- and those who are more gung-ho to move their furniture into their new place before their current home sells may end up paying a steep price for it, according to this recent Redfin survey.

Selling Vacant versus a Staged Home

A home that has furniture, or is staged actually sells for $11,306 MORE than homes that are vacant. In addition, these homes also take six days less to sell than vacant homes.

Why is this you ask? Well Redfin's chief economist Daryl Fairweather explains, "Although vacant homes are easy for buyers to tour at their convenience, the fact that the sellers have already moved on is often a signal to buyers that they can take their time making an offer. It’s also likely that sellers who are in a comfortable enough financial situation to own a property that’s sitting empty aren’t as motivated to get the highest possible price for their home as sellers who need the cash from their first home in order to buy the next one."

Selling Empty = Selling for Less

Property location also seems to matter for homes located in certain metros of Nebraska or South Carolina- where vacant properties sold for a whopping 7.2 percent less than their occupied home counterparts- this equated to about $15,000 in value!

Other areas where vacant homes sold for much less than occupied homes were El Paso, Texas, with 6.6 percent less or $10,000 in value.

In tighter housing markets like San Jose, California, homes only sold fractionally less- just 0.9 percent than occupied ones. However due to the tight inventory in the San Jose area, vacant properties actually sell much quicker, though.

Selling for Less in Las Vegas

Even Las Vegas, NV made the Redfin survey- but the discrepancy was much smaller- just 1.5 percent less on a vacant house versus occupied homes.

Steps to Maximize Value

Obviously, not everyone has the ability to leave their current house staged, while it sells (maybe due to simultaneous closings). But if you do have some leeway and flex-ability, consider moving only personal belongings to your new home. This means emptying out all closets, empty out kitchen cabinets, pantries, and storage areas- and yes, also emptying out your garage to make your home feel airy-and-open, (but still lived in.) Just try to leave beds, nightstands, end tables and sofas, and dining tables, and a few table-top decor items, so you can help the new buyers imagine themselves in your home.

If your home sells for thousands of dollars more, it might be worth it to sleep on that mattress for a few weeks till your house passes due-diligence period with the new buyers! Think of it as 'glamping' (camping but with hot running water!) I actually did this when I sold my own primary residence a few years ago. The house looked lived-in until you opened a cabinet or pantry door or medicine cabinet. I was also amazed at how much more open my house felt afterwards, too. The end result seemed to pay off, as my REALTOR did have a bit of a bidding-war for the property, which did sell well above my list price; and that is always a good thing :-)

To read more about the full Redfin Report, please click here.

Looking to Move?


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