Selling a house is already a challenging task. There’s no way to predict how long it’ll take to sell, and you may be dependent on that money to put towards your new home. Most people will find themselves feeling stressed somewhere during the process.
Especially if you’re a first-time home seller, you may be undecided on whether to leave the house furnished or empty during the showing. The success of sales tactics can often be driven by how a home is presented, so this choice is crucial.
You’ve probably heard that vacant houses may be more challenging to sell. This is generally true. Keep reading for more information on why vacant homes take longer to sell and why you may want to present a furnished house.
Selling Empty VS. Furnished: The Short Answer
In a nutshell: no, vacant homes don’t sell faster. Leaving a home vacant during showings typically lengthens the time it takes for you to sell due to various factors. Additionally, vacant homes generally tend to fetch a lower selling price than if it’s furnished. This remains true even if the furnishing isn’t included in the sale.
If you think about it from a buyer’s perspective, seeing a furnished home makes it easier to envision living there or seeing the space as their own. As a result, there’s a higher likelihood of attracting more interest at an earlier stage in the selling process. More on this will be discussed further down.
The Downside Of A Longer Selling Period
Typically, home sellers try to sell a home within a month. Higher-end homes or specific niche homes may take longer—some nearly two years—before they’re sold. Most home sellers will fall into the first group who’d ideally sell within a month.
Of course, some downsides come when your home is on the market for too long:
- It means you’ll need to wait longer before you see any money from the sale, which may have negative financial implications.
- You’ll likely have several taxes, fees, and insurance costs to pay as long as the home is yours, costing more in the long term.
- You may need to lower your asking price to attract new prospective buyers.
The Challenges Of Selling A Vacant Home
- People Buy With Emotion
When it comes to sales, it’s a well-established idea that people buy with emotions and then justify their purchase with logic. Another iteration is that people buy the emotion itself and then go on to justify their decision. When you consider this in the context of selling a house, it’s easy to see how emotion plays a significant role. Purchasing a house is one of life’s more expensive expenditures—people surely would look for a home they can feel themselves living in.
The problem is that this is more difficult to achieve when selling an empty house vs. a furnished home. Furnished—particularly professionally staged—houses do an excellent job of getting buyers to form an emotional connection as they tour the house. It’s easier to imagine a house becoming your home when you have a view of how the space can be utilized. It’s more challenging to achieve this effect with a vacant house.
2. Flaws May Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb
Sometimes you may want to draw attention toward certain things and away from others. For example, this may be referred to as a ‘focal point’ in art. Magicians use a similar tactic and call it misdirection. Either way, the purpose is to achieve your intended effect by directing attention to where you want it.
Furnishing draws attention to overall space utilization. When a potential buyer walks into a room, you want them to engage with the room and imagine how they’d use it. Perhaps they even begin rearranging the room with their furniture in their mind’s eye. In a vacant space, it’s easier for the eye to be attracted to things like chipped paint, cracks, and other minor flaws. Even the wrong plug switches may deter a buyer if it’s the only thing to notice in a room.
3. Limited Sales Strategies
You have no control over a house’s location. However, you do have control over the place’s price and presentation. Leaving it vacant eliminates much of your’ presentation powers’ and undermines your marketing strategy to the price—which you probably don’t want to adjust too much.
Furnishing allows you to sell a home and a lifestyle. Additionally, you can adjust furnishing to create different atmospheres and lean into different sales pitches. Once again, making someone feel emotion for empty space is difficult.
Can A Vacant Home Still Sell?
Selling vacant houses may sound quite unappealing at this point, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Empty houses can still be sold; they just might take a bit longer. Furthermore, there are some things you can do to ease the process.
In the case of an empty house, it’s all about creating a good first impression. Keeping the house well-maintained and in excellent condition can go a long way. Additionally, try adding any furniture to some of the living areas—it doesn’t need to be fully furnished.
It seems to be no secret that vacant houses usually stay on the market for a bit longer than furnished houses. Emotional appeal plays a subconscious factor in most sales, especially when something as big as a house is of concern. Unfortunately, empty houses are difficult to stage and present as a home, making it more difficult for a buyer to form that emotional connection with the house. If you want to sell a house faster, try to get it professionally staged. If that’s impossible, any furniture—even if not the best looking—can help your house appeal to more buyers.