The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Your Listing is Screaming Desperation
Category - Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Articles
The listing presentation was successful, the sign has been placed and the flyers are in the box but is your vacant house screaming "desperation" to potential buyers? In today's market the first impression you may be giving the buyer is one of desperation - the sellers have already relocated. Are they in trouble and have moved out or are they stuck with 2 mortgages?

It's true that most Realtors dread handling a listing that is vacant as they are much harder to sell than one that is fully furnished, but in today's market that mindset won't get you very far. The Census Bureau just reported that during the first quarter of this year 2.9% of all houses on the market (excluding rentals) were vacant. NAR just reported that in March the sales of existing homes fell by 2% with prices declining on a year-over-year basis by 7.7%.

For 90% of buyers it's hard to visualize what their furniture and belongings will look like in a vacant house and you can't afford those odds. That's the primary reason furnished homes sell faster and generally yield a higher return for the seller. A vacant home is often dim and cold, giving off an impression of desperation. That's why the first thing a Realtor does is turn on every available light in the house in an attempt to add some warmth.

Consider that vacant houses also tend to highlight their flaws: Floors show more dirt and scratches, carpet stains stand out and walls show holes and marks. The same goes for the outside if it hasn't been maintained, which all but destroys any curb appeal the house may have. Yet even ensuring that the basics are covered may not be enough: Cleaning has been done, the utilities are on, general maintenance has been completed and there are bulbs in any available fixtures. The problem remains it's vacant.

One solution is to put some furniture in the house but without some thought and planning the result is often nothing more than converting a vacant home into a warehouse. In an effort to overcome these obstacles Realtors across the country are adding home staging to their skill set.

Staging provides the clues that buyers need to begin visualizing the house as their "home." It really is all about that very important first impression that starts with the curb appeal and continues throughout both the interior and exterior. It involves developing a keen eye for creating just the right setting. Take your lead from the homebuilders - you never see them using vacant models. They understand the importance of enhancing the visual process and that is what staging is all about.

Yes, the vacant house may be your challenge today but it doesn't need to be a problem without a solution. It just takes some dedication to acquire the skills necessary to meet that challenge and convert that "emptiness" into an appealing setting.

If you want to learn more about the staging process National Realty News recommends that you look into the Accredited Home-Staging Specialist (AHS) course now offered online by RealtyU. The course provides an excellent overview of the staging process and including tips, suggestions and checklists to help agents overcome the dreaded vacant home syndrome. All the details of this excellent course can be reviewed at


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