Many Wake County homeowners have life circumstances that change and require them to move abruptly, leaving them with unwanted, vacant property. Many others, inherit vacant homes from deceased loved ones.
I get asked the question about whether or not to sell a house vacant or occupied all the time. There are both advantages and disadvantages to selling a vacant house, depending on your situation. We will explore these differences below
Advantages of selling a vacant home in Raleigh
1. Vacant homes are easier to show
One of the advantages of selling a vacant home is that they are easier to show. The seller does not have to worry about being interrupted for last-minute showings, or having to spend their weekends driving around while buyers look through their house.
This is also a benefit when trying to rent a home that is vacant. We just rented a home in Greenville and all showings were done via light screening and a lockbox with the key. This allows owners much more flexibility in their busy lives.
2. Vacant Homes are easier to clean and don’t need to be de-cluttered
Almost all experienced agents will agree that de-cluttering a home is essential to effective home staging. If the home is vacant, the seller does not have to do any de-cluttering. It is much easier to tidy up a vacant home than it is with your primary residence. A quick vacuum, flushing of toilets, and some air freshener, usually do the trick.
It goes without saying that a seller should NOT leave any personal belongings in a vacant home they are trying to sell!
3. Vacant homes are prime candidates for professional staging
Many sellers, myself included, will pay to have their homes for sale staged by a professional. If the home is vacant, the staging company can work their magic without having to match the seller’s furniture, and decorum.
For the statistics on how staging helps sell a home faster, check out the HouseHunt.com blog on staging.
Disadvantages of selling a vacant home in Raleigh
1. Vacant homes have huge carrying costs
Vacant houses are terribly expensive to maintain. In addition to the mortgage interest, owners of vacant homes are paying to live somewhere else, which equals two house payments! The most common expenses for vacant properties include, but are not limited to:
- Principle & Interest Payments
- Lawn maintenance and landscaping
The monthly mortgage payment of principal, interest, taxes and insurance is by far the greatest expense. If the property has no debt on it, and is free & clear, taxes and insurance must still be paid.
One caveat is that properties that have been vacant for more than 30 days require special insurance which is much more expensive. If there is a loss through fire, flood, vandalism, etc, the insurance company will not pay a claim on a house that has been vacant for more than 30 days without the appropriate insurance coverage.
“Either the coverage is very limited but the premium is reasonable, or the coverage is as good as the homeowners policy but the premium cost is 4-5 times greater.” Managing the Risks of a Vacant Home – Jack Hungelmann
As a company that buys houses in Raleigh, we pay thousands of dollars per year in loan interest, taxes, insurance, and other expenses on vacant houses—it’s expensive!
2. Vacant houses attract vandalism and crime
Vacant houses are far more likely to be broken into or have the HVAC unit stolen. The compressor is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment attached to a home.
We’ve had to replace many HVAC units in our time as property owners and the cost is usually upwards of $5,000.
Vacant properties have negative spillover effects that impact neighboring properties and entire communities. Research links foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties with reduced property values, increased crime, increased risk to public health and welfare.
3. Vacant houses are prime targets for water damage and leaks
The thing about having vacant property is that if something goes wrong, it takes a few days for someone to discover the problem. From water and plumbing leaks to major electrical problems.
This happened to a friend and colleague of mine who had upgraded to a larger home. Just before the closing date, my friend returned to the house to get one last personal item he had forgotten about. He was startled when he found a pool of water in the kitchen. One of the valves on the washer hook-up had failed and leaked water all over the kitchen. Fortunately, he arrived in time to take care of the problem before there was substantial damage.
4. Defects and blemishes are more apparent in a vacant home
The one broken blind in the far corner of the room is far more apparent in an empty rather than in one that is furnished or has been staged. This is the same for scuff marks, holes, carpet stains, etc.
The easiest way to avoid all the hassle and expense of selling a vacant house is to call a local home buyer like Wake County Home Buyers.