Most estate agents will tell you that to secure a good property sale, it’s best to market a home fully furnished. But to quote the Rolling Stones, ‘You can’t always get what you want’. Whether it be due to a death in the family or a sudden change in circumstances, sellers sometimes find themselves with an empty property to market.
When this happens, what’s the best strategy?
Let’s think about visuals : Empty homes tend to ‘stick’ because we humans are visual creatures. We find it easier to imagine ourselves living in a property that looks ‘lived in’. Photographs of empty rooms don’t ‘tell a story’.
Buyers also struggle to judge the size of a room without everyday items, such as beds or sofas, to provide visual perspective. Bearing this in mind, if you’re selling an empty property, here’s what you should do.
Create a blank canvas: Invest time into presenting the property as a blank canvas onto which a buyer can quickly stamp their own personal touch.
- Remove junk from inside and outside and give everything a good clean. (Empty doesn’t have to mean grotty.)
- Patch up the walls and paint them in a neutral colour.
- Clean the carpets or, if they’re beyond saving, pull them up and tidy up the floorboards.
- Cut back any overgrown bushes in the garden.
To stage or not to stage: Once you’ve got the bare bones of your home shipshape, consider whether to ‘stage’ the property. You could go big and rent furniture and furnishings from a professional staging company. While this will require a financial outlay, if your property is in a high-value area, it’s a move that could make you money in the long run.
If this isn’t a realistic option, you could still bring in some furniture – borrowed or nabbed from your own home – to help buyers understand the layout. Think beds in the bedrooms, a table and chairs in the kitchen, and a sofa in the living room. It’s a kind of ‘staging lite’ approach that can give a property an extra push.
A final word about security: Whatever you decide to do, prioritise security – thieves and squatters target empty homes. Check the locks and make regular visits to the property to remove any tell-tale signs that it’s empty. Install lamps that operate on a timer, so that the lights go on at night.
For more advice on marketing your property, contact us here at Newton Fallowell.