Tips for Selling an Empty House
When most homeowners are preparing to sell, they’re faced with the problem of minimizing household clutter.
They’re told that “emptier” rooms look bigger and cleaner, and fewer personal items allow buyers to visualize their own things in your space. Yet, some sellers find themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum — they have an empty house to sell, and this can present its own set of challenges.
While an empty house is certainly easier to clean, it can reveal many little flaws you may have never noticed.
Scuffs, nail holes and cracks stand out, meaning some small repairs and a fresh coat of paint are often necessary. However, painting rooms can benefit your sale in two ways — you have the opportunity to neutralize the colours if your chosen hues were on the bold side, and the smell of fresh paint subtly conveys a sense of newness.
Similarly, floors may need a little TLC if removing your furniture reveals worn-off wood finishes, dingy carpets, or blackened grout in high-traffic areas. Few things make your home look more tired than the worn-in traces of other people’s footsteps, so whether you choose to put in a little elbow grease or hire professionals to bring your floors back up to snuff, you’re likely to be rewarded with buyers whose focus isn’t at their feet.
Focus and perception are two of the most important things to consider when selling an empty house.
If a room lacks a focal point, buyers eyes tend to wander and are more likely to settle on tiny flaws. In addition, it can be difficult for buyers to get a clear sense of how big the rooms are if there’s no furniture to provide perspective. Empty dining rooms or bedrooms may actually appear smaller than they are, making buyers nervous about whether their furniture will fit.
Luckily, both problems are easily solved by leaving behind or adding a few tasteful items that can anchor the eye and show the relative spaciousness that your home offers. A neatly-made bed in the master bedroom can work well, or a painting hung near an accent chair in the living room. If you haven’t got the furniture to spare, it could be worth a trip to a local second-hand store to pick up a few inexpensive pieces. Barring these options, even a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen counter or a mirror resting on the mantle can work wonders.
Remember that your potential buyers are looking for a home — a comfortable place where their stories are free to unfold. So, in addition to these effective steps, be sure to resist the temptation to temporarily leave storage spaces (including garages and sheds) filled with your seldom-used belongings. Your home will be infinitely more appealing to hopeful homebuyers if they feel comfortable and envision themselves in your space.