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Ronda Allen's Blog

By Ronda Allen | Agent in Amarillo, TX

5 Things Owners of Vacant Homes MUST Do To Distance From Distressed Sales

The vacant housing market in Collin County, TX is still only a small portion of our community.  We're fortunate to have missed the scene in real estate of having every home on the street or in the neighborhood up for sale in vacant, and possibly distressed, status.

If you are attempting to sell your home, and have vacated the premises, you aren't necessarily an abandoned and distressed sale.  But, the buyers all want to treat you as if you are.   "They must have moved out for a reason", they say.  Buyers justify offering below list price on just about every home.  Heaven forbid the listing agent and owner have already done the math and worked out the fair market value.  No, there must still be some wiggle room left in that price, right?  Not always.  It's too easy to consider every vacant home a 'steal'.  Therefore, there are at least 5 things that owners of vacant homes must do immediately to create some distance from those homes in the minds of the buyers even before they write their offer:

1. Landscaping/yard

Now is not the time to skip the weed and feed.  Letting the lawn and landscaping get overgrown with high grass and weeds is sure to lump the house in with other vacant, distressed properties.  Having the lawn mowed twice a week and the edging and weed-eating done weekly is an absolute must.  Annual flowers should be going out right now.  The first week of April is beyond when DFW sees snow.  Even our late March blast only lasted 24 hours.  Go ahead and put out a few flats of annuals, and make sure the watering schedule keeps them healthy.

2. Interior condition

A vacant home, said one hilarious client of mine, is like a man with no clothes.  The age is going to show.  Cleaning products should be used to remove any unsightly stains on walls and carpets.  Doors and cabinets should be polished.  And, yes, the vacuum lines should be refreshed no less than once a week.  Be willing to put in the time, or pay someone else to put in the time, to show the home is not abandoned. 

3. Fresh flowers

Ever go through the door of a vacant home, but find fresh flowers on the breakfast bar?  That is done to show that someone has been in the home in the last week.  It reminds buyers that someone is checking on the place.  And, the perfume of the flowers does keep the home from taking on that 'vacant' smell, which even for clean home, is an underlying negative.  The nose knows, and odors are a very strong factor when touring homes. 

4. Disclosure Notice / maintenance schedule

Keep the Seller's Disclosure Notice and a weekly maintenance schedule at the house.  Leave it out for the showing agents and their clients to view.  Every time someone visits the home, they should write down what they did.  Care for a vacant home, even if you are just coming over to rush the dishwasher and flush the toilets to keep the seals moist, is highly important to prospective buyers.

5. Open houses

Hold open houses on the vacant home at least every other week.  Give the agent a chance to talk to people in the home and overcome objections.  Many objections are fear-based and not fact-based.  Without an open house, we may never know what the objections from the buyers might be. 

Have a blessed day!


Ronda Allen - Realtor

Certified Purchasing Manager - C.P.M.

Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource - SFR

Texas Affordable Housing Specialist - TAHS

CEO of comingsoonhomes.com since 2005

RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs

#1 Office for RE/MAX in the North Texas region 2009!

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