Home Selling in 98023>Question Details

Janea Christ…, Home Buyer in Federal Way, WA

Do homes that are empty (vacant of all furnishings) sell better/quicker than homes that are furnished?

Asked by Janea Christensen, Federal Way, WA Tue Jul 1, 2008

We will be selling our home soon and we have four young children. I am not excited about trying to keep my house spotless everyday wwith my darling but disasterous little ones running around. I'm thinking about moving in with my parents while my home is up for sale. But should I empty the house of all the furnishings so it looks spacious, or keep the furnishings in the home? We don't own high end furniture, but what we have is clean and in good working order.

Help the community by answering this question:


I have great news for you. You don't need to keep your home spotless for months.
The truth is that in almost any market homes that are well-priced, prepared (meaning clean, clutter free, and staged) will sell within 30 days. The longer a listing sits on the market, the lower the value.

A couple of suggestions:
1. I have a great Realtor that I can refer to consult with you.
2. You need to carefully plan your market time. If a home is properly prepped and marketed, I have all of the marketing photos and efforts coordinated to hit in one week. I encourage families like yours to take TWO weekends off. Give me two weekends to get the brokers and their buyers in your home and get it sold.
3. My rule of thumb is ten showings or two offers in two weeks. or we reduce the price. Homes that sell in the first 30 days sell at closest to asking price. The longer they sit, at 120 days they sell at 63.6% of asking.

I am a little puzzled about your market timing. If you need to sell why is your home not on the market now? During the summer selling season? I would put it on the market now so it can be sold prior to school starting.

I can help you. 1-888-284-2056 if you need a Realtor to interview. Otherwise, ask at school, church, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Hi Janea,

It is hard to keep a house in good order to maximize it's appeal to buyers, while it is on the market, and even more challenging with some lively kids!

Homes do show better if they are "staged" like a model home. This even works with your own furnishings, although you may want to have another person help you with deciding on the best arrangement, what to keep in the house and what to store elsewhere. HGTV's "Designed To Sell" is all about making a house look great before putting it on the market to sell....and get the best price!

Tari is right about cleaning, the cleaner the better, one more reason it's harder with kids. Kids need more freedom to play and be...well, kids than having to keep everything "perfect"!

It's great to have the option of moving in temporarily with your parents, but be sure to understand that your house could be on the market for a couple of months before getting an offer. Can you, your kids and parents cope with that? That is something else to consider.

You may want to compromise and move out for the first month (when you get the most traffic) , take a week to clean and arrange your furnishings (remember to store extra stuff) then put your house on the market. After a few weeks and strategizing with your agent about when and if you might move back,. One reason would be that you have a mutually accepted offer, and 30 days to close.

Good luck, and best wishes on getting a good offer quickley!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Keeping the house ready to show with 4 children would be extremely stressful for you and the children. Moving in with your parents sounds like a great idea! You are fortunate to have that choice available to you. Ask your realtor to look at the home and tell you which items should stay to stage the house. You might even consider a professional stager. This will cost you a few hundred and up but homes that are professionally staged sell quicker for a higher price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Your home must be market ready from Day One. Everything must be clean, fresh paint where appropriate, and the clutter under control. It is very difficult and stressful for you and the kid'sto keep their things in order all the time. In this market you want to be ready when the buyer's agent calls, therefore, your home should be ready at a moment's notice. I have moved 8 times with my children, and I learned from experience that it is much easier to move out. Do a walk through with your agent to determine what pieces of furnature should stay to "highlight" the home, and put the rest in storage. Your agent should then add accessories to provide "pop" where you need it. Examples are silk pillows, new towels, candles, etc. Do leave some newer toys behind to use in your staging. You will want to highlight the fact that the house is a great home for anyone, including the children. Good luck.
Web Reference: http://www.annizilz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
The short answer is "no." Homes that are professionally staged will, first of all, attract more attention through the photos on line. They also stimulate the potential buyers' imaginations and their lifestyle desires.

I would recommend touring the competition in your area to see what they look like. Have your agent show you the comps in your area. Were the ones that sold quickly staged? Are the ones currently on the market staged? If most of the other houses are staged, you need to be competitive. And it is all about price, first, and then presentation.

Best of luck!
Web Reference: http://www.homehounds.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Janea -

I would really encourage you to consult with your Real Estate agent and discuss which pieces should stay and which pieces should go and come up with a game plan to get your home on the market. But certainly keeping the home "furnished" is your best bet. If you do not have an agent, when interviewing you'll want to find one who can assist with staging your home. Since you seem to be open to the idea, I am sure you would not take offense if an agent suggested for example, that your well loved recliner that has a hole in the seat cushion might be a good piece to have removed from the house, but the sofa could stay and maybe be spruced up by having it professionally cleaned by the same person who cleans your carpet (minimal cost to do).

It certainly sounds like you are on the right track, so best of luck!
Web Reference: http://www.key2yourhome.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
I think popular opinion as well as mine would be 'staging'. Now I don't think it necessarily means you have to have it 'professionally staged' but I would definately remove all clutter and extra furniture that you can to open each room up a little. And as tough as it is for everyone (even empty houses) to keep clean if your up for it, some decluttering, and partially emptying out the house, and convince the kids to pack up most of the toys you should do just fine. If you do want to leave and not be bothered with all that I don't blame you and that's fine too but I would leave it lightly furnished with the bare essentials in each room or at least just the kitchen and bath. Good Luck!! May I say that you sound far more helpful and determined than the most sellers, so with a good, experienced agent in your area you should be well on your way to getting your sold. God Bless, Mark
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
one tip that has been used when you have little ones pulling things out and leaving them just before a showing is to have a nice looking sorage "container" in the bedrooms, or play rooms to that you can quickly put all the "stuff" in them without having to sort and place them where they normally belong. After the showing you can go back and store these items properly.

Stan Cobb, Realtor, Savannah, GA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Depends, if it is a Short Sale or regular sale,?
As a short sale you have to show the worst conditions poss, and as a regular sale show the best.
Pics as possible. Call me for more info 714-716-9636 or email me at lisacamberos@hotmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Hi again Janea,

One good tip to give you is for each bathroom, buy a few things like a new shower curtain, fresh towels, a picture, some bath accesories etc (think under $100 for each bath) to give your bathrooms a pulled together, coordinated look...it's amazing to see how much better those rooms look on line and in person!

I always do it for my clients when listing their vacant homes, it really makes a difference. I spent a few hours last week looking at Wal-Mart, Target, Fred Meyers, and other places to find a few things for a new listing. It is well worth the time and a couple of hundred bucks...I just recycle my stuff to different lisitngs!

Look at other homes on line to see how well they look in their photos, the better they look online, the more likely buyers will want to see them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
The best thing would be to hire a home stager to stage your home. Often they can use the existing furniture and bring in some additional pieces. It is best that the home be unoccupied, much like a model home. If your home is available to buyer agents whenever they have clients, so much the better.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Hi Janea,

I would say a well staged vacant home will sell better and quicker than either a completely empty or fully furnished (i.e. occupied) home. Like the previous poster said, definitely have it cleaned and freshly painted because the buyers' first impression is the most important.

You want the buyers to be able to get an idea of what it would be like if it were their own home. It definitely doesn't hurt to have some chairs or a sofa to be there so they can hang out and picture themselves being the new owners!

The last thing you want is to have a home that people just quickly glance over and leave.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
YES. Also, make sure it is very clean, if not spotless. If you have money to spare, have the place painted a neutral color...not white. Get your carpets cleaned. And make sure you keep your landscaping up. Other than that...make sure you price it well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
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