Welcome to 2023! There’s a massive housing shortage in America to the tune of 3 million “missing” homes. Today, there are 16 million vacant homes in the US. In a perfect world, these two issues could help one another but it doesn’t always seem to work out that way. In fact, selling a vacant home is not an easy task! But if you’re up for it, there could be a way to sell this empty property of yours and put a whole lot of cash into your pocket immediately.
Selling a vacant house can be a challenge, as it can be difficult for potential buyers to visualize how they would use the space. However, with a little effort and creativity, you can make your vacant house more appealing to potential buyers. Or alternatively, you could just find the right buyer and forego all the cleaning, staging, and prepping. This article will outline some tips and best practices on how to sell a vacant house.
- If you own a vacant house and you need to sell it, then you’re in the right place. We will unlock many of the nuances and challenges to getting that done successfully. You’ll learn why and how it’s different than a traditional sale.
- Vacant properties are expensive to maintain and selling them to another buyer is often your best option. Be careful though, because who you sell it to matters quite a bit.
- In order to sell a vacant house, there might be some things you can do to improve the aesthetic and appeal to the buyer.
Table of Contents
Why Do Houses Go Vacant?
There are many reasons why a house might be vacant, including:
- The owner is deceased: If the owner of the house has passed away and the house has not yet been inherited or sold, it may be vacant.
- The owner has moved: If the owner of the house has moved to a new location and has not yet sold the house, it may be vacant.
- The owner is in the military: If the owner of the house is in the military and has been deployed, the house may be vacant.
- The owner is in jail: If the owner of the house is in prison, the house may be vacant.
- The owner is in a nursing home: If the owner of the house is in a nursing home and is unable to care for the house, it may be vacant.
- The owner is facing financial difficulties: If the owner of the house is facing financial difficulties and is unable to make the mortgage payments, the house may be foreclosed upon and become vacant.
- The owner is renovating: If the owner of the house is in the process of renovating and has temporarily moved out, the house may be vacant.
- The owner is renting it out: If the owner of the house is renting it out and there are no current tenants, the house may be vacant.
- The owner is trying to sell it: If the owner of the house is trying to sell it and it has not yet been sold, the house may be vacant.
Regardless of the reason, vacant houses can be more challenging to sell, as it can be difficult for potential buyers to visualize how they would use the space. If you are trying to sell a vacant house, consider staging it or working with a realtor to find the right buyer.
Reasons To Sell A Vacant House
There could be hundreds of different reasons a homeowner decides to sell their vacant house, but it usually boils down to money. Each and every month, property owners have costs they need to pay to keep their house (vacant or occupied).
Some of the biggest expenses of owning a house include:
Mortgage payments: One of the biggest expenses of owning a vacant house is the continued mortgage payment. This is the monthly payment you make to your lender to pay off your home loan. Your mortgage payment will typically include both the principal (the amount you borrowed) and the interest (the fee you pay for borrowing the money).
Property taxes: Another significant expense of owning a vacant house is property taxes. These are taxes that you pay to your local government based on the value of your property. The amount of property taxes you pay will depend on the value of your house, as well as the tax rate in your area. Taxes are an evergreen expense – they will never go away.
Homeowners insurance: It’s important to have homeowners insurance to protect your house and possessions in case of damage or loss. And this is true for vacant homes too! Homeowners insurance typically covers things like damage from natural disasters, theft, and liability. The cost of homeowners insurance will depend on the value of your house, as well as the risks in your area.
Maintenance and repairs: Owning a house involves ongoing maintenance and repair costs. This can include things like replacing the roof, fixing plumbing or electrical issues, and maintaining the landscape. The cost of maintenance and repairs will depend on the age and condition of your house and the type of repairs needed. For vacant homes, this expense might be a little bit lower but it’s still recurring each and every month for the owner.
Utilities: Another expense of owning a house is the cost of utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and trash collection. The cost of utilities will depend on your usage and the rates in your area. Utility costs for empty properties are significantly lower than occupied ones but they still occur.
Property management fees: If you own a rental property, you may also have to pay property management fees to a company that handles the day-to-day management of the property. These fees cover the handling of maintenance and repair issues and screening tenants.
Overall, it’s important to carefully consider the costs of owning a vacant house before you make the decision to hang onto it or sell. By understanding the expenses involved, you can be better prepared to budget for them and make informed decisions about your finances.
How To Sell A Vacant House In Pennsylvania – Process & Considerations
1. Stage the house:
Staging a house involves setting it up to look like a model home, with furniture and decor that help potential buyers imagine themselves living in the space. There are a few different options for staging a vacant house that you plan to sell:
- Traditional staging: This involves bringing in furniture and decor to make the house look lived-in. You can either do this yourself or hire a professional home stager.
- Virtual staging: If you don’t have the budget for traditional staging, you can try virtual staging. This involves using computer-generated images to show how the house could look with furniture and decor.
- Soft staging: If you don’t want to invest in traditional or virtual staging, you can try “soft staging” by adding a few key pieces of furniture and decor to make the house feel more welcoming. Some ideas might include a rug, throw pillows, and artwork.
2. Consider selling to a company that buys houses:
If you need to sell your house quickly and don’t have time to wait for the traditional home-selling process, you might consider selling to a company that buys houses. These companies often offer to buy houses as-is, so you don’t have to worry about making repairs or doing any staging. However, be aware that these companies typically offer lower prices than you might get if you were to sell your house through a realtor.
3. Rent the house out:
If you have the time and resources to manage a rental property, you might consider renting out your vacant house until you’re ready to sell. This can help cover your mortgage and other costs while you wait for the right buyer to come along. Just be sure to follow all the necessary legal requirements for being a landlord, including screening tenants and creating a written lease agreement.
4. Work with a realtor:
If you want to sell your house the traditional way, consider working with a realtor. A realtor can help you price your house appropriately, market it to potential buyers, and negotiate the sale. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay a commission to the realtor, which is typically a percentage of the sale price.
5. Make any necessary repairs:
Before you put your house on the market, be sure to make any necessary repairs. This can include fixing any obvious problems like leaky faucets or replacing broken windows, as well as making more cosmetic improvements like painting the walls or updating the flooring. These repairs can help make your house more attractive to potential buyers and can also help you get a higher price for it.
6. Be prepared for challenges:
Selling a vacant house can be challenging, as it can be hard for buyers to visualize how they would use the space. Be prepared for this and be willing to be flexible. For example, you might consider offering to stage the house for a potential buyer or offer to cover closing costs.
The Best Way To Sell A Vacant House
If you need to sell a vacant house quickly and don’t have the time or resources to go through the traditional home-selling process outlined above, then you might consider selling to a cash buyer. These buyers are typically investors who are willing to pay cash for houses in any condition, so you don’t have to worry about making repairs or doing any staging. However, it’s important to be aware that cash buyers typically offer lower prices than you might get if you were to sell your house through a realtor.
So how can you get more money for your vacant house when selling to a cash buyer? Here are a few tips:
Shop around: Not all cash buyers are created equal. Some may offer higher prices than others, so it’s important to shop around and get quotes from multiple buyers. Be sure to provide as much information as possible about your vacant house, including the location, size, and condition, so that the buyers can give you an accurate quote.
Negotiate: Just because a cash buyer is offering to pay cash doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate the price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate to try to get the best deal possible. Keep in mind that cash buyers are usually looking for a good investment, so if you can show them how your vacant house fits that criteria, they may be willing to pay more. You need to illustrate the potential to them since it is currently an empty space.
Consider the terms of the sale: In addition to the price, there are other terms of the sale that you can negotiate with a cash buyer. For example, you might be able to negotiate a quicker closing date or a longer escrow period. You might also be able to negotiate who pays for closing costs or other fees associated with the sale. Keep an open mind as cash buyers typically have many other alternative approaches that can be greatly advantageous to you, the seller.
Know the risks: While selling to a cash buyer can be a convenient and quick option, it’s important to be aware of the risks. For example, cash buyers may try to take advantage of your desperation to sell by offering a lower price than what your vacant property is worth. Additionally, you may have to pay for your own closing costs or other fees associated with the sale. Be sure to carefully consider the terms of any offer before accepting it.
Explore other options: If you’re not comfortable selling to a cash buyer or don’t think you’ll get a good price, you might consider other options. For example, you could try to sell your vacant house through a realtor or consider renting it out until you’re ready to sell. Just be sure to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.
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Pros & Cons of Selling a Vacant House
Vacant House FAQs
What is a vacant house?
A vacant house is a house that is not currently occupied. This can mean that it is completely empty or that it is partially furnished but not being used as a primary residence.
What is the difference between a vacant house and an abandoned house?
A vacant house is a house that is not currently being lived in, but it is still owned and maintained by someone. An abandoned house, on the other hand, is a house that has been abandoned by the owner and is no longer being maintained.
Can I go inside a vacant house?
It is generally not legal to go inside a vacant house without the permission of the owner. If you are caught trespassing on someone’s property, you could face criminal charges.
What are some common reasons for a house to be vacant?
Some common reasons for a house to be vacant include the owner has moved to a new location, the owner being deployed in the military, the owner being in jail, the owner being in a nursing home, or the owner facing financial difficulties.
What happens to a vacant house if the owner doesn’t maintain it?
If the owner of a vacant house does not maintain it, it can become an abandoned house. This means that the house is no longer being cared for and may become dilapidated or unsafe. In some cases, the local government may step in to take care of the house, or it may be demolished.
The findings and information in this article are focused on Pennsylvania, however, it is applicable in many locations nationwide!
Best Way To Sell My House Pennsylvania
Signature Properties provides the easiest and simplest way to sell your house in Pennsylvania. We buy houses through fair and honest cash offers.🙂 Whether you are avoiding the bank from foreclosure, coming into an inheritance, going through divorce or any other situation – we have real estate solutions to get you the outcomes you desire when you sell your house to us. We help homeowners with costly home repairs, mounting liens, code enforcement violations and even vacant homes. Are you trying to sell your house in surrounding areas or other counties and states near Pennsylvania? We buy properties in New Jersey and Delaware as well as many other towns! In fact, we buy homes all over Pennsylvania. Come find out why selling to an investor is becoming the newest and best way to sell your house in Philadelphia in 2023 and beyond!