The National Association of Realtors posted a brief article about the effects of selling a Vacant Home. 

Unfortunately, they missed a few key notes…mainly in regards to the alternatives of Staying in the Home until closing or Staging your Home.

NAR said that often it is easier for Buyers to tour the Vacant Homes but:

  • Many times a Buyer will believe that it is a sign that the seller will be more flexible on their pricing.  This may be so…but it may not since a seller may have relocated for work and can’t get settled without the proceeds from the sale of their current home.
  • Many Buyers have trouble envisioning whether their furniture will fit…or if the room sizes are laid out appropriately for them.
  • A Vacant House may have other issues – smells, bugs, dust, etc may make a Buyer feel the house is not well cared for.

Staying in Place is an option if you don’t have to go anywhere right away.  Honestly, most primary residence home sellers don’t move before the sale.  It is impractical and financially difficult.  But if it is a 2nd home or Relocation, it may be necessary 

  • Sometimes staying in place makes the buyer think that you’re there and are taking care of it – that is always a good thing.
  • If you’re in place, many buyers won’t “lowball” for fear that you’ll be insulted and then won’t negotiate to a “fair number”
  • Staying in Place also makes sure that if something goes wrong with the Buyer’s financing or inspection, you aren’t living out of a moving truck and incurring other expenses.

Oddly, the article did not mention Staging your home.  Staging has become a very hot topic over the past few years.  It can involve completely “furnishing” a home or just tweaking.

  • If the house is VACANT, a stager would theoretically fill the rooms with the appropriate furniture and accessories in a way that makes the buyer understand the function and fit of a room.  Many stagers have a warehouse with furniture they use and the seller will pay a fee for the use. In Luxury homes, a stager may make the house look like a model home…but at a high budget that can be very costly.
  • Some furniture rental companies will rent short term a couple rooms of furniture to set the mood – maybe just in a few main rooms – or in rooms that may be awkward.  If you use a room for a den but it is oddly shaped, perhaps showing that it can be a den will help the buyer visualize other uses better.
  • On a tight budget?? Leave some old stuff.  If you’re going to get rid of something anyway – or sell it to a friend – maybe keep it for staging yourself.  You don’t have to completely furnish, but perhaps a few pieces can be repurposed… maybe some friends have some pieces that they can add to the collection that they have stored in the garage?  Try to make it look decent on a budget and let your friend come pick it up a week before closing.

If a Vacant Home sells for less… just don’t leave it so vacant.  Be creative!



This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.