Is it better to sell a house empty or furnished?
As an estate agent, this is a question I get asked a lot. I’m sure we have all heard about decluttering to sell your house but on the extreme side of this is a totally empty house. So, to furnish or not to furnish, that is the question here.
The answer depends on a few variables, the house, the viewer and you. Let’s take a further look at these.
The best way to sell a home is to make someone fall in love with it. If you can do this you are more likely to sell quicker and for a higher value. This is easier if the house in question has already been shown some love. If it has been cared for and maintained to a good standard then it is likely that your viewer will pick up on this and it will be easier for them to visualise themselves in the house.
Furniture can distract from the not so desirable areas of a home. An empty house literally bears all –
the good, the bad and the ugly. If you are considering selling an empty home make sure it is in tip-top condition. That doesn’t necessarily mean ripping out and replacing the bathroom and kitchen but it needs to look like it’s been loved and cared for.
Make sure the property is clean and that the paint work is pristine. You can easily update a tired looking kitchen in an inexpensive way by replacing the worktops and painting the kitchen cupboards, you can even pay a professional to paint the kitchen units for you these days. Don’t forget the outside either, make sure your kerb appeal is up to standard and the back garden is tidy. Cut the lawns, trim the hedges, fix any broken fencing and put out some topiary or plants in pots to add colour – you can easily take these with you after you have sold the property.
Ensure the house smells fresh as a daisy. Empty houses can often smell stale and musty. Get any damp issues checked out. Damp can often look worse than it is and really puts viewers off, plus it can make a house really smell unappealing. To try and get rid of any stale smells get the carpets professionally cleaned. Curtains are notoriously bad for holding onto smells so make sure you give them a good wash and press. Clean the house from top to bottom so it is gleaming and odour free.
As no one will be living in the house, consider putting the heating on timed and popping by every few days to open the windows and let the fresh air in. Empty houses can sometimes seem cold and uninviting. Before any viewings nip by and put the heating on, give the house a chance to warm up. In summer pop open the windows in advance to let fresh air in and stale air out.
It is indeed true that some people struggle to visualise how a room would be used and how it would work for them. The counter argument to this would be that an empty house is better as it shows the house as a blank canvas and allows the viewer to let their imagination run away with them. I guess it depends on your viewer, you cannot please all the people all of the time.
However, as we have said the best way to sell a house is to make someone to fall in love with it. To do this you must get in your potential buyer’s mindset. Think to yourself – who is this house going to appeal to? First-time buyers? Families? Downsizers? Once you have figured out who your ideal buyer is, think about how you would appeal to them. This is a good way of trying to understand what your potential buyers will look for and how they will view the home. It will help you understand the good and not so good aspects of the property. You can then work on these, either to emphasise the good points or focus attention on the not so positive points. For example, it may be that you think a family is likely to buy your home. Things that are important to a family might include, having a nice garden, storage space and moving with least hassle as possible. So, you could look at really focusing attention on the garden, make it child proof and appealing to families. Add some extra shelves or really make the most of any storage space you have. Think about sprucing up the décor so that when a family walk in they can see that see that they can move in with minimum fuss required.
Whether you furnish the property or not can really depend on your situation. Do you have furniture you could use? Would you have to buy new furniture or could you borrow some? I would suggest that if you are having to spend decent money to do this then you would be better spending it on updating the property. Not renovating or extensive decorating but just implementing some of the suggestions in the ‘house’ section above. If it comes down to spending money on furniture or improving the décor and appearance of the house I would suggest going with the appearance.
All in all, I think it boils down to your timescale, your budget and the hassle you are willing to put up with. It is pointless, however, putting a load of furniture in a cold, unloved, house that has not been maintained and thinking it’s going to sell quicker. Look at the basics first, you need to appeal to your buyer, above all do not allow your property to look like it has been abandoned. Make your buyer fall in love with the property and the rest will follow.
If you would like advice on selling, why not give me a ring on 01902 244200, I’d love to hear from you.
Until next week
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