• Mark Buskuhl

How to Sell a Vacant House?

It's no secret that selling a vacant house can be a challenge. There are all sorts of reasons why a house might sit vacant for months or even years, but whatever the reason, it's important to remember that a vacant house is still a valuable asset. The longer a house sits vacant, the more it will start to deteriorate and problems will start to multiply.


A vacant house is often neglected, as the roof, siding or windows start to leak, water begins to penetrate and causes rot and mold. Vacant houses are also very attractive to mischievous kids, homeless seeking shelter or become drug houses. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to sell a vacant house.


By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to successfully selling your vacant home!


1. Get the House in Good Shape


The first and perhaps most important tip is to make sure the house is in good shape before you try to sell it. This means repairing any damage, ensuring that the house is clean and tidy, and generally making it presentable. Remember, first impressions count!


Getting the house in good shape may not come easy though. The list of repairs may be extensive. Roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing and HVAC are the major components that need to be checked before any cosmetic work should be considered.


A roof in Texas usually will last no more than 10 years. The hot summers, cold winters and regular hail storms quickly cause damage to the shingles allowing water and moisture to penetrate into the structure.

Foundations are also a big problem in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our clay soils expand and contract during the wet months and hot summers. This constant soil movement does not provide adequate stability for the foundation and they begin shift. At first, slight cracks might appear on walls and ceilings or doors do not close properly.


Once the shifting has started, the only way to correct the problem is to repair the foundation. Slab foundations are generally fixed using pressed concrete piers. These piers act as a support for the foundation and are installed under the slab on the exterior of the home and often times on the interior. When interior piers are required, the flooring must be removed, a hole cut in the foundation and dirt removed to install a pier under the slab.


Electrical systems are no joking matter. Every year countless homes catch fire due to faulty wiring and breaker panels. Many older homes had Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) breaker panels installed which have a high risk of failure. It is estimated that every year FPE panels are responsible for 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage.


Modern age-built homes have sewer lines constructed of PVC pipe which is far superior to cast iron used on older homes. Cast iron corrodes and rusts just like any other steel exposed to moisture. Over time this corrosion leads to cracks, breaks at joints and in some cases if left unattended complete corrosion.

HVAC systems are a must in the North Texas climate which can see freezing days during the winter and several days in excess of 100 degrees in summer. Unfortunately HVAC systems don’t last forever and typical life span is 15-20 years with regular maintenance.


Once you have addressed the major components of the house, you can now focus on the cosmetic features. This includes the kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, lighting, walls and ceilings. In the kitchen, you’ll need to make sure all of the appliances are in good working order and the cabinets and countertops meet the demand of today’s homeowners. Do the bathrooms still have the original tub and tile? If so, you’ll want to update these items and bring them into modern times. Carpet is no longer the ideal flooring as today's home buyers look for more wear and spill resistant flooring such as LVT, wood or tile.


2. Offer Incentives


When you're trying to sell a vacant house, it's important to make it as enticing as possible for potential buyers. One way to do this is by offering incentives such as paying closing costs or offering a home warranty. A vacant house does not show as well as an occupied or staged home. Buyers have a tougher time visualizing the flow and layout of how a home feels when furnished. Staged homes have proven to sell for a higher price than a vacant one.


3. Set the Right Price


Another important tip is to set the right price for the property. This can be tricky, as you don't want to set the price too high and risk having the house sit on the market for months or even years. At the same time, you don't want to set the price too low and leave money on the table. The best bet is usually to consult with a professional home buying company who can help you come up with an appropriate price.


A vacant house will need a lot of money and time to get it ready for a traditional sale. You will want to factor in the time and expense of making the repairs with the higher sales price. Unless you are in the construction business, a home buying company can usually make repairs to the house much cheaper than the normal person due to their connections and regular work on homes.


4. Be Flexible with Showings


Finally, when you're selling a vacant house, it's important to be flexible with showings. Potential House buyers may not be able or willing to schedule showings during regular business hours, so it's important to be accommodating. Many have jobs and work during the day or on weekends. You may also want to consider having someone available at all times to show prospective buyers around the property.


If you're thinking about selling a vacant house, these tips should help you get started on the right track.

Remember, it's important to get the house in good shape before putting it on the market, offer incentives, set the right price, and be flexible with showings.


If any of these steps seem like too much work, or you don’t have the time or money to complete them, consider selling your house to a cash house buyer. They will be homes in any condition, pay you cash and offer a stress and hassle free sale.




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