Were you aware that it's ten times easier to sell your home when you're not currently living in it? The majority of the homes for sale on the market are vacant for a reason because owner-occupied homes generally are not "motivated sellers".
Therefore, it's best to keep your home vacant while you are conducting the showings, or, at least, make it appear that you have already moved out. Overall, having your home on the market for sale while a tenant, or you, is living in it, makes the situation an undesirable one for all the buyers who come into the home for viewing, and here is why.
The Statistics for Selling Vacant Homes
From a buyer's view, if the owner is living in the home that they are selling, it's clear they are in no hurry to move and sell the home. This may not always be the case, but that is how it generally appears to buyers.
The reality is that an owner is either paying a mortgage or earning rent from the tenant currently living there or paying two mortgages and earning rent. However, having a tenant, even if you do not live there yourself as the owner, can be discouraging as well. The potential buyers will want to know when they are moving out and how long that will take.
Statistics from 2015 indicate that homes expiring from their primary listings, were generally homes that were lived in by tenants or the homeowners themselves. In a 2015 survey, out of 400 homes were listed on the market as owner occupied. Approximately 36% of these homes listing expired, versus the 29% that were unoccupied by the owner. Therefore, the statistics, in fact, show that owner-occupied homes will take more time to sell, rather than homes that are completely vacant.
This does not mean that the homes were in dire need of repair, incredibly messy during the showings, or had any issues whatsoever, it just means that buyers are seeing the sellers as not ready to take the next step.
It has been suggested that owners are generally more likely to let the listing expire and remain in the home rather than negotiating and selling the home while they are still living there.
Moving Out While Selling
If you're planning on putting your home on the market soon, it's best to do so after you have moved into a new place. This way, the buyers will be able to see that you are ready to sell, finalize and close the deal as soon as they are ready to go.
This will also help your real estate agent figure out whether or not you should stage the home with furniture and decor. If the agent or you have decided that the house should not be staged and instead remain empty, then all the better.
Feel free to keep a couple of pieces of furniture within the home when you move out. This will help buyers to picture where their furniture will fit into the home, even if they don't like what you currently have.
Keeping random pictures, not family portraits or pictures of your children will also help the home to feel more homey, without being too powerful. Overall, a furnished home looks more spacious and attractive than one that is empty.
During the process of moving out, check with your home insurance company to find out whether or not your home is covered while it is vacant, and for how long.
As an extra security measure, to ensure that your house will not be a spotlight for potential break-ins, have a burglar alarm that is battery-operated and sensor lights on the exterior.
Utilizing a Storage Unit
However, if moving out is not an option, you can always rent a storage unit and put away as much of your personal items and belongings in there for as long as you need. This will also help you when you do actually move because your things will already be boxed or wrapped up and ready to go.
For the time being, you should remove all personal items, anything of value, family pictures, book shelves, decorations, and anything that has personal value to you. If you have any furniture that you feel would not work well with the showings, remove them as well.
Sometimes it's best to make the house appear that you are not living in it if you cannot afford a new home, or hotel rooms for the next month or so, which is fine. Having a storage unit, in this case, is your best bet, as you can easily store everything in one place and you will not have to bug friends or family to use their unit or their garage.
Moving Before the Sale
If you as the seller are able to move out of the home before the sale, this is definitely ideal, and is the best way to completely prepare your home for the market. All preparations can be ready, which include painting the walls or even turning your carpet floors into wood.
Ensure that both the interior and the exterior of the home are spotless. This means that you will need to mow the lawn, rake up any leaves, trim the hedges, and even repaint the outside of your home.
Leave some of your furnishings behind, such as couches, a spare bed if applicable, plants, tables, etc. but nothing that will give off a personal feel or vibe. Even if a home is sparingly furnished, a staged home will sell quickly, and at a price that can be higher when compared to a home that is occupied with clutter and family possessions.
Keep in mind that your home will need to sell quickly if you are buying a new one before you move out. Handling and paying for two mortgages at the same time can be incredibly tricky, but if you are able to do it, moving out and selling your home while it is vacant will be much easier.
Moving During the Sale
When compared to moving out after the sale has been made, moving during the sale is definitely ideal. This is because all potential buyers will see that you are in the midst of moving, so they will be able to move in as soon as the paperwork is completed and the sale has been finalized.
If for some reason you can only move out during the sale, and not before or after, ensure that you will be able to vacate the home at any time for showings, and never have clutter or personal items laying around. In fact, family photos, toys, and any other personal items should be the first to be boxed up and put into your new place, or into storage if you haven't gotten that far yet.
If you will be moving out during the sale, always ensure that you move the furniture around, or take some out, to give the home a larger look. This will help the home to show and look better, so you can sell it faster.
Moving After the Sale
This option is definitely not ideal if you want to sell the home quickly, but sometimes it has to happen. If you absolutely have to do this, ensure that you have a place to live lined up immediately as you list your home for sale, as you never know how quickly the sale will actually be finalized.
For example, you find a buyer and close the deal faster than you thought, but you have nowhere to live.
Where do you go from there? You could always opt to rent your home from the new owner for a month or two, but they are probably looking to move in straight away, so this will put a dent in everyone's plans.
If you cannot move until after your home has been sold, be sure to remove all personal items, like you would anyway, and stay out of the way, or even out of the home in general, when there are showings scheduled and happening. Unless, however, you are conducting the showings yourself.
Selling Your Home While It’s Vacant
Overall, it's best to sell your home when no one is living there. This goes for both you and any tenants you may have living in the home.
Buyers are generally looking for homes that they can move into right away as soon as they have bought the home, so always ensure that you have a plan B lined up, rent a storage unit for a month or two if you really need it, and make sure that you have another place to live before you put your house up for sale on the market.