Vacant is defined as, “Containing nothing. Empty.” Vacant homes can take 50% longer to sell and have more issues than occupied homes. Vacant homes also have more price reductions because they sit on the market longer.
We just moved into a vacant home that is on the market. Why? We met couple during our time in Tuscany/Umbria that had a home for sale they had moved out of two years earlier, in the Basilicata region of Italy. They realized the value of the home was declining the longer it stayed on the market vacant. There were deferred maintenance issues and the longer it sat, the more “empty” it felt.
We are bringing the house back to life. We are staging it and marketing it by giving it life. Houses are designed for living and when people don’t move in, critters often do. When the heat is off and lights are off, even if a Realtor shows up to flip the switch prior to a showing, the emptiness prevails.
There is value in the lingering smell of the wood burning fireplace, the clicking of the heat, the warm glow of the lights, and the absence of cobwebs. The value is that people can feel the space differently and they can imagine themselves in the home.
The difference in this home, since we moved in, is notable. It is nothing special we cooked up, other than the house has a pulse because we are here. The house feels so much healthier. The dampness is gone and there is laughter that lingers even if we leave for a showing.
You may have heard that inventory is low in most markets, the number of vacant properties on the market is declining, but it is still higher than it was before the bubble burst. After this experience in Basilicata, I can feel the difference staging a home makes. It is not just about the furniture and decorating but about the presence and vitality that comes from the day-to-day.
Buyers are looking for a place to spend their days, and when a property “contains nothing” but emptiness, even if it is full of pretty rugs and lamps, it is harder to market and therefore to sell. For me, it is wonderful to have an Italian home for holidays. Buon Natale!