Please note that you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer which is not compatible with some elements of the site. We strongly urge you to update to a newer version for optimal browsing experience.

8 handy tips when selling a vacant home

21 Aug 2017

Listing and selling a home can be a stressful time, especially if the homeowner no longer lives in the property.

Overgrown shrubbery and an uncut lawn are other tell-tale signs that the home is not inhabited. Even though no-one is currently living in the property, it stills needs to be regularly maintained. A well-maintained home with kerb appeal is evidence that the home is often visited.

Well, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says the unfortunate reality is that a vacant property is a vulnerable target for vandals and the chance of the home being broken into increases.

“An unoccupied home is an easy target for criminals, which means sellers need to take extra caution. Precautions need to be taken to ensure the home remains in its best possible state and protected from unsavoury elements in society,” says Goslett.

Goslett shares some tips to help buyers protect the vacant property during the sale process:

1. Notify local law enforcement

Contacting the local police station can reduce the possibility of a problem with the home. As a tax paying resident, the seller has the right to request that the local law enforcement keeps an eye on the property while it is vacant. Most police stations will be accommodating and will ensure that additional attention is paid to the property.  

2. Speak to the neighbours

Inform the neighbours that the home is up for sale and currently vacant. If they don’t have your mobile number already, give it to them and ask that they make contact if there is anything they think requires your attention. Many neighbourhoods will have a watch or association that patrols the area, so inform them that the house is empty.

Securing the entrances refers to more than just locking the doors, it also means closing the windows securely and bolting the glass sliding door. Pay attention to any area in the home that could be used to gain entrance.

Also, request that the real estate agent marketing the home checks in on it between showings.

3. Install a security system

If the home does not currently have a security system, install one, it will keep the home safer and will increase its value. For many prospective home buyers, security is a determining factor in their decision-making process when buying property. A security system will make the home more attractive to buyers.

4. Timers on lights

An added security feature is timers that turn the lights on during the evenings, this will give the appearance that someone is home while conserving energy during the daytime. Ideally, there should be sufficient lighting for both the interior and exterior of the home, as a poorly lit exterior will allow criminals the comfort of not being seen by people passing by. Motion activated lighting is an ideal security feature and selling point.

5. Stage the home

Even though no one is currently living in the home, it does not need to be empty, as a bare home can seem less homely to would-be buyers. During the listing process, the agent will want to take photos of the home’s interior.

Ideally, the photos should either be taken with the furniture still in the home before the seller moves out or with a few small choice pieces. The property will appear more homely, and it will prevent criminals who are looking online from seeing the property as an easy target.

Contacting the local police station can reduce the possibility of a problem with the home. As a tax paying resident, the seller has the right to request that the local law enforcement keeps an eye on the property while it is vacant.

6. Secure entrances

Securing the entrances refers to more than just locking the doors, it also means closing the windows securely and bolting the glass sliding door. Pay attention to any area in the home that could be used to gain entrance. Extra precautions could include adding deadbolts to all the doors and installing wooden or metal sticks in sliding door tracks.

7. Don’t leave mail and newspapers outside

Ensure that regular visits are made to the home to pick up mail, as piles of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox are telltale signs that no one has been home for a while. If it is not possible to pick up the mail regularly yourself, ask neighbours, friends and relatives to help out by stopping by the property occasionally to empty the mailbox.

Also, make sure you inform the relevant parties of a forwarding address where mail can be diverted, as this will eliminate the chance of an overflowing mailbox.

8. Maintenance of the home’s exterior

Overgrown shrubbery and an uncut lawn are other tell-tale signs that the home is not inhabited. Even though no-one is currently living in the property, it stills needs to be regularly maintained. A well-maintained home with kerb appeal is evidence that the home is often visited. Not only will maintaining the home deter trespassers, but it will also make the home more attractive to prospective buyers.

Goslett says while selling an uninhabited home can be a daunting task, using the above tips will help to ensure the process is as hassle-free as possible. Using an experienced real estate professional from a reputable brand will also expedite the process and ensure a quick and seamless sale.

Print Print
Top Articles
The number of bonds granted was up 19.2% in the 12 months to end-September compared to the previous period, with more first-time buyers getting into the market. Read on...

These estate homes in George in the Western Cape offer comfortable family living in serene settings. With prices under R5m, take a peek…

La Lucia Mall has just undergone a major upgrade to modernise and reimagine its retail space, with new shopping options. Take a peek...

Loading

Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or higher, please verify that your Internet Explorer compatibility view settings are not enabled.

For the best browsing experience, update to the latest Version of Internet Explorer or try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


Please contact our Property24 Support Team for further assistance. Tel. +27 (0)861 111 724