A common misconception about real estate is that you should clear out a home when it comes time to sell. Many people believe home buyers want to see a house empty so they can consider it without the distraction of furnishings. The truth is, emptying out a home before showing it can make it more difficult to sell. Here are the reasons why:
1. Buyers have no imagination – The primary reason why you should keep a home furnished to sell is because the average person cannot visualize how furniture will look in a space. This is something I know from my work as an interior designer, and I have a number of tools that help me explain my vision to clients. Particularly in rooms that are small or have an unusual layout, buyers will have trouble picturing how the space can be used. Having furniture in the room will make it clear, and most importantly they will be able to imagine themselves living there.
2. Emptying a house highlights its flaws – In an empty house all the negatives will be starkly on display. Any areas that were worn or dirtied from use will be clearly visible, and if you have outdated flooring, tile, or lighting it will become the focus. You should of course disclose any serious issues about a property to homebuyers, but cosmetic flaws are for them to discern on their own. Without any furnishings, it will be all they remember about your house.
3. Most buyers shop online first – The process of purchasing a home has changed dramatically with the advent of online listings. Real estate agents I’ve worked with have told me most buyers shop primarily through the listing photos and only request to visit homes they are really interested in. Photos of an empty home are unappealing and won't get buyers excited to see your property, as this example from a listing in my area demonstrates:
4. You miss making an emotional connection – Staging a home allows you to paint a picture for potential buyers about how great it will be to live there. They can imagine walking in after a long day at work, preparing meals, and relaxing there. A home that is empty can appear stark and unwelcoming, and it provides no emotional connection for the people who view it.
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