Why Won’t my (Vacant) House Sell?

Many people believe that a vacant house will help show the buyers how spacious it is.  However, it is well known in the real estate community that vacant homes are often a tough sell.  They do not sell as fast as furnished/staged homes and they often sell for less money.  Why is that?  Here are some reasons and some visuals to help show the problems.


1.  Buying a house is an emotional decision for the majority of people.  They want to buy a homenot a house.  They cannot get that homey, inviting feeling if the house is vacant and there is no emotional connection.


A beautiful but lifeless room


Much more homey and inviting


2.  Most buyers will have difficulty determining the actual size of a vacant room and what would fit in it.  A room looks smaller in a vacant house than in a furnished house.  The first reaction of buyers is to think….My sofa won’t fit here, my bed is too big for this master bedroom, etc.  A properly furnished/staged room will SHOW buyers that yes, indeed, there is plenty of room for my furniture.  


This vacant house was on the market for months.  The main complaint by potential buyers was that this family room was just too small to fit their furniture.


The house sold three weeks after staging to a
buyer who previously said this room was too small!


3.  A vacant house will emphasize all the shortcomings/flaws while a furnished house will downplay those problem areas and emphasize all the positives. Yes, buyers may be able to clearly see the architecture of a vacant house but they will also clearly see an oddly placed window/door, the not-so-neutral paint colors and the dated décor.  How much better to emphasize the positives with appropriate furniture and furnishings using beautiful staging techniques and to play down the oddly placed window/door by showing how to actually place furniture and accessories to make it work.  Even not-so-neutral paint colors can work so much better when incorporated into the overall plan of the stager.


An oddly shaped room—it has a half wall jutting out plus a door to the bedroom.


The placement of the furniture allowed a division between the living area and bedroom plus it makes the half wall disappear. 


4.  Often buyers are confused about the function of a vacant room.  They wonder ‘Is this room a dining room or a study or a bedroom’? Furniture & accessories solve this problem.


This room could be a  dining room or a study or an extension of the living room.


Clearly defined as a dining room


5.  People just cannot imagine themselves living in the house because of the sheer emptiness of it. They cannot visualize their family curled on the couch watching TV if there is no couch and no TV, or their family sitting down to a family dinner at a non-existent table.  It definitely does not look warm and homey….and that goes back to the emotional connection as mentioned in #1.


A large empty space


Furnished as dining and living spaces


6.  The first impression that 94% of buyers will get of any house is from the MLS/online photos.  If the photos simply show a vacant room, it sure won’t stand out against photos of a similar home that is beautifully furnished/staged. Most often they will skip over the listing that shows an empty box for a room. 

2012-09-20 21.08.14

This would look like a square empty box on the MLS photos.


This photo in the MLS is much more appealing to the buyers.



Home Staging & Redesign

(709) 341-7115




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