Tips for selling (and viewing) an empty property

It’s fair to say the property market has been more sluggish over the past two years than we’d become used to in the UK.

But properties in Chelmsford have still been selling at good prices and in good time as people start to shuffle in their Brexit seats and release those hands from the sitting on they’d become accustomed to.

In Chelmsford over the past 12 months, more than 2,000 properties have been sold – a number which represents a 6% decline on the previous year but is also 3% higher than the UK national average.

So, people are selling and people are definitely buying.

But with the Brexit effect having stalled some transactions, there’s a strong chance you might come across an empty property on your search for a new home, where the seller has moved on to their next property while they wait for their current home to sell.

Empty properties can be harder to sell, statistically, while buyers sometimes have problems visualising living in what essential is a shell.

So, here are our top tips for sellers and buyers when it comes to empty properties for sale…

Tips for selling an empty property

If the property you’re selling is empty because you’ve made your move already, it can mean it’s tougher to sell.

But there are steps you can take to help ensure a quick sale.

Make the most of your kerb appeal

If your property’s interior is bare, the best way to make a great first impression with buyers is when they first see the exterior.

Kerb appeal counts for a lot when selling a property anyway, but even more so when there’s nothing inside.

Your marketing photos are unlikely to catch the eye as well as properties which are fully furnished, so make sure your home is as attractive as it can be both for those photos and when buyers turn up to look at it.

Make sure your property is clean

If you’re selling your home while you’re still living in it, any little areas that the vacuum or duster misses can be well concealed by your things.

When your home is empty, poor cleanliness will stand out like a sore (and very dirty) thumb.

Dirty or scuffed flooring or a carpet that has seen better days and has the remnants of many a bottle of wine engrained in it will just put buyers off – and there’s no sofa to conceal said dirt.

Walls can also look pristine where a chest of drawers once stood, which only enhances how dirty they are elsewhere.

Make sure walls, flooring and any other surfaces are as clean as they can be and decorate where you need to.

Get those windows sparkling

Like other aspects of your home when it’s empty, dirty windows look even dirtier with no curtains or blinds to deflect a buyer’s attention.

Take the time to ensure your windows are gleaming – it will really make each room sparkle and can also enhance natural light.

Visit the property weekly

You wouldn’t think dirt and grime could accumulate with nobody living in your home, but you’d be wrong.

At this time of year, your property’s exterior will need attention – especially those windows – due to the inclement weather.

And even the inside can start to smell damp or musty after a while when a home is vacant.

Visit, if you can, once a week and open a few windows for an hour while you have a clean and check around the property.

Keep the heating running

Programme your property’s heating to come on at least once a day at this time of year.

Yes, it’s a bit of a waste of energy (and money) when nobody is living there, but you want your property to feel warm and inviting when a buyer arrives.

And, most importantly, you don’t want to run the risk of frozen and burst pipework, or a boiler breakdown.

Tips for viewing an empty property

“I just can see us living here…”

It’s a common phrase from buyers looking at empty properties.

Because as much as a seller’s things can impact negatively on a buyer’s view of a property, they also struggle to see a property’s homely side when it’s empty.

Here is what you should be considering when viewing an empty property to buy…

See it as a blank canvas

Yes, this requires vision – and not everyone has it.

But if you can visualise your things in each room, or your family sat round the dinner table, you’ll be able to fall in love with an empty home as much as you can with one that’s lived in.

Make the most of the space you can see

When a seller’s things are crammed into a property, it can have a big impact on the visualisation of the space.

An empty home offers you a much better view of its actual size, meaning you can see right away if your belongings and furnishings would work in the property.

Empty homes can’t hide issues

As a buyer, you want to be sure you’re buying a good, solid property.

After all, it’s the biggest spend you’ll ever make.

Properties packed with a seller’s things mean potential issues can be shielded from view.

Properties with nothing in them have no such hiding place.

And that means you get a completely transparent view of a property’s condition, even before you commission a more in-depth survey.

An empty property is chain free

If the seller has already moved out and taken the next step on their own property journey, that means their property isn’t in a chain.

And that’s potentially great news for you as a buyer.

It means you can have greater flexibility on when you move in, should you decide to buy, and also means the sale is less likely to fall through and should be completed quicker.

If you’re looking to sell your home, or if you’re looking for a new property to buy, get in touch with the team at Martin & Co Chelmsford, who would be delighted to help get you moving.