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To Furnish or Not To Furnish a Vacant Listing

While it’s true that vacant homes appear cold and unremarkable while their furnished competitors appear warm and inviting—and are selling first, it’s also true that not all vacant listings are created equally. If a seller is considering rented furniture and accessories to help sell their home, first take the following under consideration:

Price Range: A moderate- to high-priced home is a better candidate than a home priced for first-time home buyers. A more expensive home may need the added glitz that furnishings provide, helping the home feel expensive and supporting the price being asked.

Competition: How does this home stack up against the competition? All things being equal—price, square footage, location, floor plan, age—the best-looking and most updated homes sell first. If better-looking, better-priced homes in the same area keep entering the market, they will keep pushing the others to the bottom of the list.

Location: Is the vacant home in a highly-coveted area where homes typically sell quickly? The only reason this home might be furnished is to get top dollar for it and/or to sell fast. Is the home on a busy street? The addition of stunning (and sound-muffling) landscaping and/or a fence may be a better investment. (Ask for a copy of my “Selling on a Busy Street” E-article!)

Days-on-Market: If the average DOM for the neighborhood/area is high, you can bet the furnished homes aren’t selling either, warranting a different approach. If the average DOM is low, are there other issues that need to be dealt with first? (See Buyer Feedback)

Buyer Feedback: Does the home need a good scrubbing? Is the Inspection going to reveal a long list of issues? Is the home creating a sense that it will need too much work? Spending money on furnishings won’t cover up the flaws that will still need to be addressed (typically with a lower price). Any available funds should go into the buyer’s pocket rather than the stager’s. That said, I’ve helped prioritize many successful To-Do Lists for sellers that will help them make more money in the long run!

Quantity of Showings: How many showings have there been? How good are the Internet photos? Is the home priced as it should be? Many showings with no offers indicate that something about the house itself is the culprit. That “something” should be dealt with before furnishings are brought in.

Internet Photos: Are the photos white on white on blah? Are there close-ups of a feature but no context such as the room itself? Were the exterior shots taken in February and it’s now May? Uninteresting photos can eliminate the house from the “to-see list” because they are not doing it justice. A warm tan coat of paint may help. So might an arsenal of accessories (ask about my Accessories Package).

New Construction: If none of the new construction is selling and the home is in the saturated moving-up range, furnishings could well be the best option (as could a landscaping allowance).

Buyer Pool: Are there many competing $500,000+ homes on the market but not an abundance of buyers for that price range—furnished or otherwise? Spending a few thousand dollars on furnishings sounds better than a $30,000 price drop. If a home is furnished in conjunction with being updated, having no “issues” and priced correctly, the home should at least make it to the buyers’ short-list.

Design Issues: Furniture can resolve the “How do I arrange furniture in this room?” question, especially if the room appears too small or large, too open or angled.

Price Reductions: How long ago was the price lowered? Is the new price more in line with the market and comps? One option is to wait a week or so after lowering the price to see if it generates more interest before spending money on furniture. Another option is to time the price reduction with furniture and take full advantage of the renewed interest.

Let me know how I can help your listings sell faster and for more. Services include staging existing furnishings, providing a consultation with detailed notes, and bringing in furniture/accessories when truly needed!

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“Source: HomeStaging by Cynthia, Inc. in KCMO /”

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