Home News Releases Redfin: Vacant Homes Fetch Less Money and Take Longer to Sell

Redfin: Vacant Homes Fetch Less Money and Take Longer to Sell

SEATTLE (May 20, 2019) — Nationwide, vacant homes sell for $11,306 less and spend six more days on the market than comparable occupied homes, according to an analysis from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. The analysis looked at homes that were listed and sold in 2018, comparing the sale prices and time spent on the market for home listings that were marked ‘vacant’ at the time they were sold with those that were not flagged as vacant.

“Although vacant homes are easy for buyers to tour at their convenience, the fact that the sellers have already moved on is often a signal that buyers can take their time making an offer,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “It’s also likely that sellers who are in a comfortable enough financial situation to own a property that’s sitting empty aren’t as motivated to get the highest possible price for their home as sellers who need the cash from their first home in order to buy the next one.

“Though vacant homes sell for less money in every metro area included in the analysis, the amount varies by location. Vacant homes come with the biggest discount compared with occupied homes in relatively affordable inland areas. Vacant homes still sell for less than occupied homes in expensive West Coast metros, but the price differential is smaller.

In both Omaha, Nebraska and Greenville, South Carolina, where vacant homes are associated with the biggest discount, vacant homes sell for 7.2 percent, or about $15,000, less on average than occupied homes. In San Jose, buyers get the smallest discount on vacant homes, which sell for just 0.9 percent less than homes that aren’t vacant, followed by Las Vegas (-1.5%) and Orange County (-2.3%). Vacant homes take longer to go under contract in every metro except San Jose, where they spend an average of one and a half fewer days on the market than occupied homes.

“Whether occupied homes sell faster and for more money depends on a lot of factors, as everyone’s tastes and preferences are different,” said Billie Jean Hemerson, a Redfin agent in Orange County. “If a home is occupied and the furniture is modern, up to date and fits the space, it has a positive impact on a potential buyer’s perception of the home and they may pay more than if the home were vacant. But if a seller’s furnishings are dated, dark or too large for the space, buyers may offer less.”

Staging Vacant Homes

Redfin agents suggest that although vacant homes tend to sell for less money and spend more time on the market before going under contract, staging or virtual staging can help vacant homes make a better impression with buyers. Staging involves hiring a company to bring and arrange furniture in your home to showcase its potential to buyers. Staging can be particularly impactful for homes with open spaces or unusual layouts, where buyers most often need help to see how the furniture could be arranged.  Professional staging can cost several thousand dollars, depending on the number of rooms staged and the length of time.

“Staging a property can have a profound effect on both the sale price and days on the market, but the main challenge of physical staging is that it’s cumbersome, costly and offers no flexibility to showcase various aesthetic stylings,” said Pieter Aarts, CEO and co-founder of roOomy, a leading virtual staging, CGI and 3D modeling platform. 

Aarts added: “Virtual staging is a cost-efficient option that gives homebuyers an ultra-realistic view of what the vacant home will look like at its full potential. It caters to today’s homebuyers who are increasingly demanding immersive services and mobile augmented and virtual reality tools that allow them to evaluate a property, often times without needing to physically set foot in the home.” 

To read the full report, complete with market-level analysis, methodology and virtual staging photos, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/vacant-homes-sell-for-less-money.

About Redfin 
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate for listed homes. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 85 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada. The company has closed more than $85 billion in home sales.

For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com.