Home selling - unfurnished

cymraesMarch 1, 2012

We are putting our custom home on acreage back on the market after having it off the market for the past 10 months. We are moving out of State and the home will be empty. We need to take some of our furniture, but could leave the home partially furnished. Which is better - completely empty or partially furnished? We can leave all the living room, formal dining room, 2 bedrooms and the office furnished. We do need to take one bedroom set, the sunroom and the kitchen nook furniture.

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About 5 years ago, we had to move before our house sold. We opted to leave our furniture there, and we rented a bedroom set for our new place. We had a card table to eat on and plastic chairs for a while. We moved everything down when it sold 6 months later.

Obviously it would be different if you've got kids, but it worked for us. We were also doing a gut remodel, so were happy to have empty rooms to work in for a while.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:52PM
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I would leave a minimal amount of furnishings, a bed and one dresser in each bedroom, dining table and four chairs, etc. You want to have some furniture as an empty house looks smaller but a cluttered over furnished house looks smaller too. If you can, have at least a twin or even a love seat and table in the bedroom you were planning to leave empty.

An empty house makes you look desperate to sell too, and that's not good.

Consider picking up an expensive dining set for your new kitchen on CL (you can sell on CL when you are done) until you can move the old ones, make your home look as if you still live there, even if it is minimal, I would even leave some color coordinated, items hanging in the closets for staging.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 9:18PM
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In our case, I think the empty house was actually better than a furnished house. You could see all the walls and floors and see how clean things were and tell there was no damage. The rooms looked bigger, and we didn't have to worry about our taste in furniture turning anyone off. It also let the buyers know the house was ready to move into and they didn't have to wait for us to get our stuff out. Also in our case, our buyers had already sold their house, and were looking for a place to store their belongings before closing on our house. Since our house was empty, we allowed them to store all their belongings in our house, and charged them $1500 for doing so. This was cheaper than them paying a storage facility, and paying a moving company to move their stuff a second time. I think it gave them better peace of mind knowing their stuff was in my house versus a storage facility. I think that was a very big attraction to them that our house was empty and ready for immediate occupancy.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 8:34AM
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While some people have the ability to visualize empty spaces, most don't. Generally, people need a frame of reference. eg a bed in a bedroom to see how everything else would fit. If possible, leave enough furnishings to define the rooms. You want the first impression to be "What a great office space!" not "I wonder what we do with this room?"

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Of course, this reminds me of a tiny townhouse that I looked at years ago, advertised as a three bedroom, but one of the bedrooms was staged as an office "What a great office space!"
After touring around, I could not recall three bedrooms, so I went back upstairs and saw the "office" (desk staged diagonally across the room) and tried to figure out if even a twin bed and dresser would fit in there, it was so tiny. I doubted so.
Good staging to distract a buyer, I thought.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:00AM
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BEFORE we moved furniture and our other things, I took photos of our staged (clean, bright and clutter-free) rooms. The photos were used in the listing, so no one, but serious lookers, knew the home was vacant. I also arranged copies of the photos in a small album, which was placed next to the realtor's "home facts" brochures in the kitchen.

Put new "welcome" mat at front door, and timers on exterior lights. Helpful to have family, trusted neighbor, friend or realtor check bulbs and condition of house every so often.

In each bedroom, simple, solid-color curtains remained.

In each bathroom, shower rods and curtains remained (they coordinated with paint colors). I hung fluffy new towels and placed nicer bath/body store (pump-style) soap dispensers next to sink. Simple rectangular wicker baskets were arranged on the vanities (containing glycerin soaps, rolled washcloths and a small candle). It made the bathrooms feel spa-like, not cold, empty and utilitarian.

For the kitchen, three glass canisters 3/4-filled with colorful beans/lentils, a couple very nice cookbooks ($10 from thrift store) resting on a book stand, and a simple stainless soap dispenser at the sink.

In all, I may have spent $150. It made the home look warmer and more inviting. I left it all with the house. Nothing to move. It's a minor amount of things for new owner to get rid of if he/she doesn't want, but so much was new that it will most likely be used.

Just make sure every surface is spotless!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:37PM
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On our home that we sold in 2010 - we left some of our nice furniture as staging when we moved out. For our Master Bedroom we left our entire furniture suite, but our realtor used an airbed in our second bedroom with a nice comforter, bed-skirt, sham, pillows etc...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 5:02PM
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We sold our custom home in December 2011. It sold in less than 10 days at full asking price. We removed all clutter from the house, and had it professionally staged. During the staging a lot of furniture was "edited". That's what we took to the new house.. Anything that enhanced the home stayed. We did take our own mattresses, but replaced them with air mattresses. We made do at the new house with borrowed furniture, things we had in storage and a few inexpensive purchases from IKEA. I've since sold it all on Craigs List.

My advice is to be sure your house looks as good as it possibly can. Empty or partially furnished rooms can send a message that the seller may be financially vulnerable, IMO. That's good for bargain hunters, but not helpful in creating the right impression for a higher end, custom home.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:54AM
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