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Why You Should Never Show An Empty Listing

3 Photos That Will Make You Want to Stage a Vacant Listing

By Patti Stern


After making a desperate $50,000 price reduction on her parent's well-maintained home a "Today Show" viewer asked real estate expert, Barbara Corcoran, if she should remove the dated furnishings. Corcoran's advice: Never list a home without furniture. Stage it!


Vacant homes aren't memorable and won't stand out to buyers particularly in online listings where the majority of buyers begin their home search.


These three different vacant properties, pictured below, are a great example of how unfurnished homes can often look the same in the listing photos and get lost in a buyer’s search. Without furnishings, buyers can't distinguish one home from another. None of the homes stand out or make it onto their “must see” list.




Three different rooms, a master bedroom, living room and dining room, in three different vacant homes will look nearly identical to buyers online.


Regardless of price point, staging vacant homes is important to initially capture buyer interest and take them from the online listing to the front door. Once there, a well-staged home will help buyers emotionally connect to the property, ultimately taking their interest to the next level with an offer.




“This grand home has a beautiful interior with stunning details,” says Joanne and John Hoye of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services(link is external) in West Hartford, Conn., the listing agents for the Hartford home. “However, most of the time buyers don’t have the vision to see what a room can look like. Larger vacant homes in particular can discourage buyers, who may think they don’t have enough pieces to furnish the home.


Still need convincing or help convincing your sellers? Keep these insights in mind.

· It will sell faster. A vacant property can take up to 78 percent more time to sell than comparable furnished homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

· Buyers will see it as their home. Only a few buyers can visualize a vacant room decorated and furnished. Most buyers, on the other hand, cannot envision how they will live in the home or use a room.
· They’ll stay longer. During a showing of a vacant home, I’ve found that buyers unable to connect with the space will only stay on average 5 minutes, compared to an average 40 minutes in a furnished home.
· Their furniture will fit. Empty rooms look smaller to buyers, who often will think their favorite sectional or king-sized bed is too big. In larger homes, buyers will question if they have enough furniture. Either way they’ll be calculating the additional cost of new furniture rather than focusing on the home.
· Details stand out. Architectural details and key features can stand out when a home is professionally styled and staged whereas empty rooms put a spotlight on flaws or needed repairs.