So you’ve accepted your new job and have moved on to your new life in a different city.

The only problem is that your previous house hasn’t sold yet and now you’re faced with the prospect of selling a vacant house—a sure way to look desperate, lose money, and ensure the place languishes on the market, right? Not necessarily. There are steps you can take to make your house more appealing and marketable, even though it’s—gasp—unoccupied.

Vacant or not, the curb appeal of your house is important. Since your house is uninhabited, it’s important to make sure that the lawn is mowed, the newspaper has been cancelled, and your mail has been forwarded. Invest in some motion-activated lights for the outside. Also you may want to have a neighbor park in the driveway, if possible.

When talking about the inside of the home, keep some furniture and lamps. It seems counter-intuitive, but an empty house looks smaller than a home with a few pieces about. Additionally, when a house is totally vacant, minor defects, like a stain on the carpet or a scratch on the wood floor, tend to stick out a bit more.

Also, remember that it’s very important to keep the utilities turned on—buyers don’t like walking into a sauna in the summer or an icebox in the winter. Plus, frequent dramatic temperature and moisture changes are not good for the structure’s integrity.

Unfortunately, sometimes vacant houses can attract vandals and thieves. If you’ve got a security system, make sure it’s set, but leave your code with your Texas REALTOR®. You also want to make sure the house has the appearance of occupancy—some timers for lamps you’ve left behind are a good idea.

Some folks will even hire professional home sitters, who will rent your home for a nominal fee, furnish it with their own stuff, pay utilities, and are obligated to maintain the home in showing condition.

Finally, realize that it may be hard to insure a vacant house, so review your policy and speak with your agent to evaluate your coverage needs.

This information was provided on the Texas Association of Realtors® website.

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