Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flipping a House? Here's the Good News and the Bad News

Are you staging a house that you bought to sell at a profit?

If so, chances are that the property is vacant. When no one lives in a house for sale, the situation can make your job as seller both easier and more difficult.

The Advantages 
  • Staging an unoccupied property makes a stager's job easier. 
  • No one is messing up the place on a daily basis. There's no cooking, sleeping, showering, coming and going, or hanging out, so the house stays clean, except for whatever dirt a house tour creates, and some dust, fingerprints, or cobwebs.
  • Scheduling a showing is easy. There's no last minute checklist to go over, no pets to ferry around the neighborhood in the family car, no fluffing pillows, polishing faucets, and stashing the toiletries. Staging can be done with an eye towards maximizing aesthetics. Since The Model Home look isn't the way most people actually live, you're free to concentrate on pretty first and practical second. Within reason. 

 The Downside

But there are other ways that an unoccupied home will challenge you if you are a homestager or homeseller.

You'll need to find ways to furnish the home and still stay within budget. Renting furniture can get expensive, and buying furniture is impractical as well.

Break-ins and vandalism can be a problem.

The home can have a sterile and empty feeling, an extra challenge to your staging skills.

You're never sure if the property is show-ready. The last home tour may have left pillows scrunched, toilet seats up, dirty footprints through the living room, rugs wrinkled, glass doors smeared with hand prints, bulbs burned out, and cabinet doors open wide. You can't expect a realtor to be your tidy-up person.

How about that exterior? Landscaping can get messy if you don't have a routine system -- either yourself or a lawn service -- to take care of the home's exterior.

Lastly, remember that utilities need to be kept up, which adds to the ongoing costs of maintaining the property until it sells. Electricity is a must for showing a home. Running water and some degree of heating and cooling are usually a necessity as well.   

Does your front door look inviting? Does it look like someone lives there, even if no one does?
When I began this blog, Mr. Lucky and I had just decided to purchase another home for the purpose of fixing and selling it for a profit. We worked on the property for six weeks, staged it to look lived-in, turned it over to a realtor, and sold it in 145 days.

Flipping a home isn't always profitable. When we first considered buying the property, we had to determine what we could do and what we would pay others to do. Then, we did our homework to calculate if our time and efforts would be well spent. Like any business, there are risks, and your job is to minimize them.

I hope these links to previous posts can help you when you are flipping a house. For more advice on putting a home on the market, download my $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. You'll be able to minimize those risks.

Top photo: Better Homes and Gardens
 
 

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