Top nine tips on marketing an unoccupied property

May 26, 2012

Landlords Insurance

Whether you are a landlord or an owner-occupier, it has long been recognised that it is typically harder to sell an unoccupied property than one that has someone living in it.

Here are a few tips that you may wish to consider if you find yourself in such a position:

  1. spend time in the property before viewings.  While you are there, open windows and other ventilation and perhaps making some coffee and toast might help the property to smell rather more lived in and therefore appealing.  Try to avoid artificial air fresheners, as these may simply make your property smell like a hospital;
  1. if in winter, make sure that the property feels warm and invest a little money in heating before viewers arrive – it might help;
  1. leave some furniture and furnishings in place.  Nothing looks sadder than empty rooms in a property and even some basic furniture may offset that significantly;
  1. don’t neglect basic cleanliness.  Potential purchasers are unlikely to be impressed by huge cobwebs hanging down from ceilings, dripping taps, dead flies in sink units or green gunk toilet areas;
  1. don’t apologise during viewings.  You may find that you are drawing attention to things that the potential purchasers had not even noticed.  Equally though, try not to be too gushing and sales oriented, as this may seriously discourage some buyers and make you look desperate;
  1. stress your own professionalism and responsibility.  Examples might be to highlight that even though it is unoccupied, you have visited the property regularly for maintenance purposes and took an unoccupied property insurance quote in order to ensure ongoing cover;
  1. pay special attention to external appearances.  Things such as rusty windows, curtains hanging down and unkempt garden areas, may simply get some potential buyers climbing back into their car before they have even viewed the inside of the property;
  1. be aware of tenanted property issues.  Some buyers may have an inbuilt prejudice, unless they are landlords themselves, about properties that have previously been used for rental purposes.  They may suspect that maintenance has been skimped and that there are hidden problems lurking.  So, talk about your previous compliance with safety regulations, your regular landlord insurance review and periodic condition inspections prior to the property becoming unoccupied;
  1. leave lampshades up.  Whether your property is furnished are not, nothing gives a worse 70s sitcom impression than bare light bulbs swinging from wires in the ceiling.  On a related subject, make sure that all light bulbs, switches and electrics are working.
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