Ask Esther – Should I show unfurnished?

Dear Esther,

We purchased a home and have ours on the market to sell. We have movers scheduled to empty out our home and move our furniture to our new place. My friend told me, without furniture, our home will be harder to sell. What do you think?

Signed,

Moving on

Dear Moving On,

I agree with your friend that an empty house is harder to sell. When folks look at your home, most will feel lost in the empty spaces. It confuses them as they walk through asking, “Where will I put my kitchen table, dining room hutch, bedroom dressers, TV, etc?” A room without furniture is an empty space without identity. Most people do not have the imagination to be able to picture themselves there.

Along with empty rooms is usually flooring that shows every mark, worn carpeting, scratched hardwood, and stained vinyl. Because the furniture has been removed, the floor is more visible. The same goes for your walls. Where pictures were hanging, there are nail holes and every smudge mark or scuff is more noticeable. With everything out, floors and walls are what people see.

If you decide to move your furniture, I recommend hiring a staging company to furnish, at the very least, the primary rooms in your home – kitchen, living, dining and family rooms. They are interior designers, so they will do more than add furniture. Knowing what is visually appealing to buyers, they add accessories like wall hangings and flower arrangements.

If you would rather not hire a staging company, at the very least, paint walls and replace and/or professional clean floors so everything looks clean and sparkles. Floors and walls are very visible when there is no furniture.

For example, a home I am selling was emptied a few months ago. Before the furniture was removed, feedback from prospective buyers was positive with “cozy, comfortable, nice” as commonly used descriptions. After it was emptied, the cozy appeal was lost with consistent negative comments. The seller understood this and recently moved furniture back into the primary spaces. We’re back to positive feedback.

It is important to remember that purchasing a home is an emotional decision. Buyers need to love your home before they decide to buy it. Empty spaces are simply not lovable.

If you have real estate questions, feel free to contact me – Esther Prosser, PO Box 20, Elverson, PA 19520, esther@stoltzfus.com, 484.269.7153.

Disclaimer – Esther Prosser is a realtor with Stoltzfus Enterprises, LTD, which advertises with Journal Register Co. publications.

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