Should You Move Out Before You Sell?

Should You Move Out or Vacate Before You Sell?A decade ago, it was the norm for Silicon Valley homeowners to occupy the home they were selling – today a majority of homes are being sold unoccupied or vacant. Why is that? And should you move out before you sell?

A few years ago, around the mid- to late-2010s, we began to see an increasing number of vacant and professionally staged properties for sale. Last year, most sellers simply felt safer moving out before selling due to the pandemic. Today that continues to be the case.

Over time, the reasons for homeowners to move out before marketing a primary residence have increased. While sellers can certainly still occupy a home on the market and sell it successfully, it’s not our recommendation for most people and here’s why.

Seller Stress

First things first, if you are able to move out before you sell it can reduce a lot of stress. And this has almost always been the case.

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Selling an occupied home during quarantine

celebratory image with words "some good news!"UPDATE ON APRIL 29: We just learned that the Shelter in Place order for Santa Clara County and San Mateo County will now permit showings of occupied homes as long as the residents are not present during the showing.

This new permission will kick in beginning on May 4th.

 

 

 

It is a challenging task for those selling an occupied home right now. Only vacant properties may be shown to buyers in person. If you are living in the home you want to sell,  what can you do to improve your odds of getting the property sold and closed? Here are some tips.

# 1 – Selling an occupied home? Help it to be knowable & virtually shown!

First, buyers cannot purchase it, as in close escrow, if they and their agent cannot see it. Or at least they shouldn’t since many things cannot be known until you go there in person, such as whether or not there are any odors, if the floors are level, if the rooms have enough natural light, and so on. The buyer’s agent has a legal obligation to perform a reasonably diligent visual inspection, which is pretty close to impossible if he or she cannot be on the property.

The best thing you could do would be to move out to sell, but for many that isn’t practical. The second best thing is to provide photos, video, and a floor plan so that buyers have a much clearer sense of the home, yard, view of the street, neighbors, etc.

 

Selling an occupied home - photo of a street view - show the street view, side yards, and areas often skipped - photo of street view in The Villages

 

Photos to help get your home under contract

Whether you take the photos or a professional photographer does, tidy the home as if it were going to be shown in person. Make the beds. Windows need to be clean. Virtually everything should be off of the kitchen and bathroom counters. The toilet lids should be closed. The fireplace should be neat and emptied of ashes. Floors ought to be clear of toys, shoes, and so on.  Garden hoses and outdoor items need to be away. Cars should not be seen. (You can find a really good list of preparing your home for real estate photos here.)

Photograph all of the rooms in the home, and include the hallways, laundry area, any pantry, etc. The exterior of the home and the yard(s) are to be included too. De-clutter and organize them just as  you would the more interesting parts of the home or yard.  Please make sure to snap these non-intuitive elements: (more…)