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Occupied or Vacant? Which is Better When Selling?

Interior of home living space

For on-the-go families, keeping a home show-ready when trying to sell can be a daunting task. The good news: the effort seems to pay off. According to a recent article by Redfin, occupied homes tend to sell faster and for more money than vacant homes.

The study found that the average vacant home sells for $11,306 less than comparable occupied homes. Vacant homes also take longer to sell averaging six more days on the market than comparable occupied homes. How is it that a home filled with kids toys and furniture beats out the empty slate of a vacant home? Here are some reasons why.

Empty homes signal an urgency to sell.

When a house is vacant, buyers feel that the owner may be in a rush to sell the home and thus buyers will want to offer less money. When a home is occupied, buyers may think the seller needs top dollar in order to move out and thus buyers are willing to offer more. Buyers may also feel they have more time to decide when looking at a vacant home versus an occupied home.

Room sizes are hard to judge.

Empty rooms simply look smaller and that’s never good when trying to sell. Empty rooms also make it difficult to judge how furniture may fit. It’s easier to see how big a bedroom may look when a bed is still in the room.


While everyone’s décor is different, occupied homes have more personality than vacant homes. An empty home forces the buyer to use their imagination to envision the possibilities of a home, whereas in an occupied home the feeling is a bit more obvious. For example, a plain, outdoor concrete patio becomes a lot more inviting when staged with comfy furniture and a fire pit.

If you do find yourself in the position of selling an empty home, do not despair, but do start cleaning. A clean home on the inside paired with fresh landscaping on the outside always makes a great impression for potential buyers.

Written By: Marlene Sheard

Marlene is the mortgage marketing representative for Ameris Bank and previous sales and marketing president for her local Home Builders Association. She enjoys sharing her experiences for the buying, selling, and financing of homes.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.