This resource page is going to give you all of the intel you need to know about listing or viewing a home that is vacant in the Santa Clarita Valley Cities.
Maybe you are a home seller with an option to leave behind some of your furniture at a home you are having us sell for you versus leaving it vacant. What do you choose? What should you be looking at from a safety and protection perspective when you have the choice of selling your home complete vacant or with leaving some furniture behind? What other items should a Vacant home seller be wondering or concerned with?
We always give our clients more questions than they may have asked on their own. We always want our clients to consider everything possible before venturing off into the real estate jungle. We want our clients to always be the most informed and the most up to date concerning all aspects of real estate that will eventually affect them.
If you are a home buyer, you may also be curious why the seller’s home is vacant. In some circumstances, it can indicate a better deal to be had. In other’s, it shows that the homeowner is in no hurry to sell, which can affect any offer you decide to enter the ring. I’ll explain all aspects when viewing homes, condos, and town-homes which are vacant in the Santa Clarita Cities from a real estate buyers perspective.
I’m going to lead off with home buyers because how they view a Vacant Home can potentially change a seller’s mind as to whether they should leave their home vacant if they have the resources to leave it staged with furniture.
For a home seller and something a home buyer should know is that Staged Homes always sell faster for more money than vacant and lived in homes. If a home can be staged without the appearance of a seller still living in the home on a full-time basis, that will work as well as having a “non-habitable” staged home. Of course, that “resident” is going to have to be living out of a suitcase and keep the home pristine during the showing times. Lighting adjusted, music playing, Febreze scents and climate control set at optimum.
Home buyers viewing vacant homes
Vacant homes are not without surveillance systems in place. Just because you cannot see them does not mean they are not in place.
I had a client call me a few years ago while their “vacant” Santa Clarita home was on the market. Apparently, there were two people who were “doing it” on his living room floor. After the fireplace was activated, never a good idea for a home viewer, they seemed to have sparked the kindling of romance and the act was codified.
Of course, I had to watch the video to see who the violator was and make the proper notifications and get an apology to my home seller. There were other “realtor” ethics items that came into play after the report was entered, no pun intended. Point being, if you are viewing real estate, vacant or not, you are probably on camera with audio.
Some home buyers may consider a vacant home as being very costly to a homeowner, putting that homeowner in a position of haste and needing to sell their home quickly. They combine this with the assumption of the homeowner “needing” to sell because they are paying a mortgage. This is not always the case because the home being viewed maybe paid off. They also consider the homeowner maybe having to pay payments at some other location. This too is not always the case, the homeowner may be living with relatives or have other arrangements which are being handled at a zero sum level. There are a lot of reasons why a home is left vacant to sell, most of which don’t attribute to a home seller’s wallet pain.
The best way to know the answers to these questions is to allow me to ask on your behalf. When I find a vacant home that I have viewed with my clients I ask the seller’s agent to give me the skinny related to the property. They are usually very forthright and want us to know what is happening concerning the homeowner and their present state. They advise me of the answers to questions such as these if the homeowner has agreed to allow them to disclose it. If the homeowner has advised their agent not to relay any information of this nature to the agents calling or inquiring, then a home buyer may never know except what is required by the disclosures.
Vacant homes reveal a lot to a home buyer about their function and items not normally seen with viewing occupied/furnished homes. We have had homes that were “furnished” up to the final day of closing, and even past that point. Past the point of closing because there was a mention in escrow of allowing the seller time to move out after the escrow was closed. Then the home buyer noticed damage underneath the furniture, behind a dresser or elsewhere that would be hidden from view because the home was not vacant. These items do create issues for the previous homeowner, liability issues. Of course, most homeowners, once they see something they did not remember or were unaware of, make good on it. However, some do not and that is where the responsible real estate agents should step in and convey what needs to happen to all parties.
Some home buyers like vacant homes because they are more of a blank slate. They are like a canvas that has no marks on it. They are able to envision their furniture inside with them living in the home without visual obstruction. This is quite a concept and really depends on the “visual and imaginative” process and capabilities of the potential home buyer. In some cases, buyers will want the home to be staged to active their visual cortex and have it combined with their imaginative nature to get the full feeling from the home they are viewing. In other cases, the vacant homes appeal to the prospective home buyers.
To really find out what “buyer type” I’m working with, I ask. I ask them how visually attuned they are. Are they able to view a home that has someone living inside of it, as they can a home that is staged, as they are able to imagine themselves living in a vacant home? Some of my home buyers look past everything. I see that some of my home buyers really grasp the staged homes and want to view those if at all possible.
Some of my other home buyers want the vacant homes and like those best. At the end of the day, all of those buyer types cross streams and buy the home that suits them the best, staged/vacant or occupied aside.
A word about staging a home, that costs money. If you are going to hire the company that has the furniture and the skilled staging professional – you will be paying upwards of $1000.00 or more to stage a home for 3 or more months. Is the return worth it? It depends on the housing market and what is happening. If the market is moving fast, staging is not going to give you the return you are wanting. But if the housing market is moving slow and if your competition is “lived in” homes, then the staging of a vacant home will pay off. We address those questions with our home sellers and establish the best type of housing market and which is the one to sell a vacant or staged home in if the opportunity is flexible.
Seller perspectives on selling vacant homes and real estate
To sell a vacant home or not as a Santa Clarita home seller? First off, if you have your home listed with a real estate professional, there will be no indication of “vacant” in the Multiple Listing Service in writing that is within public view or in the public remarks. This is a violation due to predatory criminals in the world. The photographs may show the home as vacant, but who is to say those photographs were taken for the specific listing period and were not from a past listing or event?
When homes are vacant, they can attract those predators that are wanting to do harm to the owner. I have seen vacant homes that were not monitored or kept up with by their owners or agents have the copper plumbing torn out under the veil of darkness.
I have seen squatters take advantage of a vacant home. This was much more prevalent during the last fall in the real estate cycle where those homeowners became the banks because of default. People were driving around looking for the dead lawns and boarded up windows, attempting to find those home where the utilities have been deactivated and the water turned off. They move in. They bring all of their things, contact the utility companies, and move into the home. They establish residency by changing their mailing address to the home and sit and wait. They aren’t paying a mortgage, they are squatting. At that time, when the bank called me to sell that asset, I would respond to the property and see who was living there. I encountered these squatters who had no lease, who did not know the previous homeowner’s name prior to the default, they only would identify themselves in order to get the cash for keys the bank was offering. It was criminal but a lot of those who were losing their home was doing it.
Vacant homes for home sellers can equate to misunderstanding by home buyers. Something that you want to make known to your real estate agent is that your “Vacant” Santa Clarita home is not distressed. You are not distressed. You only have moved along to a place of your choice and you are not in a “hurry” to sell your home. It’s vacant for a reason. Because vacant homes sell better than homes that are lived in. That is why. Make it clear to your real estate agent that they are not allowed to tell a home buyer’s agent any other information than what will benefit you in the long run. Any information that would pertain to the home being distressed, you have to continue to make payments or that you are making payments in two different places for two different residences should be kept very private.
Safety and Security factors
If you are selling a vacant home, maybe a real estate sign and being able to peer inside of windows is not a good idea. It could be that some, which they do, are looking for real estate signs to case homes in order to steal and or do harm. I know your home is “vacant” but people have stolen complete kitchens, appliances, carpet, siding, and plumbing/piping. It happens and it’s ugly when it happens.
Others may “lie in wait” for others to come into the home in viewing it and steal from them at gunpoint. While this is not very common, it could happen if not prepared for.
The squatting was mentioned already. How can you protect yourself and your vacant asset? Keep the wifi turned on and install a couple of cameras. You can get some really inexpensive cameras and place them into your home. Connect them to your wifi and be able to be notified if there is movement or any other activity that you weren’t expecting.
You will need your power on, of course, you will also need the wifi service and the cameras. The wifi can be about $25.00 a month, the cameras maybe $50 each that you will be able to use at other events in the future. The electricity to run the cameras and wifi will be a few bucks a month and there you have it. You can remotely view your home, the vacant home you are having sold for you. You will be notified if there is any movement and will be able to see the happenings with most cameras which are equipped with infrared.
The cameras, depending on the type, will have a service that can be paid for related to the storage. You will then be able to have any event recorded to be shared with the police and other authorities. You would be surprised how fast bad people are caught when they are caught on camera.
Some people are of the mindset to “hide the camera”, I don’t agree. I would say that the camera in plain view is much more of a deterrent to those wanting to do you wrong related to your Vacant Santa Clarita home.
You may think that someone will be stealing it? Some camera companies, like Ring, will pay you for stolen cameras. Check on Ring for Details.
I know we have three remote cameras that I place at various locations inside of our Valencia CA home when we go on vacation. Those cameras are accessible from wherever I am in the world. I can also access the exterior cameras, answer the doorbell and speak and active sirens on any camera I own that is serviced by Ring.
It pays off, in the end, to have thought ahead about keeping a monitor and handle on that which is your personal property, until it sells of course.
I’m Connor MacIvor and this is the complete intel on Selling a Vacant Santa Clarita Home. When you are ready, I’d like to have a conversation with you about me being your Realtor. I want our clients not to just get their Santa Clarita real estate done, I want our clients to have their real estate WON!