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Selling a Vacant House: A Complete Guide

Should you stay or should you go? If you're selling a vacant house in the Greater Knoxville area, you have a few options: list your home with a REALTOR®, sell the house yourself, or sell to a local home buyer. 

Find out the pros and cons of having vacant property, as well as what your sale options are in our guide to selling a vacant house here.

Why Would a House Be Vacant?

There are many reasons why a house may be vacant. Whether you had to move quicker than expected, or you've inherited property and don't have the resources to take care of it, here are a few examples of vacant properties: 

  • The seller has already moved - Buying and selling at the same time can be hard to time, which is why many owners move before their former property is sold. 

  • A rental property became vacant - Landlords may experience a brief vacancy after a tenant moves out or is evicted. In many cases, properties need repairs, keeping them vacant for longer. 

  • The owner has passed away - Heirs may not know what to do with inherited property. In many cases, there may be a dispute with heirs that needs to be resolved or missing heirs need to be located. 

No matter the reasoning, it's important that you find someone to occupy your house quickly! 

Problems With Vacant Houses

As a house sits vacant, the value of the house deteriorates and invites problems for the owners.

  • Taxes, Utility Bills, and Maintenance - Over time, an unoccupied house will still have taxes accrue, utility bills to pay, and maintenance to perform. In addition, the yard will need to be cut or the local municipality will cut it and charge an outrageous fee. 

  • Abandonment - If the owners of the house turn off the utilities and let the house sit, several issues will begin to appear. No heat and no water flow will create the potential for frozen pipes which means that water leaks will occur and cause additional damage. Animals will find shelter in the attic or other accessible locations. Mold will form in the living area due to insufficient air flow. 

  • Vandalism - A vacant house invites vandalism which can lead to major damage or burning completely to the ground. Many heirs do not know this but most insurance policies require special vacant or unoccupied home insurance and will not cover a house for vandalism once it is vacant for a certain amount of time.

Either way, the sooner you sell a vacant house, the fewer the problems you will encounter, and the higher the price you receive.

Pros and Cons of Selling a Vacant House

Pros of Selling a Vacant House 

One major advantage of selling a vacant house is not having to leave at a moment's notice so your agent can show the house to buyers. 
You also don't have to worry about packing up personal items or making sure everything is in order - both of which can be challenging if you have children or pets. 

Take a look at some of the benefits of selling a vacant property. 

  • There's less inconvenience - With vacant houses, sellers have a much easier time scheduling showings. This can help your home be seen by a larger pool of prospective buyers.

  • You won't have to worry about cleaning - When your house is cleared out, you'll need to do a deep cleaning. However, once that's done, you'll only need to attend to small maintenance issues. 

Cons of Selling a Vacant House

Selling a house that you're still living in can be inconvenient. However, studies show that vacant homes usually sell for less. They also tend to stay on the market longer than occupied homes.  

Here are a few drawbacks of selling a vacant house: 

  • The house isn't staged - Without furniture, buyers can see every flaw, which may prevent them from putting in an offer. While you're legally obligated to disclose repairs, you're likely to walk away with less money at closing. 

  • Crime magnet - Vacant homes attract crime. If you don't have vacant or unoccupied home insurance, which can be expensive, you're responsible for repairing any vandalization. This could leave your house on the market for longer. 

  • Less buyer appeal - Vacant homes are typically on the market for longer because they're empty. Empty homes can feel lonely, which makes it hard for buyers to connect with them emotionally. 

  • Requires more maintenance - The longer a home sits vacant, the more susceptible it is to damage. Small leaks can turn into big ones and could cause thousands of dollars in damage if not repaired quickly - and everyone knows how tedious selling a house with water damage can be! If you're not careful, you may end up spending more than you're willing to list your home. 

  • No one's there for emergencies - If you live in an area that has cold winters, like Knoxville, staying in your home can help prevent pipes from bursting. The best thing you can do is leave the utilities on and make sure your home is ready for inclement weather. 

How to Sell a Vacant House

1. List With a Real Estate Agent

Listing with an agent is the most common way to sell a vacant house. Not only will a REALTOR® know the area, but they have the expertise to advertise your property. They'll also handle paperwork and price negotiations on your behalf. 

That said, using a realtor could mean your house stays on the market anywhere from a few weeks to several months. 

Another thing to consider is what needs to be repaired and how much it will cost. If you're selling a house that needs extensive repairs, you'll need to have it restored before listing with an agent. 

Also, if you're listing a vacant house that you've lived in over the past three years, you're legally obligated to disclose necessary repairs to buyers. 

2. For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

Selling a house for sale by owner has recently grown in popularity as homeowners want to save on real estate commissions. For sale by owner is similar to selling with an agent, except the homeowner is responsible for all of the advertising, paperwork, and negotiating. 

Nevertheless, FSBO tends to be a huge undertaking. You're responsible for advertising the listing, making repairs, and hosting walk-throughs and open houses. Plus, homeowners don't typically have the experience or connections to market their vacant property. Finally, most owner occupants do not have the expertise to handle repairs and will pass on vacant houses that are not move-in ready.

3. Sell to a Local Home Buyer

Selling a vacant house to a local home buyer is a quick and easy way to sell your home. Many home buying companies, like Reliant Home Buyers of TN, can make you an offer for your property in its current condition. Not to mention, you'll close as soon you'd like and receive cash for your vacant house. 

One potential downside to selling to a home buyer is they won't typically pay market value for your home. Although, in many cases, this ends up evening out. 

For instance, if you're selling a house with foundation issues or termite damage, you'd have to list your house below its market value anyways.

Selling to a local home buyer guarantees a fast sale at a fair price. 

We Buy Vacant Houses in the Greater Knoxville Area

Listing your home is expensive - not to mention time-consuming! Fortunately, Reliant Home Buyers of TN buys houses, including vacant property in any condition or price range! 

Need to close quickly? No problem! Our home buyers can make a FREE, no-obligation offer for your house today! Call 865-567-6391 or fill out the contact form to schedule a walkthrough of your property. We'll help figure out what's best for you - and may even buy your house in the process! 

Here are a few reasons you should sell us your vacant house: 

  • Sell your house as-is - Working with our experienced home buyers ensures you won't have to do anything to your vacant house before selling. From houses with code violations to unpermitted work, our WIN-WIN proposals are based on the location and condition of your home. There's no repairing or upgrading required! 
  • There's zero obligation to sell - If our fair cash offer works for you, great! However, if you change your mind about selling, let us know. We'll never pressure you into signing with us. 
  • Name your closing date - Whether you'd like to sell quickly or need time to think about our offer, we'll let you name your closing date. With us, you won't have to wait months for closing, which means you can get that vacant property off your hands as quickly as possible. 

We Want to Buy Your Vacant House in East Tennessee

Don't have months to sell your vacant property? Are you thinking of selling your house without a realtor? Contact Reliant Home Buyers of TN today! 

With nearly two decades of experience buying houses in East Tennessee, we want to help! Our home buyers will do everything we can to make selling your home as worry-free as possible. 

We buy houses in the Greater Knoxville area, including: 

For more information on selling a vacant house, call 865-567-6391


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