WHEN SELLERS MOVE....LEAVING A VACANT HOME FOR SALE
Many times a seller will need to transfer out for the new job, move to the new dream home they just had built or even downsize to a retirement community. There can be many other reasons. Leaving a vacant home behind has some benefits yet there are many additional concerns to address.
A vacant home is easier for the Realtor to schedule for showings, its true. It is also easier to show a buyer twice in one day, as well as, allowing for appraisers, inspectors and repair people to have easier access. However, the seller and their agent need a game plan for maintaining the property. Lawn care, water, electricity, heating and cooling and periodic cleaning still need to be considered and managed.
One idea would be for the seller to arrange for a local caretaker to check on the property at least once a week, flush commodes, check mechanical equipment is functioning properly, making sure yard maintenance is being done, as well as, picking up stray mail and flyers delivered to the property. Then someone has to make sure that the little bugs and spiders who want to take over corners and doorways are kept at bay. This is usually not the Realtors job. It is recommended that the seller have a friend, family member or professional perform these duties.
It may be a good idea to also add a one year Home Warranty to the property to cover incidentals. That Warranty can then be passed on to the new owner to cover their first year in the property and becomes an additional incentive to the buyer to purchase.
Another consideration is the standard home owner's insurance policy premium (the HO policy). If your insurance company charges an additional premium for a vacant home, and most do because risk is increased, it may be a great idea for the seller to have a house sitter live in the house until it sells. If a house sitter is engaged, an agreement and an itemized list of care-taking responsibilities should be reviewed and agreed to.
In leaving an empty home behind a seller's care and diligence is not over until the home is sold, new deed is signed, recorded and the new owner takes over.