To Sell Staged or Empty?

living-room-2732939_640During the selling process, home owners face a lot of decision making. If you are fortunate enough to be one of the owners that can move out while showing their house, you can choose between leaving your house empty or staging it for showings. Here are a few benefits and cons of each.

 

Benefits of Staging

Have you ever noticed that builders decorate their model homes from top to bottom? The living rooms are filled with comfortable furniture while kitchen tables are set with elaborate dinnerware. The staging helps the home feel warm, inviting, clean and spacious. You want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves living there. Realtors, staging professionals and even savvy homeowners can use staging to set their house apart from similar ones that are vacant or poorly staged. This can help with a faster sale.

 

Benefits of Leaving Empty

Although a vacant house may not look as inviting as a staged home, leaving it empty does offer some benefits. Some may find it hard to visualize the potential of the space while others like picky decorators actually find it easier to envision the possibilities. They feel like they have a blank canvas to work with. Another benefit is that a vacant house highlights that the home is available right away due to the owners already moving on. A clean, vacant house allows buyers to focus on architectural and design elements which can entice a quick sale.

 

Cons of Staging

Ultimately, staging your home can take a lot of time, effort and money. Even more money if you hire a professional to help you. You can begin the staging process by packing all personal items. Next, make the rooms appear larger and more spacious by removing any excess furniture. Living in a staged home can also take some adjusting. You will be living in a decorated space that must look picture perfect on a moment’s notice. This can be especially difficult for families with children and/or pets. The alternative is staging your house and moving out. But you will still have to leave key furniture pieces in place or rent furniture for the duration of the sale.

 

Cons of Leaving Empty

Unlike a staged home, a vacant just doesn’t provide that warm, fuzzy feeling that potential buyers crave. Less than perfect quality including scratched floors or stained carpet tend to stand out more in an empty space. Potential buyers may also make offers below the asking price or market value. They might think that you will take a lower offer because the owner is no longer living there and would like to sell sooner than later. A vacant house might sell slower and at a lower price.

To HOA or Not to HOA?

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To HOA or Not to HOA?

Homeowners associations (HOA) are essentially small governing bodies over a particular neighborhood or community. Usually, HOA are found in single-family developments, condominiums, townhouses, gated communities, leased-land properties and even some subdivisions.

The HOA board consists of homeowners in the development or complex. This governing body establishes the rules and regulations that members adhere to along with the amount of dues or fees to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually.

Although membership in the HOA is mandatory, there are many positives and negatives that go along with community living. Whether an HOA will make you smile or scowl, depends on individual personalities, preferences and lifestyles.

HOA Benefits:

  • An HOA offers low maintenance. Usually, trash, snow removal and landscaping services are handled by the association and included in the dues. This means less work for the home owner.
  • Many appreciate that the HOA regulates community appearance. Ensuring that your neighborhood will look good. Everyone must meet certain standards, which means no unkempt lawns or peeling paint.
  • Access to amenities including pools, fitness centers, parks and security gates all add to the appeal of an HOA.
  • Having a disagreement with your neighbor? No problem, third party management provides you with a built in mediator. You can easily take your grievances about next doors barking dog to the HOA board.
  • Everyone shares the maintenance costs. Maintenance of common areas, snow and trash removal, of the pool and other areas are shared responsibilities covered by the dues.
  • Living in an HOA reduces your responsibilities. Along with handling landscape, trash and snow removal, HOA sometimes carry insurance on the properties and cover roofing and other costs.

HOA Challenges:

  • Naturally, the fees required by some associations turn people off. Although HOA dues vary, they can be in the hundreds per month. Make sure and budget not only for your mortgage payment, but the dues as well.
  • HOA rules, restrictions and dictations somewhat ties your hands. Some HOA have restrictions regarding paint colors and any additions or changes you want to make to the property must be approved by the board.
  • You could be hampered by the HOA financial woes. This means that an HOA facing financial problems or a lawsuit could hurt the sale prices of homes and the community and effect your ability to obtain a loan.
  • You might lose some of your freedom. Just as your hands could be tied, you will have to follow the rules and regulations of the HOA no matter how ridiculous you might think they are.
  • Surprise – they can spring assessments on you! The HOA board can decide to impose special assessments when needed for improvements or repairs.
  • They can limit your ability to rent. In order to get a loan for a property in the community the owner to renter ratio must be retained. Different lenders and HOA have differing standards, but these communities prefer that renters live somewhere else.
  • They can foreclose on your home if you get behind on your dues and assessments. This is usually a last resort. However, it can be done.

Making a decision:

First, weigh the pros and cons against your own lifestyle choices. Then, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the rules of the HOA before you buy to avoid surprises. Finally, you may find that HOA living can be equally satisfying and then again, you may find that it’s not for you.