Vacant Homes

I want to spend a little time on the sale of vacant homes. As a seller, definitely consider having the home staged. I’m sure we’ve all been in a vacant home before, and there is no getting around the fact that they just feel empty and perhaps a little lonely. That’s not the kind of feeling you want a potential buyer to come away with.

A well-staged home can help the home sell much more quickly, and, perhaps more importantly, can help it sell for a higher price. In short, the cost of staging the home is well worth it, and as always choose a professional. I’ve seen plenty of DIY-type staging, and they are easy to spot. Like most professions, the good stagers have specific training and lots of experience knowing what works and what doesn’t. Contact us at if you’d like to know who we recommend.

If you’re buying a vacant home, there are a few things you need to know concerning potential issues that may arise. Depending on how long the home has been vacant, you should keep an eye out for the following trouble spots.

Plumbing- it is not uncommon for plumbing issues to arise when you move in to a home that has been vacant for more than a couple of months. These may result from seals on PVC plumbing lines that can sometimes dry out and crack without frequent use.

Another potential plumbing issue is with drain lines. Again, without use, sometimes the “P-trap” can dry up, and once you start using the plumbing fixtures on a regular basis after moving in, the sediment at the bottom of the trap can become dislodged and can actually clog up the system.

None of the above issues is cause for alarm as they are typically easy and inexpensive fixes. At HomeTeam, we usually recommend waiting about a week before you put your things under the sinks in bathrooms and the kitchen, and if no leaks are observed after that time, you should be ok.

Any leakage from the exterior (roof, windows, doors, foundation, etc) may have gone unnoticed and unrepaired, so make sure your inspector pays particular attention to these kinds of issues, including any rot or mold.

For homes that have been vacant a year or more, substantial issues may be at hand. The plumbing issues above can certainly become more likely, and sometimes animal intrusion (raccoons living in the attic, for example) is more likely. It’s an odd reality that homes like to be lived in, and the longer a home is unoccupied, the more potential there is for some hidden challenges to rear their heads.

A home inspection will help give you a very good idea of these sorts of problems, but please remember some of the problems may not be present at the time of the inspection and may materialize within the first week or two after you move in.