What to Know About Selling a Vacant House in New Jersey
“I’m considering selling a vacant house in NJ. Is this a good idea?”
If you are a homeowner or a landlord, you have likely experienced this: your home has just become vacant. This time, you’re ready to sell. In a perfect world, you would move the property within a month or two. But, in reality, the process may take some time.
Here are the questions you must ask yourself:
1) What are the pros and cons of selling a vacant house?
2) What can you do to protect yourself while selling a vacant house?
Benefits to Selling Vacant Homes
While there is no shortage of risks when selling a vacant home, let’s start with the good news… shall we?
- Flexible Scheduling – A vacant home can be shown any day, any time. There is no need to work with a tenant on finding a “good time.”
- More Enticing for Real Estate Agents – People usually take the path of least resistance, and real estate agents are no different. When looking for homes to show, it is easier for them to show the vacant homes first.
- Current Condition is Current Condition – With a vacant home, you don’t run the risk of showing up to find a messy kitchen or mess in the yard (provided you’ve been maintaining the property). Keeping a home immaculate while residing there is a difficult task, and vacant homes leave less to chance.
Risks to Selling Vacant Homes
Selling a vacant house does present several risks that should be considered, however:
- Risk of Vandalism and Theft: Vacant homes attract trespassers and thieves. Without security measures in place, these homes can be an easy target.
- Risk of Trespassing or Squatting: The longer an unwanted guest squats on the vacant property, the more difficult the process of removing them from the property will be. Check on the house regularly!
- Weather – With no one to keep an eye out for trouble, weather issues (rain, wind, lightning) can cause severe damage to a vacant home. Make sure to keep the electricity on and the thermostat running, and keep outside items secured. Winterization may be a prudent decision to avoid frozen pipes during cold winter months.
- Water or Fire Damage – One of the greatest risks in selling vacant homes is the potential of a water leak from an air conditioner or other utility. If this is not caught early, mold can become a huge liability.
- Unknown Utility/Mechanical Function – Without the house occupied, it’s easy to lose track of what works and what doesn’t. Whether it’s appliances or mechanical systems, check the status periodically.
- Holding Costs – Holding onto a vacant house means that you are responsible for the holding costs (mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and insurance). New Jersey’s property taxes ranged from $1,277-$31,415 in 2017, and local municipalities estimate that the cost for water, trash, and sewer will be about 4% per year.
Tips for Success
So what can you do to be successful at selling a vacant house?
- Find Local “Watchdogs” (alert local law enforcement and ask neighbors for help)
- Stay Safe (avoid open houses, install a security system, secure all openings)
- Keep Up Appearances (maintain curb appeal, stage the house with furniture, keep the lights on occasionally)
- Maintain a Reasonable Temperature (keep the thermostat running to avoid unnecessary damage to the property)
- Find A Buyer! (make your problem someone else’s problem)
If you’re sitting on a vacant house in New Jersey and are looking to rid yourself of this headache, call us today!
Start selling your vacant house in NJ with a call or by filling out our quick form.
We’d be happy to provide a fast, no-obligation cash offer to buy your house quickly. If that’s not an option for you, we’re happy to answer any questions we can!