Vacant Listing? Renting Furniture: A Tale of 3 Houses

Vacant listing? Chances are you’re curious… and opinionated about the prospect of renting furniture.

Certainly appropriate for some situations, but this Westchester County Home Stager counsels not to consider renting furniture a starting point, a guaranteed fix, or licence to list high.

Instead, carefully consider seller circumstances, goals and expectations, align with market and pricing strategy.

Last week I had several vacant property consults, here’s the tale of 3 houses:

House A: 3800 SF 5 BR Colonial, total renovation, affluent Westchester community. Beautiful finishes throughout as the builder made many thoughtful, quality upgrades. Good landscaping, nice back patio, it will be listed just south of $2M.  Did not recommend rental furniture.

  • WHY:  It was a familiar floor plan, and buyers would know what they are looking at. The rooms read as warm and inviting with color on the walls and detailed trimwork. Seller and agent agreed price was competitive for this in-demand neighborhood.
  • WHAT WE DID INSTEAD:  Each BR was painted a different color, so that empty, it’d be clear in photos they were 5 different rooms.  All 4.5 of the BAs  were staged: Lots of fluffy towels and a few other cool touches, but different looks. Again, to ‘register’ in photos, and draw buyers through entire space in person.

House B: 1700 sf  4 BR Cape in a popular Rivertown. An estate sale, heirs cleared out, painted, re-did floors and had all systems/appliances serviced. House was clean, pristine and in good repair. K and BAs were dated, but in good shape.  Seller wondered about doing further updates, and renting vs using existing furniture.  Recommended no more updates, and rental furniture as Plan B.

  • WHY:  Pricing was slightly optimistic, but this was an in-demand starter house in this market. Any work beyond paint in K or BAs would have delayed listing, took money out of estate while narrowing buyer pool, as price would have been higher to justify updates. Removing the bouncy floral draperies, matching sofa and overly carved wing chairs, rest of pieces read better in newly brightened space.
  • WHAT WE DID INSTEAD:  We used existing mattresses/boxsprings in smallest 3 BRs; heirs purchased new BR/BA linens they liked and would use after sale. We used existing DR and some simple LR furniture, and also staged the K and BAs, and left it that if indicated, rental furniture could be gotten in less than a week.

House C: At 1100 sf, 2BR and 3 BA house was a first flip, and had been gut remodeled very nicely. Open floor plan, but footprint was odd, no room had a set of parallel walls! Priced well, and lots of traffic, but no offers in 2 weeks. I recommended *bringing*  furniture in.

  • WHY:  Flipper did everything right, but this was a tough house. Neighborhood had a lot going for it, but buyers couldn’t see where furniture went, or what would fit, and were passing. Seller had another project in the wings, and wanted to move on.
  • WHAT WE DID INSTEAD: A first-time flipper with other projects lined up, I first suggested BUYING the basic pieces. No contract, and he’d use these things next go-round. Initially he passed, wanting to rent instead. But he quickly re-thought this, then used my floor plans and rental quote as a shopping list.

Renting furniture is an option, but it’s a commitment. And taking real money out of your pocket is different from adjusting a number on paper. Vacant property, under-performing listing?  Talk to The Refreshed Home today about evaluating, and all options for getting it noticed, and SOLD! 

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