proposition for the buyer. As we will see, this is “staging” a house for the market. The advantages of vacating the house before starting the home marketing and sales process include presenting a better staging opportunity, more frequent showings, easier upkeep to curb appeal and a pristine interior, and less burden on the seller’s time and effort. The other situation is where the home is unoccupied — no one lives there and perhaps no one has lived there for some time. Maybe you were left the house, assumed it for a debt, or decided it was an investment that did not work out. Sometimes vacancies are due to a bank foreclosure or short sale in which the lender accepts less than the mortgage balance. It is these bank-owned properties, sometimes called “real estate-owned,” or REOs, that tend to be “problem homes” in maintenance and sales. A house that’s been vacant may look like a bargain, but buyers should be cautious because expensive problems can exist inside homes that have been unoccupied. While vacating the home during the time it is on the market can be a distinct advantage to the seller, that is not the case with all vacant property. That’s the purpose of this book — to educate the reader on the issues involved in selling a vacant residential property.
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