“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Should we leave furniture in our vacant home?

vacant listing minnetonka lr
“This vacant listing was staged with a sofa from www.homereserve.com, an area rug, a sofa table and dining room table from www.craigslist.com, and indoor/outdoor chairs purchased on clearance!”

Dear Home Staging Expert® – My wife has accepted a job offer across the country. We need to get there fast and will be renting an apartment while our house is on the market 1200 miles away. I have always heard that leaving some furniture behind is a good idea, but if we do that, it will cost us twice as much to move once our home sells. Thoughts?

Josh and Jen – Seattle or Bust

Dear Josh and Jen,

Thank you for the question and congrats to your wife on her new gig! I do think that vacant listings are a little tougher to sell. Whether a fair assessment or not, vacant rooms do tend to look smaller and people often think something must be wrong with a house that’s sitting empty. But simply leaving a few key pieces behind…a sofa, dining set, and bed….along with some artwork to warm up the walls, a few lamps, and a rug or two, would be just enough to give potential buyer’s some perspective on how their furnishings might fit in the space.

However, with a move as far away as yours, I would instead suggest you consider renting a few major furnishings for this purpose, or even investing in them yourself, as it would be far less expensive than paying for two moves. Another option might be to leave some things you might want to replace anyway behind…make sure they are in very good condition…and buy new once you get to Seattle.

On the upside, if you decide to rent from a rental outlet or hire a stager who can stage your property for you while renting you the furniture, you will not have to deal with any of the details yourself. Or if you do buy, you can always donate the furniture to a charitable organization once the house sells and receive a tax credit, or gift it to a friend or family member in need in exchange for keeping an eye on your house while it’s on the market.

Do keep in mind that while vacant furnishings should definitely look the part, they don’t need to be high-end purchases like the kind of furniture you might make a long-term investment in for yourself, so you really can find some great buys out there for much less. For the record, I have purchased enough beautiful furnishings to stage an entire home for less than $1000.00 several times, which is certainly far cheaper than hauling it across the country!

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the house itself should be in great condition, first and foremost. Fresh paint, new/clean carpeting/flooring, great curb appeal, are always a good investment. There is no point in renting and/or buying new furnishings to be plopped down in an all too lived-in setting. Furniture won’t enhance a home that is in desperate need of updates and might even make it look more dated. But when the backdrop is right, a few key pieces can create just the right amount of warmth and perspective to give potential buyers a better sense of the space while keeping the house from feeling abandoned.

Thank you again for the question, hope this helps, and wishing you and yours a wonderful new life in Seattle!

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.

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