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Vacant House Problems And How To Avoid Them

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Vacant House Problems And How To Avoid Them

vacant house problems

vacant house problems

My wife and I work with home owners of many types. Some home owners have the most gorgeous and well kept homes. Others have years of deferred maintenance. No matter the situation, we know exactly what to do to get you the most amount of money and meet your goals. However, nothing compares to the issues we have to overcome when facing vacant house problems.

We get the appeal to leaving a house vacant, houses in Snohomish and King counties have been appreciating in value steadily since 2012. When you don’t want to spend the energy dealing with tenants, it almost makes sense to keep a house vacant as a retirement plan. Maybe you don’t have a mortgage and you own the house free-and-clear and you are saving the equity appreciation for your family when you’re able to pass on the property. After all, the appreciation we’ve seen destroys that seen on average in the stock market!

Zillow – Average home value over timed

The Trap

Don’t fall into this trap. This reliance on appreciation ignores one very important variable. Let’s look at the three main things that make up a home’s value and see if you can identify the issue:

  1. Size (bedrooms, bathrooms, area, lot size)
  2. Location (city, neighborhood, schools, nearby activities)
  3. Condition (age of the roof, datedness, live-ability)

Home size and location won’t change over time. However, home condition is constantly changing. Houses are meant to be lived in because people notice these issues and care for them before they get out of hand. Vacant house problems can turn your home into a depreciating asset even when the rest of the homes in the area are appreciating.

Here are common vacant house problems that cause the most damage to your house value:

Biggest Vacant House Problems

Here are some of the biggest issues we’ve personally seen with vacant houses in Washington. Keep in mind, insurance often doesn’t cover vacant houses, so fixing any of these come directly out of your pocket.

Squatters: squatters are generally homeless individuals who seek out and take refuge in vacant homes. They don’t care about the condition of the home since they are used to living on the streets and will do things like defecate inside, burn parts of the house to stay warm, hide drugs in the walls, etc. Squatters are house enemy number one. Call us immediately if you have this problem and we can help.

Plumbing Issues: when people live in houses, they like to keep them above freezing temperatures and notice major leaks, which are more common than you may think. When temperatures drop to freezing, or when water sits dormant in old pipes, those pipes rupture. The water then has an exit and will continue to flood into the house. This can easily cut a home value to 10%.

Time: Time is another enemy of vacant houses. Your wallpaper and wood panelling that was so popular when you left the house 40 years ago is now an eyesore. That green carpet is unwelcoming. Those rusty light fixtures cause guests to flee. Your home that may be perfectly livable is now considered a “full-rehab”. In order for it to maintain its worth, it would need to be stripped and updated.

vacant house problems flood
Vacant house flooding

The Solution

It’s easy, don’t let your house sit vacant. Houses are always going to appreciate long term as long as they are cared for. Your real estate can be your most profitable investment if cared for, but can also be your biggest loss if ignored. If you have a vacant house, contact us today and we will give you free advice on what you can do to avoid all of these vacant house problems.

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