The problems associated with selling vacant houses are as follows:

• Vacant houses may signal the prospective buyer that the homeowner is desperate to sell and therefore below market offers may be made.
"I had a listing that had been on the market for over a year vacant with everyone thinking it needed too much updating. Once we moved in a Home manager we got two full price offers in less than 3 weeks.
It really works” Sue Long, with Keller Williams Realty

• Vacant houses can have an inherent security risk, as there is generally no one there to protect the property from vandalism, fire, etc.

• Vacant houses can smell musty over time, causing prospective buyers to develop concerns of mold etc.

• Vacant houses always seem to have an abundance of insects that live and die throughout the property.

• Vacant houses magnify normal problems with a house such as paint color, room size or shape and carpet quality or condition as there is nothing else to focus upon during the showing process.
“We listed a large vacant house that needed some warmth. With all the tile and wood floors, it just didn’t show well. Wonderful Home managers moved in and we got it “Sold” in no time.”
Gloria Mechaley, with ReMax The Woodlands and Spring

• Vacant houses can quickly turn small problems into large problems. For example a small unattended water leak can over time cause significant, costly damage to a property.

• Vacant houses can experience much higher insurance rates, with many insurance companies refusing to cover claims on property that has been sitting vacant for sixty days or more. ”When I was asked to list a $500,000 home, my homeowners had moved to another state leaving only a few pieces of old furniture in the home to make it look occupied, to keep their insurance rates from escalating. We had them move out these things and then moved in Home managers to give it a fresh new look. What a difference, and now we are hoping for a quick sale, as has happened in the past.”
Sandi LaPlant, with Keller Williams Realty

• Vacant houses will still have “holding costs” such as yard and pool maintenance, utility costs for electric, gas and water bills causing significant due stress on a homeowner.
“ We moved a Home manager into a home that has been on the market for more than a year. The homeowner has moved on and is being helped by the Home manager with the holding costs. Now it shows like a “model” in time for the busy market”
Darlene Bonniwell, with The Prudential Gary Greene

Buying a new house is an emotional issue. Showing a vacant house can be over whelming to some Buyers as they can have a difficult time visualizing their furniture in such a vast, vacant expanse.

Enter the Home Manager.

What is a home manager? A Home Manager is an individual or family that, at no cost to the homeowner or the listing Agent, moves into a vacant property for sale with the specific intent to maintain the property as a model home thereby enhancing the possibility that the property will be sold quicker and at a higher price.

The profile of a Home Manager

• A person or persons that do not smoke and has no pets.
• A person or persons who has great furnishings and a flair for decorating.
• A person or persons who will keep the home in “show to sell” condition
• A person or persons who has good credit
• A person or persons who will be willing to show the property at a moments notice
• A person or persons who will pay all of the utilities, yard maintenance, pool care and will maintain the property as if it was theirs.
• A person or persons who will have an insurance policy for $300,000 liability and insurance on their own contents.
• A person or persons who have recently moved into the area and want to live in a neighborhood before buying. They can be persons who are building a house and waiting on its completion.

Home managers are screened by the Home Management company therefore
placing only qualified, credit worthy individuals into a vacant property.

A home manager will move into a vacant property to maintain the property on a day to day basis. They will honor all showings of the property, leaving the home during each scheduled showing. When the property gets a contact on it the home manager will continue living at the property until closing. Upon leaving, the property will be clean and turned over to the new owner. The home manger must have at least fourteen days prior notice before being required to vacate the property.

In summary, statistics will support that houses occupied by a good home manger will sell faster and for more money than a vacant listing. Home management is a “win-win” situation for all concerned. For no cost to the homeowner or the Realtor a vacant property can be managed and shown as a model home!

Lasting Impressions Home Management by connie parsons

Connie is not new to the Home Management business. She has been working in the Houston market for over 11 years, helping Real Estate agents across the city market their listings.
After starting her own company, she has become very active in Real Estate networking and is now serving on the governing board of the Houston Chapter of the Women’s Council Of Realtors as well as being active in others around the city. Lasting Impressions was thought enough of to be asked to write an article for the May 2005 issue of Real Estate Executive Magazine. This publication is distributed to the top producing Real Estate Agents in the greater Houston area.

12 years experience

Serve on the governing boards of both the Houston and Montgomery County Chapters of the Women’s council

Be sure to contact her with any of your marketing needs.


As seen in Real Estate Executive July 2005


The marketing of a vacant listing can and will often be a challenge. The owner has left the marketing problems to the listing agent to deal with. The owner can find himself making two mortgage payments as well as faced with the prospect of maintaining two separate houses. Added to the financial burdens there are the insurance issues. This pressure can be easily transmitted from the homeowner to the listing agent through unreasonable expectations resulting in considerable chaos and many headaches for the listing agent.

With all of the wonderful decorated new homes and beautifully staged used homes that are constantly appearing on the market the pressure continues to grow on the homeowner and the listing to do something creative to get the vacant listing sold quickly. This pressure can often be alleviated through the use of a home manager. When a family walks in to view a possible “new home” they have to be able to picture themselves living and having fun on a day to day basis in this property. When a house is stripped of all of its personality it looses its “life” therefore placing it on the bottom of the list for most buyers. The house has now lost the appeal to buyers looking for their comfort zone in a new community and sometimes a new city.

Allowing the placement of a home manager into vacant listings is an often-misunderstood concept that has been around Houston for quite a number of years. Having a home manager in your vacant listing can be a rewarding experience for all and often times result in getting the vacant listing sold faster with far fewer headaches for the listing agent. A reputable company can place a home manager into a vacant listing and almost immediately replace the “life” into that home. However, having a disreputable home manager move into one of your vacant listings can be a nightmare.

When faced with the need to utilize the home management concept one should start by utilizing a home management company that has a track record is familiar with the area and the market and who places only qualified, experienced home managers. This home management company should be a reputable, insured company.

Before enlisting the services of a home management company, check out the company and ask for references. Make sure that the company is experienced and insured. Make sure that the home manager nominated by the company is the right fit for the property in consideration and that the home managers furnishings will enhance the appearance of the property rather than just “fill the void spaces” of the property. A warm body does not necessarily a home manager make.

In summary, when considering enlisting the services of a home management company, you are urged to complete the following:

· Make sure that the home management company, under consideration, is experienced and reputable in the market area where the listing is located.
· Contact agents and homeowners that have used their services in the past.
· Make sure that the home management company has the proper liability insurance.
· Make sure that the home management company utilizes only experienced mature home managers with furnishings that will enhance the appearance of the property.
· View photos of the furnishings of the proposed home manager.
· Make sure that the home management company researches the credit of its home managers, as well as requires references.

The purpose of a good home management company is to take problems away from an already stressed out homeowner and listing agent and not to add to their problems.

Do a little research on the home management company you choose to entrust your listing before enlisting their services. You will not be sorry!