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A Vacant House Is The Most Expensive Home You Will Ever Own
A Vacant House is the Most Expensive Home You’ll Ever Own
You read that right. A common misbelief is that if a home you own is vacant (especially without an existing mortgage) that it doesn’t cost much to hang onto it until you're ready to a) sell it or b) lease it out. This couldn’t be further from the truth and I’ve seen it on so many levels during my time as a full time Realtor.
A few things to consider while you’re holding on to the vacant house are the reoccurring, "no-matter-what payments" such as:
Annual Property Taxes
Liability and/or Property Insurance- if you're not insuring the structure itself, you should at least have liability insurance in case someone gets hurt on your property. Also, most insurance agents will tell you that it's more costly to insure a vacant home than an occupied one.
HOA or Condo fees (if applicable)- Don't forget special assessments from the HOA, or even the County, that can come up.
Gas (if applicable)
Maintenance costs for things like pools, landscaping, & pest control (Don't even ask us how many vacant homes we've gone into with rodent problems...they know when nobody's home!)
Some Additional Food for Thought:
The AC breaks. How long until you know if you’re not consistently checking on your vacant home?
Plain and simple, if you’re living in the home, you know within minutes or a few hours in most cases. However, vacant homes can sometimes sit without A/C for weeks or months.
Do you know what the best environment is for mold to grow in? A humid, vacant home in Florida, with no A/C turned on (We recommend leaving the temperature in your home at 78-80 degrees when it’s vacant to prevent moisture/mold problems).
Another example is a running toilet. This is typically a simple fix, right? Yes, when you hear it running and call a plumber right away. In a vacant home it's likely you'll discover this when the $500 water bill comes in the mail. Same for leaking pipes in the walls (think water damage too), dripping faucets, leaking pools, and more (if the photo above makes you cringe, you might want to call us).
So, the moral of the story is to get somebody living in that house! Whether you rent it or sell it, try not to let it sit too long. Houses get lonely too… and that's when the problems begin.
If you’re in this situation and stuck at a crossroad of what to do, please reach out and pick my brain. I’m an advocate for using real estate as the best investment vehicle possible when it comes to growing your wealth or meeting your investment goals.
So let's chat. What is the best option for you?
Danielle Lower is a Senior Listing Specialist at the Sandy Hartmann Group and has listed well over 100 homes with the team since joining in 2016. She prides herself on her excellent attention to detai....
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