Home » Blog » Top 5 Risks of Owning Vacant Property & How to Reduce Them

Many property owners feel like vacant properties are a thorn in their sides. It’s so much easier to handle a property when someone is living in it. If you find yourself stuck with a vacant property, you want to do everything you can to assure that things run smoothly for as long as that property is your responsibility. Though it may be difficult, it’s important to protect an investment as large as a home.

High Maintenance Costs

High Vacant property Costs

Consider how much you’re paying on the upkeep of your vacant property, including property taxes. If you aren’t making money off of this property, every penny you spend is cost negative. If you were living in the home, these costs would be a part of your living expenses. Since you aren’t, you’re effectively paying for something that you aren’t using.  Nobody likes to feel like they’re leaking money – especially when they work hard for it.

The best way to reduce your negative cashflow is to fill the property. Since you’ll be collecting money in some way, you want to make sure you’re collecting at least enough to make the property cost neutral. Alternatively, you can sell the property to pass the maintenance costs off to the new owner.

The Potential for Vandalism or Intrusion

Property Vandalized

Vandalism can happen anywhere, even in great neighborhoods. If a bunch of rowdy teenagers discover that no one is living in the property, they might feel tempted to whip out some cans of spray paint and get a little creative. Even worse is when rocks fly through windows – that’s much more expensive to fix than repainting vandalized areas.

Intrusion is also possible. If anyone were to break into the home, there are no occupants to dissuade them from doing so or alert the authorities. This can lead to vandalism or damage on the inside of the property, and if you find yourself with a squatter, this is a complicated situation to contend with.

The best way to minimize this risk is to equip the home with better security measures. If the home is connected to electricity, installing a security system (potentially including cameras) and some floodlights will deter vandals and squatters.

Make sure the neighbors know that the property is vacant. If they aren’t aware, they might not be suspicious if they see someone other than you going in and out. They’ll know to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity.

Damage to the Property

Vandalism to Your Vacant Property

What if a pipe bursts and no one notices for a few days? You could wind up with a flood and a significantly damaged property because no one was there to intervene. If a mouse finds its way into a wall and chews up the wrong wire, this can cause an electrical fire that no one will realize until things get out of hand. Things like trees with creaky branches may go unnoticed until the branch actually falls through the roof.

Some damage develops slowly, while other damage develops suddenly. Someone living in the property might notice early enough to prevent damage or to act immediately in the event an emergency pops up. If you’re two towns away, you may not know on time.

Inspect your property regularly. If you aren’t available to do it, send out a trusted individual or a professional to do it on your behalf. Hire a pest control service and a landscaping service to regularly service the property. They’ll keep it clean and spot any potential risks before they become actual damage.

High Insurance Costs

Insurance companies understand all of the risks associated with a vacant property, and they don’t like to take risks. They could wind up paying out a lot of something happens to your home as a result of it being left vacant for an extended period of time. They’re considering things like damage, squatters, and vandals when you ask them to insure your home. That’s why so few homeowner’s insurance companies will insure a vacant home.

If you want to secure insurance on your vacant property, you need to make sure it can no longer be classified as vacant. Every company has different standards, but keeping furniture in the home or having someone spend a full 24 hours there at least once a week should satisfy nearly any insurance company.

Not Being Able to Fill the Property

If the real estate market surrounding the property isn’t great or the vacant property is in bad shape, it might take you a while to find someone to live in the home. Whether you intend on renting it or selling it, having trouble for a lengthy period is not a good sign. Maintaining a vacant property is hard work and very expensive, and nobody wants to do it for longer than they need to.

You can aggressively advertise the property with rent that will allow you to break even on your expenses, or you can sell the property at a steep discount. If that doesn’t work, you can either move in, or have a trusted individual move in. If this person at least pays the expenses associated with the home, whether or not they’re paying you rent, you’re better off than you were before.

What if I Can’t Handle my Vacant Property?

SoCal Home Buyers Happy Seller

If you’re fed up with your vacant property, especially if you’re experiencing problems directly associated with that property, there’s always a way to sell. Even when buyers on the traditional market aren’t interested, professional home buyers might be. If you want a quick sale and cash in your pocket, this is the way to go.

Professional home buyers don’t purchase properties the same way a regular buyer would. They aren’t going to live in them. They’ll fix up the property and hold onto it for as long as it takes. They have the money, time, and patience to handle the responsibility. When you sell to SoCal Home Buyers, you’re totally off the hook. Let it be our problem and spend your time doing things you love instead!

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