Selling Furnished Vacation Rentals

Photo of dishes left in the vaation rental

Lincoln County is a very diverse area and there are different types properties  for sale on the market. When an owner has a home that has been a vacation rental, they usually want to sell it “turn key” which includes the furniture.

The debate is: should a seller price the home to sell furnished or unfurnished with an option to purchase the furniture outside of escrow? If the property comes furnished will it include everything currently  in the house so that “what you see is what you get”? If not, I recommend the removal of personal items and any art work that is not staying so a buyer doesn’t get fixated on something that won’t be included in the sale. That can be complicated if the property is still being rented because some of those items are needed to facilitate the guests. There is also the debate on how to determine the dollar amount and value of the furniture. Used furniture isn’t worth a lot, and if a seller doesn’t always want to move it to storage, sell or donate it because that can  be a hassle should be considered in the price. Another issue is that if the house is sold  furnished,  and buyer’s are getting a loan, lenders won’t finance personal property so there can be no stated value for the furniture can not be included in the purchase agreement. The furniture should be sold with a Bill of Sale. Sometimes the buyer’s have their own furniture and don’t want anything. If the furniture is included in the price, then there will be a gap of perceived value.

The next issue is how to document what stays in the home and how do you create an inventory.  Some buyers are very detail oriented and want to know how exactly many towels, sheets, blankets, knives, forks, spoons, etc.  If it is my listing  I provide the buyer’s and their broker access to the property and they can count and  fill out the desired  spreadsheet. The way I document inventory for buyers and seller’s is through photos and a quick video walking through the house to show the buyer what they are buying and hopefully it is the same as when they made the offer. I also open every cupboard and take a still shots of them. I upload that into Drop Box, and send a link. The WYSIWYG, or “what you see is what you get” is now provided to the prospective buyer.

If negotiating furniture outside of escrow, I strongly recommend NO discussion of price takes place until there is a signed contract, inspections are complete, all contingencies are removed (except financing) and the furniture price is the last item to be negotiated.  At that time I prefer to  exchange phone numbers with the seller and buyer so they can hash it out and do all the negotiating. I hate negotiating furniture in lieu of repairs because it rarely ends well, and I don’t like going  back and forth over a couple hundred dollars on bar stools or any other furniture item. Negotiating furniture requires  the listing broker contacting the buyer’s broker, then the buyer is contacted and the buyer’s broker then gets back to the listing broker and the listing broker gets back to the sellers, etc.   It’s sort of like that old childhood game of “Telephone”, something is always lost in the transmission of information and the game of telephone tag becomes a new rule and part of that old game. I like to sell real estate, not furniture.

I have been very successful selling vacation rentals by following these guidelines.  Do you have a vacation home you want to sell, or buy?  Then give me a call.