What temperature is your vacant listing's thermostat set at?

By
Real Estate Agent with Elite Realty Plus, LLC

Not long ago, my real estate partner, Rachel Myrick, and I showed 7 houses in a day. It was chilly outside, wet, muddy, etc. You get the picture. Of the 7, almost half were vacant. One of the vacant houses had the thermostat set to around 58 degrees F. The house was listed for over $500k. It wasn't a short sale or REO. We didn't stay inside the house for long. We were uncomfortably cold. What a shame. It was really a nice house. I believe that if the thermostat was set to at least 68 degrees F we would have stayed longer and the house would of made more of a positive impression on our clients. I don't know why the thermostat was set so low and I didn't ask, but it appears that the home owner was saving pennies over the possible sale of the house.

Again, over the weekend, I went to a home inspection in a vacant house. The old round Honeywell thermostat was all the way to the right. That's about 45 degrees F. It was literally warmer outside than it was inside.

My advice to listing agents is to convince your client to let you keep the thermostat up at a comfortable temperature.

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Rainmaker
837,358
David Spencer
Keller Williams Team Realty - Bloomingdale, IL
Chicago Area Commercial-Residential R.E.

In today's market, 6 months to a year on the market, the depressed price does not leave a seller much leeway in salvaging a profit. One place to save is on the price of heating and lights. There is nothing wrong with raising the temperature while on the premises. You would like to show that the HVAC is in working order anyway.

You can always chastise those agents who have no respect for the property of others.

Feb 16, 2008 03:38 PM #3
Rainer
3,079
Wendy Torres
CENTURY 21 Mulvey Real Estate - Yorktown Heights, NY
Most home sellers don't understand that someone may not buy a house if they don't feel comfortable while they are looking at it. They may get the impression that the house may never be comfortable even after they move in.  
Feb 16, 2008 03:40 PM #4
Rainmaker
220,252
Maria Couto
RE/MAX Premier - Berkeley Heights, NJ
Realtor with "Results That "MOVE" You'
That has happened to me. One home was so cold I called the listing agent. It turned out the heating had malfunctioned. By notifying her she was able to get it taken care and probably saved her seller $$$ by not letting plumbing freeze. Good post.
Feb 16, 2008 03:46 PM #5
Rainmaker
415,456
Debbie Malone
Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management - Lynchburg, VA
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369
Kenny, this happened to me also. Totally renovated home, thermostat set at 40- it was warmer outside and my client didn't want to stay.
Feb 16, 2008 03:48 PM #6
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
I agree with you, Kenny.  I have had similar experiences, and the clients always want to get out of the house as soon as possible!
Feb 16, 2008 03:52 PM #7
Rainmaker
124,553
James Lockard
RE/MAX Properties - Saddle River - Allendale, NJ
Realtor, Allendale, NJ
I agree with below 55 degrees is way to cold. However I can understand the owners reluctance to turn up the heat.   I had a vacant rental home(4 br.s 2.5 baths) for one month in Decemeber. I left the heat on 60 degrees and the heating bill alone was $368.00.  Push it up to 70 degrees and I can imagine the bill being over $500.  That's a few grand over the course of the winter! 
Feb 16, 2008 03:54 PM #8
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Michael Thornton
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297
Right on Kenny. I have inspected several vacant properties that I turn the heat up so that when the clients get there is is comfortable for them. Too many sellers try to save money by turning down the thermostats when it is cold and turning up the thermostats when it is hot. I inspected several properties back last summer when it was in the 100's and the temps inside were unbearable. Thanks for the post!
Feb 16, 2008 03:56 PM #9
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR

Anona - ditto.

Lorrie - now that you mention it... I have been in a house like that.

David - point taken.

Wendy - my point exactly.

Maria - good one. I'd like to think that an agent would call me if they thought something was wrong at one of my listings.

Debbie - I hear ya.

Feb 16, 2008 03:56 PM #10
Rainer
29,435
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO

Wow - I almost wrote on this same topic a few days ago! I'm a human icicle, so when I go into houses that are chilly, I can't get out fast enough. Besides making the buyer physically uncomfortable, a "cold" house is not "warm" emotionally!

 

Feb 16, 2008 03:58 PM #11
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
It appears that I'm getting a lot of responses on this post. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that thinks this way. I don't consider myself cheap. Penny pincher, coupon cutter, etc.... yes. :D
Feb 16, 2008 04:00 PM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
I totally agree...all year round.
Feb 16, 2008 04:06 PM #13
Rainmaker
45,154
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

The better built the home, the colder it can stay inside. Often (if it's vacant and the heat is off) when it gets ice cold and night and warmer in the day, it's like walking into a fridge. Good insulation and quality windows are great at keeping that cold inside. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Feb 16, 2008 04:23 PM #14
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital
Kenny, I don't keep the house I live in that warm!   But you do make a good point.  And it's not just that the place might be frigid - how about burst pipes!  
Feb 16, 2008 06:07 PM #15
Rainmaker
431,290
Jim Patton
Century 21 M&M - 209-633-2839 - Turlock, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.
Kenny - Thats what I like about living in CA. We have been up into the 70's now for a while. Even during the winter here it doesnt get to be anything like you have there. So right now in my REO's I don't have the heaters on.
Mar 09, 2008 11:49 PM #17
Rainer
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Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
I wonder if any REO's have had an ice rink in their basement???
Mar 10, 2008 01:33 PM #18
Rainer
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Gary J. Rocks
Werner Realty - West Milford, NJ

Kenny

Thanks for the information. that's easier said than done! In my neck of the woods most everyone heats with oil and prices are north of $3.00 per gallon that becomes very costly heating a vacant house. The best bet would be to have a programmable thermostat and have it coincide with the timing on your lock box.

Mar 10, 2008 04:46 PM #19
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
Gary - Heating with oil sure is expensive. The owner will just have to weigh the benefits. I just know that my clients don't stay long in a cold house.
Mar 12, 2008 07:05 AM #20
Rainer
66,710
Darleen McCullen
Raleigh, NC
Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate
Kenny ~ I'm with you. If a home is too cold, typically, my clients won't "linger" - even if the REALLY like the home.
Apr 09, 2008 09:23 PM #21
Rainer
4,970
Shannon Whitley
RE/MAX OAK CREST REALTY - Plymouth, IN
RE/MAX OAK CREST REALTY
Kenny I agree, Most vacant homes I look at anymore have the heat set at a cold 55, how can you enjoy a house when you are freezing.........
Apr 10, 2008 08:20 AM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous
KKD

Try being the homeowner of an immaculate house that has had three offers fall through and now on the market 16 months with bills close to $300 last winter monthly just to keep a few potential buyers warm.  We keep the temperature at 62 degrees, 65 degrees when we live there.  Too bad.  Wear a coat.

Nov 22, 2008 01:41 AM #23
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Kenny Franklin

ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
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