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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thermostat
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Rainmaker
795,068
David Spencer
Chicago Area Commercial-Residential R.E.
Keller Williams Team Realty

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.

February 16, 2008 03:38 PM
Rainer
3,079
Wendy Torres
CENTURY 21 Mulvey Real Estate
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.  
February 16, 2008 03:40 PM
Rainmaker
211,706
Maria Couto
Realtor with "Results That "MOVE" You'
RE/MAX Premier
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.
February 16, 2008 03:46 PM
Rainmaker
345,460
Debbie Malone
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369
Londeree's Real Estate & Prop. Mgt
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.
February 16, 2008 03:48 PM
Anonymous #7
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!
February 16, 2008 03:53 PM
Rainmaker
124,553
James Lockard
Realtor, Allendale, NJ
RE/MAX Properties - Saddle River
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! 
February 16, 2008 03:54 PM
Ambassador
1,457,136
Michael Thornton
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
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!
February 16, 2008 03:56 PM
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
Elite Realty Plus, LLC

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.

February 16, 2008 03:56 PM
Rainer
29,385
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc.

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!

 

February 16, 2008 03:58 PM
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
Elite Realty Plus, LLC
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
February 16, 2008 04:00 PM
Anonymous #13
Anonymous
Anonymous
I totally agree...all year round.
February 16, 2008 04:06 PM
Rainmaker
45,154
Michael Creel
InActive Agent

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

February 16, 2008 04:25 PM
Ambassador
2,368,123
Patricia Kennedy
For Your Home in the Capital
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.
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!  
February 16, 2008 06:07 PM
Rainmaker
419,861
Jim Patton
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.
Century 21 M&M - 209-633-2839
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.
March 09, 2008 11:49 PM
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
Elite Realty Plus, LLC
I wonder if any REO's have had an ice rink in their basement???
March 10, 2008 01:33 PM
Rainer
143,777
Gary J. Rocks
Werner Realty

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.

March 10, 2008 04:46 PM
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
Elite Realty Plus, LLC
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.
March 12, 2008 07:05 AM
Rainer
66,710
Darleen McCullen
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.
April 09, 2008 09:23 PM
Rainer
4,968
Shannon Whitley
RE/MAX OAK CREST REALTY
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.........
April 10, 2008 08:20 AM
Anonymous #23
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.

November 22, 2008 01:41 AM
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Rainer
23,804

Kenny Franklin

ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
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