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I know it's an expense...but

Showing vacant homes this time of year can be a challenge in many areas. Here in Maryland, the temperatures outside have been in the mid to high 90's the last couple of days. I've shown two houses where the air conditioning was turned off...not just down, but off.

Yes, it does cost money to cool a house where you're not living, I get that. What you need to think about though, is the buyers and agents who are showing your house. I'm not even talking about their comfort. If it was just that, I wouldn't have the A/C on either.

Based on my experience, and I'm sure the experience of many other Realtors, buyers spend less time in a house if they're not comfortable. It may be the greatest house in the world, but they're focusing on getting out, not sticking around.

Besides the uncomfortable factor, did you know that the air conditioning system removes a lot of water from the house this time of year. Without it, you could be doing damage, as well as letting odors come to the front, that wouldn't be there in a cooler environment.

Be reasonable, you don't have to cool it to the 60's. I'm guessing that the mid to high 70's is probably going to be adequate.

It's about making your home selling environment as pleasant as possible...even if you have to spend a few bucks.

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 Richard Iarossi is a full time licensed REALTOR®, working in Crofton, MD. My coverage areas are: Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Howard, Calvert, Queen Anne, and Baltimore City and County. I specialize in residential real estate, working with both buyers and sellers. Use the registration free search on my website at www.RichSellsHomes.com. If you’re not already working with a REALTOR®...I can help. Call me at 443-995-9595 (Cell) or 410-451-6255 (Office).

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Comment balloon 70 commentsRichard Iarossi • July 09 2014 04:45AM

Comments

This is something I'm always telling sellers in a hot climate, like Charlotte--if you don't keep your home's temperature comfortable buyers won't stay and look at it. (Same in winter when it's cold.) The extra energy costs are more than compensated for by a quicker sale. Besides, if you turn off the A/C and then need to crank it up to cool a lot of space quickly, you waste way more energy.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) over 3 years ago

NINA: I couldn't agree more. I'm positive buyers spend less time in a hot house.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 3 years ago

You are so right, both on the comfort factor and the smell factor.  If you're going to sell, make your house presentable.  - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 3 years ago

Videos, on demand open houses always have comfortable temperature settings. Day or night, save the gas, forget the AC and make sure to have lots of video open house for the buyer's tight schedule to tour. Open those front doors and don't keep your listing locked, a tease to access with delay, frustration. Strike while the iron is red hot.

Posted by Andrew Mooers, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 3 years ago

With temps in the 90s...I get to showings early and turn down the AC.....and open the shades/blinds...having the property cool allows prospect to stay longer and view it in comfort!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 3 years ago

Good morning Rich. You couldn't have said this any better. It is a really important consideration. Suggested.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 3 years ago

Good morning Richard. On all the homes we are flipping, we have fans running to do the best we can with theses temperatures.

Thank you for commenting on my post.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 3 years ago

Rich, you hit the nail on the head with this one...Listing one, taking pictures and measuring rooms, can be a bear this time of year also...Enjoy your day.

Posted by Ernie Steele, Lebanon, PA Real Estate 717-273-3774 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty) over 3 years ago

Vacant, non heated or cooled houses get stale air and are very uncomfortable to show. It makes the potential buyer wonder if the HVAC bills are outrageous too.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 3 years ago

Rich, First impressions are important! No AC in the summer or heat in the winter conveys a negative subliminal message to the Buyer; I'm not going to be comfortable here! MOVE ON!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Professionals.) over 3 years ago

Rich, I've shown homes in winter with my feet freezing and teeth chattering, and homes in summer with my shirt saturating with sweat.  With either extreme, the buyers lose interest fast. 

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 3 years ago

Richard

Turning off the air conditioning off in vancant homes this of year is a big NO - NO.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 3 years ago

Pricing can be a touchy subject if people don't value what you do. It's tricky.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 3 years ago

Richard, not only do buyers leave the houses more quickly, they often assume there is something wrong with the HVAC. Not a good combination to sell a home.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 3 years ago

Hi Richard,

109 here today in Mesquite NV. We get 3 months of that!  We leave the inside Temps at about 84, feels cool coming out of that heat.  A homeowner can void their builders warranty if they leave the AC set lower than 85. Bad for grout, cabinets, etc - and furniture.  If the house is vacant for long, we leave 5 gallon buckets of water sitting around to add humidity. 

 

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 3 years ago

When showing homes in the summer, it's best to blast the AC! One tip I picked up from a knowledgeable broker, for open houses in the summer, turn the AC down to 68, and wear a jacket.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 3 years ago

Absolutely right on with this post...if the house is not comfortable, buyers will NOT stay in it as long and will be more focused on their own discomfort.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 3 years ago

I'm not fond of air conditioned homes.  I like warmth. 

What I don't find helpful is homes that are not warmed to ad least the 60s in the cold winter months. 

That sends buyers and this agent OUT.

If possible, get to the home early and activate the heat or cooling.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Richard, if the AC is off for any period of time in FL, there's a very high likelihood of some mold developing.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 3 years ago

There's nothing worse than walking into a stifling hot house and not being able to stand walking through the rest of it. 

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 3 years ago

It's hot in the summer time in Texas and having a cool house to show in the middle of all this heat is a plus.

Posted by Raul Rodriguez, Looking out for the client's interest and not my p (Covenant Partners Realty) over 3 years ago

Penny wise pound foolish.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 3 years ago

I've experienced the same thing Rich.  Buyers don't want to spend any time in a home that's uncomfortable.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 3 years ago

To paraphrase, sellers only get one chance to make a good first impression.  Having said that, some agents forget to turn lights off, leave cards, or lock doors.  Common sense and courtesy should be used in vacant homes as well as in occupied ones.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 3 years ago

So true, I hate the heat and would be itching to get back to my car!

Posted by Corinne Guest, Managing Broker, The Choice of Professionals (Barrington Realty Company) over 3 years ago

I am a supporter of creating environment that is conducive to whatever is taking place

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 3 years ago

While I'm also not a huge air conditioning fan, summertime heat waves can make it challenging to show vacant homes.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Broker Associate, Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!") over 3 years ago

Buyers are not happy buyers when they are hot and sticky! I agree with you!  Make the home comfortable, it doesn't have to be cold in the summer or hot inside in the winter, just comfortable.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 3 years ago

The humidity in Kansas can top 80% and averages 88% in the mornings to 44% in the afternoons during the summer.  Humidity that gets trapped in the home can cause a lot of issues.  We recommend to our clients who have homes they are not living in to leave the a/c set in the low to mid 80s just to keep the humidity out.

Posted by Suzie Townley, Relaxed Professionalism (Diamond Partners, Inc) over 3 years ago

Here in Florida if you leave the A/C off you are asking for trouble. Was in a house a few days ago and the temp inside was 96. This is like asking for a mold issue.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 3 years ago

Richard- If you were in Florida, it would be unthinkable.  Buyers can't focus on the property if they're about to pass out from heat exhaustion.  And you brought up a great point... if the ac is left off, the home is going to a musty and maybe a moldy smell. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 3 years ago

This is a situation of penny-smart & pound-foolish.

While they save $50/month on A/C, they are paying $150 on HOA dues + the mortgage.

If the buyer doesn't want to cool/heat an empty house - makes sense to get the list price right and get it SOLD - then they won't have any bills to worry about!

Posted by Richard Arnold, Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix (Keller Williams Realty East Valley) over 3 years ago

Turning it off give the feeling of the house being abandoned and perhaps other things don't work either.

 

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) over 3 years ago

Richard, so true. I have a vacant listing and I need to keep it cool for potential showing .

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (eXp Realty) over 3 years ago

Rich, excellent post. Buyers are not likely to stay long when it's stifling hot inside. The money spent on keeping the AC on will be minor as compared to the house sitting for months because buyers can't stand to be inside.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Your Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Agent (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) over 3 years ago

Point well made Richard and I am in total agreement with you.

Posted by Richard and Beth Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 3 years ago

It's funny.  I started reading and my first thought went somewhere else completely.  In Utah we have temperatures to the extreme both directions.  If the heat isn't on during the winter the house must be winterized to prevent pipes from freezing.  In the summer it's not unusual to walk into a house that is 90+ inside.  

 

Here's my first though though.  Once the temperature inside rises, any smells at all are amplified.  Pet smells, old food odor (think Korean food inside a 90 degree room that's been closed tight for a week) and even just that musty old house smell.  The comfort is one thing - what the heat inside a closed house does to smells is even worse in my opinion.  Jim

Posted by Jim Beitz (Keller Williams Success Realty) over 3 years ago

We have the same situation in Phoenix in the summer. No one wants to view a  home with the a/c turned off. If you want to sell your home in the summer, keep the a/c on!

Posted by John & Shannon Cox, THE COX TEAM (CALL REALTY) over 3 years ago

oh...my...90 degrees and a little higher...What will we ever do ;-)

 

Sorry Richard, I could not resist poking a little fun. We have been "blessed" with a beautifully mild summer of mid 90's temps!

 

Of course, check back with me next winter when the temps frop to the 30's and I am whining about the fact that I am FREEZING :-O

It's all a metter of perspective I guess!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 3 years ago

I've been selling HUD Homes for many years, the AC is not on. Also, we are in Arizona! This is an advice that I'll share with my home seller clients! 

Posted by David Rod, Over 6,000 homes sold in 27 years! over 3 years ago

Richard last Saturday I was showing some high end condos and was flabergasted that the AC was turned off on a 110 degree day in Phoenix. We couldn't get out of their fast enough. I came home with such a headache due to the heated condos.  How do sellers think they can sell in the summer in Phoenix with no AC?  That makes no sense to this broker!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS,CRB, Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 3 years ago

Any temperature fluctuations are not good.  It's the same in the late fall and winter months when the temps dive, and the vacant house is c-c-c-c-c-c-cold. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192, Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results (BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time) over 3 years ago

I joke with my sellers here in Arizona that please at least keep it at 90 degrees, at least then they can walk from 115 into 90 degrees and we at least have 10 minutes before they realize how dang hot 90 degrees is. LOL.   You laugh but 90 feels good once the beating sun is off you.   :-)  Then I beg for at least 85.   When I'm with buyers we never want to leave when it is set at 80!    lol

Posted by Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster, A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa (Maricopa Real Estate Co) over 3 years ago

I agree with you.

Here in Valley the temperature outside can be 110+ F. If the A/C is off, it is almost impossible to get in( unless the isolation is very good, or it is the ground level).

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA (Barcode Properties) over 3 years ago

Richard - you have got that!   Most buyers are not looking for a sauna, they are looking for a place to call home.  Heat, odors, must smells etc. are real turnoffs.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 3 years ago

Richard, that has been a pet peeve of mine for years, here in Florida it can be unbearable in a house without AC.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 3 years ago

Even though Sacramento is more temperant in climate than some areas, hot vacant houses can be a real turnoff when it comes to viewing.  Ditto for winter time, and extremely cold ones.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 3 years ago

Another thing to think about is mold.  I was called in some time ago to list a home.  When I reached the basement it was apparent that there was mold.  Upon questioning the seller I found out that the air conditioning had been turned off during the previous very hot humid summer.  This seller had the expense of mold remediation before putting the home on the market.  Would have been cheaper to leave the air on even with a vacant home.

Posted by Pam Dent, REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse (Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc.) over 3 years ago

AC being off in a hot climate is never a good thing.  I am showing a home this afternoon that the listing agent informed me has been vacant with no electric since Novemer.  It is in the 90's here today so this is not a showing I am looking forward to but the buyers love the outside, are pre-approved and ready to buy.  They are aware of the lack of AC for almost 8 months but can't wait to see the home.

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) over 3 years ago

It becomes even more offensive if the house had pets and the discoveries of what the pets left behind is immediate once the door is opened.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 3 years ago

I agree that a higher temperature with AC is better than none at all. Carpet becomes damp smelling & most buyers comment on that.

 

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 3 years ago

Excellent post and agree 100%. Leave the AC on as no one wants to view a home that is so hot when you walk in ... they will walk out immediately.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker) over 3 years ago

In Georgia, I recommend AC set at max 80, and Heat set at min 60 - you can be frugal, but you're still trying to sell a home after all.

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 3 years ago

Richard

It's an excellent point. No one wants to be miserable while touring and if they are they are likely to want to get on with it, unless they really love the home. Similarly you have to consider some heat in the winter (especially when the threat of freezing pipes is there).

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 3 years ago

Great points. The house will not show well if the temperature inside is worse than it is outside! I normally run my air conditioning to remove the humidity from the air and for slight comfort by setting the thermostat at 79.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) over 3 years ago

Excellent post. If the house is hot and stuffy, the buyers and their agents cant wait to get out.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 3 years ago

I have a vacant short sale and my clients can't afford to pay for the utilities. The bank has sent it to auction and are insisting that I do an open house. It's going to be a very long hot three hours!

 

Posted by Shelly Hendry (Keller Williams Realty Cityside) over 3 years ago

Richard - on the flip side of that is cold. In winter, unheated vacant houses feel even colder than the outdoors. People walk in and walk out as fast as they can. Nobody wants to take a leisurely look through a sub-zero house! 

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 3 years ago

Speaking to Shelly, above, I would make it a short open house...maybe 1 hour!

Richard, you are so right about this issue. Buyers will not stay long in a too hot or too cold house. Good advice for sellers in your post.

Posted by Jill Winchel, We make it easy. You make it home. (Royal Shell Real Estate - Koffman & Associates ) over 3 years ago

Rich,

I JUST convinced a Seller of a great vacation home here at the beach to leave the AC on!  Buyers wouldn't even look at the upstair,s as it was too hot downstairs!  It should sell now!

Kathy Opatka

Posted by Kathy Opatka, Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches (RE/MAX CROSSROADS) over 3 years ago

Fortunately, we don't have that challenge in Huntington Beach, CA.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 3 years ago

There is nothing like walking into a cool house on a hot day.  Your right you need to keep it cool.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 3 years ago

You're right, it doesn't have to be cool in the house just get rid of the humidity and it will feel much cooler when you walk in. Setting the thermostat a little higher should help keep the cost down.

Posted by Steven Murray, Broker, SRES® IRES SRS Toronto Real Estate Board, Your Durham Region Real Estate Broker (COLDWELL BANKER R.M.R., Brokerage) over 3 years ago

So true, if a buyer doesn't stay long, they certainly won't appreciate what the home has to offer decreasing the likeliehood of an offer.  Keep the thermostat comfortable and the lights on.  The faster sale will offset the added utility costs.  Turn off the AC once you are under contract.

Posted by Raymond Edler, #1 Real Estate Office in DFW (Keller Williams Realty Dallas Fort Worth 214-552-2091) over 3 years ago

Richard, this is a good point.  In Dallas, the AC needs to be on and set to a comfortable temperature.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 3 years ago

AMEN, Richard.  I always have, in my staging agreement contract, that the air MUST be running ( a comfortable,moderate setting) when I'm there staging AND (if vacant) when my staging props are in the house, so the items won't get mold, mildew, etc.  This is SO important for the Homeowner to know and be willing to keep the air on (air conditioning in the summer months and heating in the winter) to protect the house and the staging props (if applies.)

Posted by Virginia Youngblood, DO-STAGE! LLC - Home Stager - ASPM® (DO-STAGE! LLC - an ASPM® Home Staging Company) over 3 years ago

In Florida, if you don't have the air on, you are asking for a mold buildup problem.  I saw one person comment that they are showing a home where the electric has been off since November in Florida.  I can almost guarantee it will have some kind of mold problem, come inspection time.

I have one listing that is a short sale and the seller has the electric on, but doesn't have the A/C running.  It is close to me, so I go by there every couple of days and run the air for 2-3 hours to get the humidity out, so mold doesn't accumulate.  I have another listing where the thermostat was set at 82 and the buyers made an offer, but required the air set to 79 until closing, so no mold set in.  In Florida's heat, it can be set at 82 and it will run enough to keep the mold out, but we reduced it anyway to get the sale.

Posted by Deleted Account over 3 years ago

You want buyers to focus on the house, not how hot it is--stuffy air when no a/c on!  Makes it very uncomfortabl

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 3 years ago

Richard-Some sellers do not appreciate or understand how the dollars spent on air conditioning in summer or heat in winter can help get the home sold faster, for the reasons you mentioned.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 3 years ago

I advise my sellers to make it an AC oasis in mid-summer.  Potential buyers will hang out forever in your nicely cooled home. :)  NC summers are no joke...

Posted by Dawn Brenengen, Sales and Management (Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty) over 3 years ago

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