Do You Own a Vacant Property?

Your property’s grass is overgrown, doors are boarded up, and holding costs—especially taxes—are accumulating because it is unoccupied. While you’re responsible for caring for the property, you may not have the time or capital to conduct upkeep. You’ve likely received notices from HUD, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, and the City’s Vacant Lot Program about the state of your property. If this sounds like you, even though this can be a stressful situation, you’re not alone! The City of Philadelphia reports that there are approximately 40,000 vacant lots, 30,000 of which are privately owned.


If you’re the owner of vacant property in Philadelphia, this article will offer tips on 3 key options:
  1. Rapid Interventions
  2. Selling Your Property (As-Is)
  3. Selling Your Property (Post-Remodel)


A great starting point is to engage in a few rapid interventions to improve your property’s curb appeal. For instance, trim the lawn, improve the landscaping, and apply a fresh coat of paint. These steps will likely cost you a few hundred dollars if done DIY-style and will dramatically enhance the appearance of your property. Also—assuming the utilities have been turned off—consider reactivating the electricity. Keeping the lights on will instantly improve the safety of the property.
Moreover, regardless of whether you choose to sell as-is or conduct repairs, an objective, pre-listing professional home inspection is useful. The inspection findings will provide you clarity on the state of the property and, if you were to proceed with a remodel, what would need to be repaired.


Depending on the circumstances, you could sell the property in its current state, without repairs. On the one hand, you won’t have to worry about the stress of conducting repairs before settlement. On the other, potential buyers will likely presume that the property has serious issues and seek a below-market price. You may want to consider onboarding a real estate agent that can help you conduct a rigorous, in-house CMA and develop a bespoke strategy. This will enable you to understand the market value of your asset, helping you to price it competitively and maximize your return.


Another option is to renovate your property before sale. Some of the factors to keep in mind, when considering a remodel, are the property’s age, size, location, and level of disrepair. You also want to weigh your budget and financing options. Generally, renovated properties tend to rise in value relative to the prices of those in the area. So, if comparable properties in your community are $400,000, your property is valued at $200,000 as-is, and a full repair is estimated at $100,000, you may want to consider investing in your home prior to selling it to maximize your return.
Ultimately, what to do with your vacant property is up to you and we are here to help. Whether you’re interested in selling your property, exhausted by being a landlord, a seasoned investor, or anywhere in between, we look forward to working together!

Disclaimer: The content provided on this page is general consumer information, not legal or regulatory advice. The information above may include links to third-party resources. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this information.