Anytime you come across advice on selling a house, all you hear is about how you should renovate, and bring out your home’s best potential before you list. What do you do, however, if your home is more a fixer-upper than something that you could get ready with a couple of licks of paint and a few rose bushes in the garden?
While it does make sense to renovate before you sell if you can afford it, in truth, it’s far from hard to unload a house that is nowhere near presentable. Many buyers like buying a fixer-upper; hundreds of such homes are sold as-is each year. Some buyers actually do want a house that they can tear down and replace with a modern structure; others want only a basic structure with a strong core. They have their own ideas for what they want their home to look like. They don’t want to have to pay for a home that is painstakingly built to someone else’s plan.
Fixer-uppers are very saleable; you do need to go about such a sale the right way, however.
First, find out if there are ways to finance repairs
While your current financial position may make the idea of spending tens of thousands in repairs seem like a non-starter, sometimes, there are ways that you can come by the money you need. You’ll never know until you apply for a loan under a refinancing deal or a HELOC. While these loans tend to come with expensive interest rates, the upside is that you get to put your home on the market in good condition, and make far more for it than you would lose paying interest. It’s important to sit down and do the math. If it makes financial sense, finding a loan is a good idea.
If you can’t afford to renovate, you should at least ensure that the house is as presentable as you can manage it. Small repairs to take care of annoying problems can go a long way. You want your home to be as good-looking as possible, even if there is considerable damage to be seen. You should give the landscaping a good trim, clean the windows, floors and the bathrooms, and do everything you can to remove any musty odors. Unpleasant smells can make a home very hard to sell.
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Know what features to highlight
Just because your home needs significant work doesn’t mean it doesn’t have attractive features that would fetch top-dollar if properly promoted. It could have natural structural integrity — a great foundation and roof, hardwood floors that are the genuine article and so on. It’s even important to highlight the advantages of the neighborhood. If you look for the right buyer, these features could fetch the price that they deserve. Learning as much as you can about your home is your first step to finding out how to promote it to its best advantage.
Find the right kind of realtor
Every real estate market has a couple of realtors specializing in buying homes that are in poor shape. These businesses fix their purchases up before finding new buyers. While homes sold in this way tend to fetch 10% to 20% less than the market value, contacting one of these specialty real estate concerns can be an easy and efficient way to unload an fixer-upper.
It’s important, however, to make sure that the business that you approach is aboveboard; many fly-by-night operators put out We Buy Houses advertisements, and attempt to take advantage of inexperienced sellers. Find reputable realtors, visit WrenRealtyInc.com or similar reputable agencies in your locality, and ask plenty of questions to avoid getting stuck with a lemon.
Find an all-cash investor by yourself
Directly advertising for all-cash buyers can work out, because it cuts out the middleman. If you’re willing to do the work yourself, you stand to make more out of the deal. You will need to get your home in the best condition you can and advertise in all the right local outlets. If you’re willing to wait a few weeks, you will have several offers. As long as you’re careful about not falling for scam artists, you will come out with as much as 10% more than you would if you used the services of a realtor or agent of some.
Finding a good price for your fixer-upper may not be easy; it isn’t as hard as it may seem, either. If you go in prepared and willing to put in a little work, a fair price isn’t out of reach.
Archie Whitehouse likes to share his knowledge of real estate with an online audience. A family man with 3 kids, he has worked as a realtor for many years.