Selling a house that needs work as-is is a challenge, but certainly not impossible. What helps when you’re selling a house that’s perhaps less-than-perfect is to research and understand your target market.
Be Realistic About the Situation
If you’re debating whether or not to sell your home as-is, you need to be realistic about your specific situation. A fixer-upper can be a house that’s generally in great shape but needs cosmetic updates to modernize it. On the opposite end of that spectrum, a home may have serious issues. For example, it might have plumbing, electrical, or foundation issues.
You can start by pricing out the repairs to improve your home. You might do some but not all of them before putting your house on the market. By knowing how much needed repairs might cost, you're putting yourself in a better position to know the best way to move forward.
Is it worth your time to make some of the repairs? A real estate agent can help you here. They’re going to be able to assess the needed repairs and give you a better idea of what changes might bring the most value.
Understand Your Potential Pool of Buyers
If you’re selling a house that needs work, you can give yourself an advantage by managing your expectations. Part of that is understanding your pool of potential buyers.
Investors or flippers are one option. A flipper or investor buys a home at a low price, and renovates the property and sells higher. An investor can see through problems and they’re going to focus on potential.
Another pool of possible buyers are people who are looking for a deal. This can be an especially important pool if you’re in a very desirable neighborhood. Someone who’s a deal-hunter might be otherwise priced out of the neighborhood without buying the house that needs work.
Then, there’s a group of buyers who wants a project. They want to buy an existing home and put money into it to make it perfect for them.
Choose the Right Agent
Whether you make some or none of the needed repairs, the best thing you can do for yourself is to work with a great agent.
You want a real estate agent who understands your neighborhood and understands how to market a house that needs work. Not every real estate agent will excel at selling a fixer-upper, but some will specialize in it.
Make Small, Impactful Changes
Maybe you don’t want to spend the money to do a full remodel, but you can make a fixer-upper more marketable with small, less expensive changes.
For example, focus on curb appeal. Maybe you clean up your yard and get rid of clutter. Trim the bushes and limbs, and do some small projects that will give a better first impression. A home with good landscaping can be worth anywhere from 1% to 10% more than a poorly landscaped home.
Cleaning and decluttering inside is also important. Maybe your home isn’t modern, but if it’s clean and feels fresh, that goes a long way.
Other inexpensive repairs or upgrades you could make include recalking, fixing pipes that leak, and patching holes.
Focus on Renovation Loans
Either you or your real estate agent should plant the seeds of renovation loans. Renovation loans mean that the projected costs of a renovation are included in the total loan amount. The advantage for the buyer is that they don’t have to pay for upgrades separately. They can instead get approved for a higher upfront loan amount. Then, they receive that money in phases to cover the costs of renovations.
If you already have your home listed, ask your Realtor if they’ve included any renovation loan language in the listing. It starts buyers thinking in this direction.
Again, selling a fixer-upper is certainly challenging, but it’s also doable.