If you need to sell your house but you don’t have the budget or time for serious remodeling, you can still get a good price. Certain buyers want to buy a fixer-upper, but it’s important to know what to expect when selling a house that needs work. When you’re prepared, you can make the right small updates and use the right strategies to get the best price.
Here's What To Expect When Selling A House That Needs Work
Types of Buyers to Market to
Some homeowners simply want a house that’s new and live-in-ready. Other buyers look for an imperfect home for various reasons. Selling a house that needs work means selling to the latter type of buyers, which includes house flippers, equity builders and starter home buyers. Knowing your ideal home buyer and marketing to them will help you get the best price.
House flippers make a business out of buying fixer-uppers and selling them for a profit. If your house simply has cosmetic defects, you may get low-ball offers from these buyers. However, if your house needs more extensive repairs that are too daunting for inexperienced buyers, house flippers may be your target buyers.
Equity builders see value in a particular neighborhood, and are willing to fix up a house in order to get into the area at a low price. If homes in your surrounding area have recently increased in value dramatically, equity builders will likely make a fair offer on your home.
Starter home buyers may be young couples or singles looking for an affordable home so they can stop sinking money into apartment living. This group also seeks a safe, but less expensive neighborhood, though they may not be up to the same type of home repairs. If the condition and location of your home is in between the needs of house flippers and equity builders, aim for starter home buyers.
Common Buyer Critiques
When selling a house that needs work it depends on how much work the house really needs. Some homes need a new roof and carpets. Some need new plumbing and electrical wiring. Some simply have a lot of cosmetic defects. Whatever work your home requires, you can expect prospective homeowners to point it out. If you’re sensitive about your home, it might be best to be out of the house during buyer visits.
Some criticism comes in the form of low-ball offers. Don’t be surprised if buyers offer you substantially less than what the home is worth. If you feel your home price is fair, stay firm. In a seller’s market you have an advantage, even when selling a house that needs work.
Cosmetic Repairs to Consider
When selling a house that needs work, it’s absolutely essential to avoid losing money on home renovations. This means you should only make updates that will yield noticeable and immediate returns, and only make repairs that are within your budget. Start with the easiest and least expensive DIY home projects, like painting walls, steam-cleaning carpets, cleaning windows, and getting rid of dated elements like busy wallpaper, wood paneling, and heavy curtains. If you’re staging your home, try modern home design trends to show your home’s potential as a chic and modern space.
If you have more time but a modest budget, remember that interest from some home equity loans and some home updates are tax deductible.
When selling a home that is comparable to your neighbors’, the price point is also comparable. But if you’re selling a house that needs work and doesn’t have the updated fixtures your neighbors do, it can be harder to price accurately.
For example, if surrounding homes all have new roofs, you may have to subtract more than the cost of a new roof from the sale price in order to compete. Buyers factor in the hassle and the possibility of unexpected problems into the price. If the prices are comparably the same, most buyers will choose the home with a new roof that’s already installed. Keep this in mind, as the right price can drastically speed up your home sale.
Focus Curb Appeal
Buyers form their first impression of a home before they ever step through the door. Make this first impression a positive one with attractive curb appeal. If overgrown hedges, trees and dead flower beds surround your home, buyers will immediately think your home is unkempt, and they’ll wonder what other problems have gotten out of hand on the inside.
Remove dead plants, trim bushes and trees, keep the yard mowed and leaves raked, and maintain overall neatness to make a positive first impression on buyers.
When selling a house that needs work, cleanliness and minor repairs can go a long way. You don’t have to install new countertops and carpets to make your home look attractive and modern. Fix what problems you can, give your home a very thorough cleaning, and stage your home in a neutral, yet modern way. Buyers looking for a deal will see that they’ve found one in your home, and you may even attract multiple competing offers.
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