You’ve decided you want to sell your house. You’re daydreaming about upgrading, or maybe downsizing, when anxiety strikes. You start to look around your home and think of all the projects you never finished (or ever started) and the cloud of doom comes rolling in. Take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world that you’re selling a house that needs repairs.
Buyers in the current market are seeing listings described as ‘turnkey’. Read it again, that does not say turkey. Turnkey, in real estate lingo, means that a property is completely updated, everything is new and all the buyer has to do is move in their couch and dart board to start living comfortably. Buyers also know this convenience comes at a price, almost as much as having a custom home built!
For the majority, the cost outweighs the benefit and these buyers aren’t afraid of a little elbow grease. Enter – your property.
You start by interviewing to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home. The good ones are going to provide you with a CMA, a make-ready analysis, and a marketing plan. A comparative market analysis, or CMA, shows you the neighborhood value and what similar homes have recently sold for. Along with your make-ready plan, your agent will be able to give you an estimate of what price they think you could list your home for.
As you walk them through your home, they’ll put together a list of things they notice. This is a list of repairs the REALTOR® suggests you complete before the home is photographed, goes live and open houses start.
Selling a house that needs repairs may sound overwhelming at first, but a repair could be something as simple as tightening a jiggly door handle. There are things that we become homeowner blind to after living with it for so long. For example: that linen closet door that sticks or the exhaust fan that rattles so much you avoid turning it on.
When preparing your home for sale, the best place to start is to walk through your house as if seeing it for the first time. You can even have a friend do a walk through, as they may see things you don’t. Walk in through the front door, which honestly, most homeowners don’t do, you most likely enter your home through the garage or side door. Flip every switch, open every door, and turn on every faucet. Yes, even patch that hole in the wall that you covered up with the kids artwork. Prepping with the basics will cut down the REALTORS® list and help you not feel overwhelmed.
When we’re talking about a selling a house that needs repairs, this does not mean replacing the roof on a whim. When you list the home, you will fill out a seller’s disclosure which is your chance to tell potential buyers about the condition of the home to the best of your knowledge. This is where you’ll tell them the age of the roof, that the home is not registered in a flood plain and also brag on the property updates you’ve made while living here.
Honesty is the best policy. You don’t want to open yourself up to future legal consequences by leaving out the fact that you’re selling before they complete plans for the new landfill across the street. Also, you don’t want to waste your time accepting an offer, the inspector finding the termites, which they will, and then the buyers backing out. It’s best for everyone involved if you’re just truthful from the start.
Repair vs Remodel
Just as you’re not to go climbing on the roof, don’t go ripping out the bathroom walls either. Repairs don’t mean you have to remodel entirely. Think of repairs as no more than a days work. There are also items that can fall under repairs that are really more freshening up, such as a coat of paint or shampooing the carpets. Repairs and remodels, with a little upfront work, help you avoid the dangers of the We Buy Houses For Cash scams out there.
A Repair: fixing the closet door so it doesn’t come off the tracks
A Remodel: Custom kitchen cabinets
Oh, so you just don’t want to do any repairs at all? That’s an option too, just know that this type of listing often brings in investors, and low-ball offers, instead of traditional buyers paying market price. Listing a house ‘AS-IS’ typically lowers the list price and does not exclude you from disclosing known defects about the property.
Simply repairing the basics, taking care of the yard work and a professional deep cleaning can add thousands to the sale price.
Set a plan
So whether you’re just sprucing up your curb appeal or you’re putting on your Bob Villa tool belt and getting down to business, don’t let selling a house that needs repairs stress you out. Talk to your listing agent and make a plan. Set a timeline, go make some new friends at the home improvement store and sell your house fast for the highest price.