As anyone who’s ever sold a house knows, one of the most time-consuming and expensive parts of the process is getting the house “ready” for sale. Selling a house that needs work can be a daunting task.
Even in a seller’s market, buyers are looking for a home that looks immaculate, presents good flow, and has excellent curb appeal. Those are just the cosmetic aspects. There’s a lot more headache and financial stress added if your home is outdated or in need of repair.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the best practices of selling a house that needs work if you choose to go the traditional route of listing with a real estate agent. That said, the team at Gary Buys Houses based in Little Rock specializes in buying houses that need work in as-is condition.
Even if your house needs extensive repair or is a fixer-upper, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Gary buys houses that range from minor repairs to those considered in poor condition as a cash buyer. We’ll show you how to sell your home with minimal closing costs, and fast.
But first, let’s discuss how selling a house that needs work would play out if you do it the “old way.”
Do I Legally Have to Disclose the Condition of My Home to a Home Buyer?
This is a touchy subject. The question of what one does or does not have to disclose varies by state. It is wise to check with your state’s real estate disclosure laws before you begin repairs. This will help you understand the areas where you may need to invest more financial resources for legal advice.
However, be aware that most mortgage companies require that a buyer’s potential home go through a qualified inspection and appraisal process. Some programs such as FHA even have their own requirements. If your home does not pass inspection then you will likely not be able to sell your home to a traditional buyer using this type of financing. However, other types of buyers exist. Below are several reasons why your home could fail an inspection, or be seen as less desirable by buyers.
Bad Roofing: Avoid failing an inspection for a neglected roof by replacing damaged shingles and applying fresh caulk to ventilation pipes and boots.
Draining Issues: Before your inspection, examine areas around your house that seem to be low places where water accumulates after the rain. If you’re aware of issues like this, consider adding some topsoil and properly grading them.
Foundation Problems: If you suspect a foundation issue, call a qualified structural engineer to assess the situation. If you have minor issues, adjust any door and windows to where they do not stick, seal any cracks with epoxy or silicone, and add any necessary waterproof coating to the outside of your home’s foundation.
Severe Plumbing Issues: No one wants to deal with plumbing issues in their new home. If you have an old house ensure that drains are clear and clog-free. Check seal and wax rings on toilets. Fix any visible leaks on faucets or fixtures.
Pest Infestations: Pests live up to their name and can be a big deal when it comes to inspection. If your home has an infestation of any kind, call a professional pest control expert to handle the situation. If your home has termites then you must disclose that information in nearly every state. Call a verifiable pest control company and have your home bonded to protect the next homeowners from re-infestation.
Severe Mold Buildup: Mold can happen in homes where there is an overabundance of moisture. Repair any leaks, including gutters. Ensure that the ground around your home is properly graded. Keep the humidity in your home balanced. Running the air conditioner in the Arkansas summer is a must, but do not allow moisture to build up inside the house.
Faulty/Dangerous Heating Systems: Attempt to have annual inspections on your furnace and AC unit to ensure that it is up to safety standards and to help prolong the life of your furnace. If you are past that step, then if you are financially able, consider purchasing a new one.
Excessive wiring issues: Clearly mark and label the breaker box. Have an experienced electrician come and inspect and check your outlets and junction boxes if you have experienced issues with “shorts” while owning your home.
Structural Damage: If you have extensive structural damage after damage from storms, it is unlikely that a buyer will want to purchase your home. It is best to consider either hiring a structural engineer to help assess the damage, or specifically looking for home buyers who are prepared to buy your home in an “as is” or fixer upper state.
Overall Poor Cosmetic Condition: Apply a fresh coat of paint, straighten those shutters, use pressure washing on siding, and upgrade any out-of-date appliances if possible. This will help with the overall appearance of your home, and will attract buyers who aren’t searching for burdensome houses.
Taking a Look at the Necessary Repairs Before Selling Your Home
Assess both cosmetic repairs and significant repairs that you know will arise during the sales process in the traditional real estate market.
If you have significant home repairs to make, we realize this isn’t the time you want to invest a ton of money. Selling a house that needs work without making major repairs will net a much lower sale price on the traditional market. This is because buyers will offer less, and you still have to pay a real estate commission on top of this.
Do try to make any minor repairs that are glaringly obvious. People walking through will notice things like cracked tiles or holes in the drywall. Tighten any faucets that leak, replace lightbulbs, and make sure all drawers are opening and closing smoothly. Most of these are inexpensive and can have a big payoff.
Cosmetic repairs can make a big difference in how a potential buyer or real estate agent will evaluate your house. Many renovation ideas, such as updating the living room in a house that just won’t sell can often make potential buyers more receptive – but it’s not a guarantee. Some improvements can make up for their cost when reflected in the value of the home. However, given the average cost to fix up a house before selling it, this is not always the case.
While we’re discussing aesthetic repairs, this is also a good time to think about painting over any wild and crazy colors on your walls. A prospective buyer is usually looking for neutral tones, and so if you have a bright pink bedroom, that could be enough to turn someone off of the house. This will only affect how long it takes to sell your house.
An ugly house won’t get a cash offer from a traditional buyer as quickly as a trendy and beautiful one. This is another reason why working with a property investor can pay off. Not only can you skip repair work, but you can also save the money you would pay a real estate agent on the sale.
Want an offer today on your house that needs work? Get in touch here.
Selling A House That Needs Work – Is Staging My Home Worth It?
What is home staging? Staging is allowing a professional designer to come in and evaluate how aesthetically pleasing your home looks to potential buyers. If they find it necessary, they will add decor, rent furniture, rearrange existing furniture, or suggest decisions like hiring a residential painter to fix paint colors and schemes. This is vital if the home is vacant, such as an inherited house you need to sell.
Everyone has their own unique style and while that is a beautiful thing, that does not mean others will find your style appealing. Staging can be exceptionally helpful when it comes to helping your potential buyer fall in love with your home. However, the price for staging a home sale can range anywhere from $500 to upwards of $4000.
It is absolutely possible for you to stage your own home. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to stage your own home to appease buyer and you have the financial ability, hiring a professional stager is the way to go.
If you want to go the DIY route, pinterest, blogs, and real estate sites may help you understand better what people are typically looking for. If neither of those options is for you, reaching out to reputable cash buyers who will buy your home “as is” may be the option for you. Reputable buyers exist and will offer you a fair price for your home without you bearing the time and cost of staging or repairs.
House Selling Tip #1: Declutter and Depersonalize the Home
When a potential buyer walks through your house, they want to be able to visualize it as their own. Your job is to make this easier by removing distractions.
Remove all personal items such as family photographs, albums, tchotchkes, and heirlooms.
Keep only minimal furniture on display and try to choose only the most neutral pieces that you own.
Go through your rooms and closets and get rid of any superfluous items. Donate items in good condition and recycle or toss anything that is too damaged or old.
Remove any heavy curtains or window treatments so that natural light can move freely through the rooms. Light is your friend when trying to get buyers interested in your home.
Pre-pack. Anything that you won’t be using while selling the house that needs work. Certain kitchen utensils or a winter wardrobe can be boxed and put away so that they aren’t in view. This can also be a great way to save time later when packing up the house.
Clear off kitchen counters and any shelving units.
You may want to consider renting a storage unit during this time. Even after donating and trashing extra stuff, you may still have too much going on in the house. Really, you want to keep things very minimalistic.
House Selling Tip #2: Clean Like You’ve Never Cleaned Before
Once you’ve gotten your belongings under control, you’ll want to get the house as clean as possible. This means scrubbing the baseboards, dusting out all of the corners (including the ceiling), and washing all of the windows. You may even want to pressure wash the outside of the house. If you don’t have a pressure washer, borrow or rent one.
In the bathrooms, apply fresh caulk to any areas that are looking cracked or dingy. Bleach and scrub the tubs, showers, and toilets. Hang fresh guest towels and keep the toilet lids closed when not in use.
Remember that buyers will want to examine storage areas as well. After you’ve gone through your closets and cabinets to store or pack away as much as you can, organize whatever is left. Clothing should be organized and neatly hung; shoes stacked neatly in pairs. Stack dishes in neat piles, make sure that like is grouped with like.
House Selling Tip #3 Maximize Curb Appeal
Check out the approach to your home and pretend you are seeing it for the first time. What improvements can be made? A fresh coat of paint to the door can do wonders. Clean up dead plants or flowers from your yard. If there are any major cracks in your driveway or sidewalk, they should be repaired. Some people won’t even enter a home if they’re turned off by the outside curb appeal.
Take the Simpler Route to Home Sale That Needs Work
Overall, most home sellers want the most money for their home in the shortest amount of time possible, with a flexible closing date. Are you hoping to make top dollar? Keep in mind the bottom line, not the “sales price.” Real estate agents may “list” your home at a market value figure that appears high, but after making all of the recommended repairs and paying the real estate commission and closing costs, your bottom line might be much different.
But even minor repairs can add up to thousands of dollars and take a lot of time. Especially post-pandemic when there are labor shortages everywhere. Finding a contractor quickly isn’t necessarily a guarantee.
Selling a house that needs work in its present condition might be the best option for you, rather than trying to fix it up before listing. Taking on DIY projects throughout your home while preparing for a sale may seem like a good idea, but in reality, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Fixing it up can often cost you even more time and money than initially realized.
The Better Option for Selling Your House Without Fixing it Up
If you are interested in selling your home that needs work quickly, and don’t want to invest a lot of time, money, and energy into prepping the property, there is a better alternative. If you live in the Little Rock, Arkansas metro area, Gary Buys Houses will purchase your home fast.
Gary Buys Houses is a staple in the Little Rock community. With a five star business rating, you can trust that we do not want offer you less than what your house is currently work in light of repairs. We genuinely want to help during what can be an exceptionally stressful time.
Gary Buys Houses will buy your home as-is. There’s no need to do a bunch of expensive home repairs, endless touch-ups, and time consuming clean-ups. Within 7 days you’ll have the cash for your house and can move on with your life.
Reach out through phone or email today for a no-pressure, no-risk offer. We’ll take care of the rest!