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The Good News is That It's Far From Impossible


How To Sell a House That Needs Work

Tupper Briggs

Tupper began his real estate career in 1973 and has earned every accolade from the National Association of Realtors available over the years...

Tupper began his real estate career in 1973 and has earned every accolade from the National Association of Realtors available over the years...

Nov 2 4 minutes read

If you’ve lived in your home without updating it over the years, it can be intimidating to consider the time, effort & cost to make it compete against all the other homes on the market.  It’s discouraging to look at the old floors, the messy yard, the peeling paint, the stained carpets and know that you may own a fixer-upper. 

The good news is that it’s far from impossible to sell a house that needs work--and you usually don’t need to make major renovations to do it.  In fact, it may not make sense to do a ton of work because you might not get all the money you put in back out when you sell.  Especially in a sellers’ market like we’re in, you may not need to remodel the kitchen or repaint the entire interior.

When it comes to selling a fixer-upper, it’s not about trying to make it look perfect.  Instead, it’s about selling the features that the property enjoys and the potential dream home hidden behind the flaws.  As long as there are no structural or safety issues to worry about, you’re in good shape.

Here are the 5 steps to selling a house that needs work:

  1. Enhance curb appeal.  First impressions are important and you don’t want to turn buyers off as they drive up.  You don’t have to spend big bucks on landscaping, but you do need to pull weeds, mow grass and trim bushes to make the exterior presentable.  A day’s worth of yard work can mean more money in your pocket before you even deal with the inside.
  2. Clean & declutter.  A real estate adage says it all: “Clean sells well.”  A deep clean will allow buyers to focus on your home’s features and not the dirt.  The kitchen & baths are important because people picture themselves preparing meals and going through their daily hygiene in those areas.  Since most buyers will check out the views and setting through the windows, windows and window sills need to sparkle.  Clear out closets to emphasize how much storage you have, pack away knick-knacks that have accumulated on tables & shelves and remove extra furniture that makes your rooms seem smaller.
  3. Fix small things.  Think of it this way:  a buyer will figure that every repair will cost twice as much as it will cost you, so the less you repair, the more equity you’ll have to give up to make the house worth it to a buyer.  Patching holes, repainting a drab wall, fixing broken doors & hinges, fixing leaky pipes, replacing worn caulking, treating carpet stains and other minor repairs will pay large dividends.
  4. Price it right.  Selling a fixer-upper isn’t about making the house look perfect or trying to sell it as something it isn’t.  So, even after cleaning & repairing, don’t overprice it.  Determine the right asking price to attract buyer interest and let the world know about all your home has to offer.  In today’s market, if you price right, you can expect multiple offers.  If you overprice, you won’t get offers or worse, you won’t get showings.
  5. Emphasize the positive.  Every home has positive features to boast.  A distinctive fireplace, a large primary bedroom, a patio, a home office, big windows, extra storage or an oversize garage should be brought to buyers’ attention in marketing.  In our foothills area, every home offers unique mountain appeal that city homes can’t, like mountain views, private settings, treed lots, quiet neighborhoods or rock outcroppings.

A good Realtor, like everyone on Tupper’s Team, can help guide you through the initial steps above, then provide pricing advice & superior marketing to ensure you get every penny’s worth of value when you sell.

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