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How To Sell Your House As-Is When It Needs Repairs

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When you want to sell your house as is, it can be daunting. That’s especially true if there are major repairs to be done. A fixer upper might seem like a hard sell, but not if you know how to sell a house in need of repairs.

There are lots of different aspects to this situation. It’s important to understand all of your options and to determine exactly what you can and cannot afford. You also want to know what the process is.

Often, people have much more leverage than they think they do when selling a home as is.

Reasons to sell a home as is

There are lots of reasons to sell a home as is. It could be that your bank account doesn’t have enough to cover the cost of home repair projects or it’s an inherited home. Maybe the home layout doesn’t work for you anymore or there are safety issues with the home.

A major reason people choose to sell a home in need of repairs is that they’ve found their dream home. They might have started off inbargain hunter mode, but now they can afford a higher price for a home that fits their needs.

No matter the reason, an old house can attract more buyers than you might think.

Condition of the loan

There’s the issue of the condition of the home, but there’s also the issue of the condition of the home loan.

Homes with FHA loans can be put on the market, even if they need extensive repairs. In fact, you can sell your home with or without a real estate agent. Buyers are interested in someone who is selling as is, whether the home is in foreclosure or has a current mortgage.

The entire transaction includes the cost of the current loan, the home inspection, any net profit, closing costs, and potentially even certain repairs. Most homeowners don’t have to get the house ready for sale if they are willing to take less money for the home.

A house that needs repairs can attract potential buyers even if the loan is in as rough condition as the home itself.

Options for selling a house that needs work

Painting a house prior to sale

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There are two options for homeowners who want to sell a house that needs repairs.

Whether you don’t have the time or money to make these repairs, you have the option to sell “as-is.” You can approach this sale in two different ways:

  1. Sell without doing anything.
    If you sell your home without doing anything, the resale value will be less, but so will the cost of necessary repairs. Homeowners can still get a fair price, and the entire process takes less time. In many cases, given that it’s a seller’s market, there’s not even a need to involve a home inspector.
  2. Make a few specific major repairs.
    Sometimes there are just a few things that stick out in a house. Things like tattered shingles or lackluster hardwood flooring are easy to spot. The biggest repairs can make the biggest impact. It can be a good idea to make sure those major things are taken care of.

There are pros and cons for home sellers with either option.

On one hand, if you leave it alone, you’ll be done faster and able to move on to other things. You won’t have to wait around for all the repairs to get done. You also won’t have to spend the extra money to get the repair work completed if you sell your home as-is.

On the other hand, the second option can dramatically improve the asking price. That’s true no matter what the housing market looks like. Making a few key repairs can greatly improve the sales price of a home.

Ways to sell as-is

Just as there are two options for how to deal with the home itself, there are two options for selling a house that needs work.

Painting a house

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  1. Listing with a real estate agent
    When listing with a real estate agent, the first key is to connect with real estate agents who have experience with selling property that isn’t appealing to traditional buyers. If your home goes beyond the need for minor repairs, the buyer pool will be considerably different than most buyers are in.
    Agents who specialize in selling a house in this condition have worked on fixer-upper properties before. This is not the moment to work with a green agent who hasn’t been around the block before.
    They know how to navigate major repairs, as well as which cosmetic repairs will be the best course of action. Curb appeal may or may not be the driving force in this kind of sale.
    Keep in mind that closing costs and commissions tend to me more with real estate agents. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to use an agent that is part of a national association.
  2. Selling to a cash buyer
    If a home is sold to a deal hunter, a cash buyer, then the home sale will be less time-consuming. A buyer who is looking to purchase homes in need of extensive repairs will be more excited about your home than a new house.
    Professional investors don’t follow the traditional sale route. They often don’t need to use a bank or work with a down payment because they have cash in hand. Even a house that needs repairs can get a solid asking price with a cash buyer.
    It’s possible to get multiple offers from cash buyers to sell a house in this condition. A real estate investor is the right way to go for lots of people selling a house.

As-is home listings

As is home getting repairs

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When you explore the option of selling a house without making repairs, that means looking for prospective buyers. Unfortunately, you can’t just assume that someone will come along and offer you a top price when selling a house.

Real estate investors sometimes do come out of the woodwork and contact sellers. That’s usually because a home is in foreclosure and a public notice has been posted as such. Real estate listings are a place where deal hunters go to find houses for sale.

Working with real estate agents

Be sure to find an agent who has experience selling properties not up to typical market standards. Your listing will be marked as an “as-is” sale meaning that you will not be spending time making any repairs this will attract a different type of buyer (usually someone looking for a good deal).

However, your agent should still be able to set clear expectations to buyers that no major repairs will be made. Keep in mind that the buyer may still request a home inspection, and you will likely have to settle for less than the listed sale price.

A real estate agent will likely want to see things like a fresh coat of paint, even on a house that needs repairs. For them, a home’s appeal will be an integral part of the outside look of the place.

Working with real estate investors

Laptop on a counter in a home for sale

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If you want to go the way of selling to a local investor or cash buyer, you’ve got different options to sell your house.

This popular option involves selling directly to the buyer. This could be a house flipper, investor, or professional home buying company. All three of those options are viable solutions if you want to sell a house.

This method cuts out all middlemen and reduces almost all fees. Investors aren’t concerned about having you do repairs yourself or getting inspections done before purchasing. If you can find a local reputable investor, this will likely be the best option.

Investors come in all shapes and sizes. Some investors are part of a larger real estate group, while others work independently. Depending on their previous experience and on their ability to fund the project, investors target a wide range of houses.

You’ll find a lot of investors online, which is the go-to place for people who want to sell a house to look. A simple google search will point you towards a huge array of prospective home buyers. Selling as is when you have the rich resources of the internet is less challenging than it used to be, pre-internet.

Making a profit

Home investory looking at a computer

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One thing is common with all investors – they are there to make a profit. Selling as is to a home investor can mean giving up your commitment to a higher sale price. Why? The investor is there to make a profit.

A house that needs work will require money to get that work done. Not only money, but it will involve time and risk. When the investor pays less than market value for the home, that’s the mechanism that allows them to take the house off of your hands.

Most investors aren’t making a killing at this. Though they may buy your house as it is, they’re also on the hook for potentially extensive repairs. House flippers have to put considerable time and resources into a project to clear a profit.

For many investors, working with home buyers is a joy. They do make money off of the deal, but they also see that they can support someone who can’t make traditional sales work. Selling as-is is the best solution for lots of families in crisis or financial limbo.

A cash buyer often feels that they are doing good in the world by taking these homes off the hands of homeowners in need. They often try to make enough money to keep going, but they also recognize that they have to be competitive. It’s a seller’s market, so the sellers really do have the upper hand.

Though not every home investor is this altruistic, know that for the most part investors are out to do right by sellers. Selling a house is intimidating and can be very hard on a family. An investor can take some of that pressure off, even if they are also making some money themselves.

Selling a house for slightly less money means less time and headache for the seller. It’s a trade-off, but one that can work.

Make home improvements

Home repair worker

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Going the route of making repairs yourself may end up saving you more money in the long run.

If you want to increase the home’s value before listing it, take the time to make a prioritized list of the repairs that need to be made. Then, make repairs and updates in order of that priority.

Some major issues that are worth fixing are egregious mold, water leaks, missing roof shingles, and foundation damage. These can all be hugely expensive, but they are also huge red flags for any traditional buyer.

These kinds of major issues turn someone off before they even get a chance to fall in love with the home. Making the hard decisions about expensive repairs is one of the most stressful parts of selling a house, no matter its condition.

Things like electrical work or replacing wood flooring can make a huge difference in the price, but they can also make a huge dent in the budget. Not only that, but they can be time-consuming too.

Every little repair, no matter how small, adds up. Even small things like painting or replacing the living room carpet will affect how much money you can get for the house. Home repairs, when done smartly, are a good idea. To an extent.

Not all repairs are worth it

Before you invest any time or money into your home, be sure that the work that’s being done is adding value to your home.

For example, if your property needs a new roof and it will cost 7,000 dollars but will add 8,500 dollars to the property’s value, it’s worth doing. Working with a local investor or experienced agent can help make sure your money is going into projects that will make you a return on your investment.

Do your own homework in this situation. Look through all of the possibilities and make sure that you’re not putting money into a home needlessly.

Get the counsel of a home agent or an investor if you’re unsure about the repairs that would be best for a home prior to putting it on the market. Most of the time, however, a homeowner can figure out which repairs are necessary through good research and critical thinking.

Home repairs & improvements worth doing

Home being sold as is

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Though not all improvements are worth your time and money, some can really help improve the value of your home before sale. These are the kinds of issues that are deal breakers for a lot of potential buyers.

Here is a list of the top home improvements that are a good idea to make before selling.

  • Updating the electrical panel
  • Replacing the roof
  • Repairing pipes, septic system, or sewer connection
  • Updating the HVAC system
  • Addressing termite, water damage, or mold
  • Installing a new water heater
  • Installing a new furnace
  • Renovating outdated bathrooms and kitchens
  • Exterior including landscaping
  • Refinishing hardwood floors
  • New carpets or getting them professionally cleaned.
  • A new coat of paint

The last one, a new coat of paint, is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to update the look of a home.

Smaller repairs and getting some of that extraneous work done can make a massive difference in your home. However, major repairs have a direct impact on the price you’ll get.

Always do this before putting the house on the market

cleaning a home for sale

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Not included in the list above is this one must-do for anyone who’s putting their house on the market as-is. Even if there are other serious issues with the property that you’re willing to take a loss on and leave unrepaired, there’s one thing you have to do.

Clean and declutter the home.

Houses tend to get full of things and accumulate a lot of dirt and grime while we’re living in them. It is absolutely worth the effort and cost to clear out as many personal belongings as possible. Clearing the space will show that you’re not hiding anything. It will also give potential buyers a chance to envision them in the space.

The other thing to do is to hire a home cleaning service, or even to do the home cleaning yourself. This means shampooing the carpets, washing the walls, and scrubbing all of the surfaces.

A clean home is an indication that it’s been well maintained. Even if there are standing repair issues, when the house is clean, it presents well. It gives the impression that the house is one that a buyer can trust is going to be in good condition.

The outside of the home

As far as the outside of the home, having minimal landscaping done can be a big boost. It’s generally not worthwhile to put a lot of money into adding new plants, but clearing out old debris and brush is almost always worth it.

If it’s the summer, make sure your lawn is mowed and your shrubs and trees are all trimmed. This will make the house look nice. Weed garden beds or have them mowed down completely.

Something as simple as power washing the siding or the garage door makes a dramatic difference. This doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, but it will make a major difference.

Home improvements not worth doing

Roof repair on home for sale

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Not all improvements are created equal. Before jumping and doing a whole bunch of repairs, take a moment to think through what you’re doing.

The following changes are likely not worth your time. They most definitely are not worth your money. Keep in mind – the goal here is to make improvements that will give you the best return on your investment.

  • Partial room upgrades
  • Grandfathered-in building code issues
  • Old appliances
  • Minor electrical issues
  • Driveway or walkway cracks
  • Repainting trendy color
  • Fixing minor cosmetic damage
  • Renovating beyond your neighborhood’s norm

Small issues that a new buyer can easily fix are not worth doing. Just as you see these as small things to do, so too will a potential buyer see these as small things.

If you get caught up in doing little things, they’ll quickly bleed your budget dry. You won’t be able to make that money back, and it all ends up frustrating you.

Style vs substance

Many repairs and updates are often stylistic choices and not substantive repairs. Old, out of style appliances or paint colors don’t affect the home’s value that dramatically.

There’s a huge difference between a roof leak and 80’s tile flooring. Though home improvement shows will often show these incredible updates that improve the price of the home, those are flipping situations and not traditional home sales.

Yes, style does matter. However, unless you’re ready to work with a designer to make evergreen changes to your home before you sell, it’s likely better to sell it as-is. In fact, you’re more likely to turn someone off instead of turning them on.

Taste is a matter of taste, and it’s incredibly personal. Don’t assume that the right buyer wants an open floor plan or a bold paint color. Allow buyers to come in and choose what they want in the home.

When we talk about selling a home as is, what we really mean is selling it without making major repairs. An HVAC system that’s not working or a foundation that’s uneven is a major issue. Antiquated built-ins are not.

How to find and screen a local investor

There are several ways to find a local investor. It’s a good idea to come at this from a few angles.

Reach out to some local agents for recommendations. That’s always a good first move. You can also call the number on any “we buy houses” yard signs you see on the street. The easiest way is to google “home investor near me” or “cash home buyers near me.” You can also try searching with your city’s name – “we buy houses in Michigan” or “we buy houses in Charlotte, NC.”

After finding a few local investors, you will want to do a bit of research on the company. It’s always a smart decision to check and see if they are certified by the Better Business Bureau. Look for reviews from past clients.

No matter who you end up going with, you want to vet all of them. Make sure they are a legit company before starting the process. One red flag to look out for is if they don’t disclose personal information such as photos of the owners, names of employees, business addresses, etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their past clients and more information about their company and the owners. If someone is stonewalling or refusing to answer your questions, move on.

Work With A Professional Home Buyer

If you feel overwhelmed and unsure about what the next step is, just reach out to someone! The average person may buy and sell a home only a couple of times in their entire life.

A professional home buyer will buy and sell houses all the time. Just like anything, practice makes perfect. Companies who buy and sell property every single day understand the process inside and out. These companies have helped dozens of homeowners sell fixer-upper homes and “hoarder” houses.

Reach out to someone, like Connect Home Buyers, for a free consultation. There’s no obligation to do anything with this, and there’s never any pressure. Even if you are going through foreclosure, have bad tenants, or just inherited a property, there is help for you.

Simplify The Home Selling Process

When you are ready to sell your home as is, you want to get an honest, fair market price for your property. Not only that, but you also want to walk away without having to do any work.

If you want to leave your home totally as is – no repairs, no cleaning (leave whatever you want), no realtors, no lawyers, no appraisers, no open houses, no waits, no commissions, no fees, it’s possible.

The traditional sale route is great for lots of home sellers, but it might not be great for you. That’s ok. You want to be at peace with where you are AND to get the right price for your home. Selling a house that needs repairs shouldn’t be a huge burden. In fact, it should take some of the burdens off of you.

Life happens to all of us. Let an experienced professional home buyer help you navigate the process!

Brett Riggins

Brett Riggins

Founder of Connect Home Buyers Brett Riggins started his real estate journey after graduating from Western Michigan University in Construction Engineering. After completing his first few residential flips, him and his wife Arin started Connect Home Buyers LLC, and today, they help homeowners sell their property quick and hassle-free.

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