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Sometimes, a house needs just a little sprucing up here and there to be ready for sale. A coat of paint in the kitchen, a deep clean of the carpets, a few screws in a wobbly banister. Sometimes, a home needs a lot more than a little. To sell a fixer-upper in North Carolina, you might need to think outside the box about how to tackle the whole deal.
The Research Triangle and the surrounding areas are a hot market for buyers. Property of any kind is at a premium, and buyers are looking for a property that they can make work for them. Whether it’s in a prime location, has a great floor plan, or is in a prime Wake County school district, buyers in North Carolina are willing to buy a fixer-upper for many reasons.
Selling a fixer-upper fast requires balance
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There can be lots of reasons that you need to unload a home quickly. Maybe you’re dealing with a family emergency or you’re going through a transition because of a job transfer. Sometimes, people buy a home with the intention of fixing it up, only to welcome a new baby or get a new job and realize that they don’t have the time to put in the work they’d hoped for.
Even if there’s not an outside reason to sell your fixer-upper fast, you still deserve to know how to get your home sold quickly.
The key to selling a home in need of repairs fast is to find the balance between doing too much to the house, wasting both time and resources, and doing so little that you don’t attract buyers or can’t sell the home for the price you need to sell it for.
Do a little, or do a lot?
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Improving and then selling a burdensome house is a balancing act. Putting too much work into it has the potential to drain your bank account without giving you much return on that investment. Leaving the property in its current condition might mean turning off most buyers.
Curb appeal and a fresh coat of paint can only go so far. You’ve got to decide what selling price you need and how much your time and emotional effort are worth in this situation
5 essential tips for getting your NC fixer upper ready for sale
Though every home is unique, there are universal steps in the home renovation process when you’re working to sell a fixer upper. These five areas will help you to tackle what’s important and then get on with your life after your home sale.
A lot of this depends on why you’re selling the property and rethinking what you might get out of selling the house. Be read to challenge your thinking in order to gain access to the best balance and the best deal possible for your North Carolina fixer upper.
1 – Declutter
You can’t know what needs to be done if you can’t see it. Take a day (or two, or three) to declutter the home as much as possible. If it’s a home that you’ve lived in, then pack up what you can and store it as much out of the way as possible.
This is a great time to call a junk removal service in North Carolina if you have too much. Put your extra stuff up on a local free group on social media. Call NPR and have WFDD come get that old car that’s been sitting in the back garage – you’ll get a tax write off. Think of it as the great purge, and get as much gone as you can.
This step is important – don’t skip it! Part of what’s overwhelming about moving and fixing up a home is dealing with the extra junk. Turn on some episodes of the Home Edit to give you inspiration while you get rid of things.
2 – Create a comprehensive list
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When the purge is over, it’s time to start moving on the repairs – almost. It’s tempting to jump up and dig into the repairs that you’ve known you needed to do for a long time, but that’s not the best approach.
Once you decide that you need to tackle your fixer upper, sit down and create a comprehensive list of everything that’s wrong with the house. Make it detailed and make it exhaustive. This is the moment to list everything from the bent hinge on the kitchen cabinet to the leaky spigot beside the back porch.
Your list is going to be your guiding light and your starting point for everything to come. Go room by room and write down everything. It’s ok if this step takes a little time – it’s that important. If you’re busy, you can do this one in chunks. If you’ve got a spouse or a partner, you can do it together.
Sort the list
Once you have a complete list of everything that needs to be taken care of in the home, then you can start prioritizing what must happen and what you can leave out. Don’t jump in yet! Keep reading to find out how to prioritize what you’ve listed.
Look at your list and divide it into two columns – major repairs and minor repairs. Major repairs are anything that will take you more than a few hours to complete, that require expensive materials, or that will need a professional. Minor repairs are anything you can tackle yourself simply and easily.
It’s a good idea to put a budget next to your items. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown, in depth budget. If you need a new HVAC, go online and get an idea. The same goes for electrical, plumbing, etc. Price out a ceiling fan or drywall installation. Whatever is wrong, put some kind of number to it. This will help you prioritize and make sense of it as you figure out how to sell your house in North Carolina.
3 – Decide who you’re selling to
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This is a big one, because it will determine how much work you do.
If your house is in dire straits, as in it has severe water leakage, exposed wiring, dangerous features that need repair, then a bank may be unwilling to lend to a traditional buyer. You have two options then – either make those repairs, or look for buyers who don’t need traditional bank financing.
Selling your home to a cash buyer means that you can sell it as-is without doing repairs. Because they aren’t relying on a bank to provide financing, they can buy the house as is without an inspection. Note that this does not mean you don’t have to disclose everything that’s wrong. In fact, North Carolina law requires that a home seller disclose any known defects with a home to any buyer.
This is where that list you made is going to really come in handy. When you provide that information to the buyer, you’re following North Carolina law completely.
Here’s the bottom line:
- cosmetic issues = traditional home sale is possible
- safety issues = cash buyer is your only option
A house can be in good shape and still look horrible. A house can also look great but be in horrible shape. This is why a home inspector is required to look at a home before a bank will finance it.
There are state and federal laws that govern what a mortgage company is and is not allowed to do. Most lay people who don’t work in real estate are blissfully unaware of the detailed ins and outs of the process. You don’t need to know all of the details – you just need to know that the home inspection is the turning point for whether you can sell your fixer upper to a buyer with a mortgage or not.
Home inspectors look for the following issues when trying to determine if a home is a safety hazard. These are the kinds of things that they report to mortgage lenders on North Carolina homes.
- Electrical system problems
- HVAC system problems
- Plumbing issues
- Old/damaged roof
- Foundation cracks
- Structural compromises
- Pest infestations
- Water damage
- Septic system issues
- Mold issues
If your fixer upper has any of those issues, your pool of potential buyers is going to be limited unless you decide to make home improvements. Home sellers who don’t want to make the necessary repairs to get a home in good shape will have to sell the property for a bargain price to a cash buyer.
Keep in mind, though, that the higher price you might get for your piece of North Carolina real estate after fixing it up could be defrayed by the repair costs.
4 – Create a timeline
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Once you’ve decided who you’re selling to and what kinds of repairs you need to do to attract those prospective buyers in the real estate market, then you can create a timeline of what you have to do and when you have to do it. Even if you’re working with a real estate agent, know that you have the autonomy to make your own timeline and to do this in a way that makes sense to you.
If you’ve decided that you need to only work on minor home repairs that you can do yourself – replacing light fixtures, leaky faucets, fixing ceiling fans, a fresh coat of paint, adjusting a garage door, etc., then go ahead and tackle those as soon as you can so that you can get a quick sale.
Something as simple as a paint job or new light fixtures might only take a little bit of time. Things that improve curb appeal like neutral paint on siding or fixing a broken fence can catch the eye of property buyers in the Charlotte market. Don’t forget that those minor repairs won’t help you in the home inspection, but they can be a good deal for property owners in the North Carolina market.
If you’ve decided to go for major home repairs, you’ll need to work with contractors to get the most attractive price for you. Don’t forget to get a timeline for them. Fixer upper homes can end up going on forever, and home sellers who have a tight timeline might have to push contractors to get the work done.
A new roof won’t happen overnight. To sell fast, even in a seller’s market, you need to make house repairs fast.
5 – Work with the right real estate professionals
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Every piece of real estate has some redeeming quality, even if it’s horrible-looking fixer-upper. It might be that the floor plan is solid or that it’s in a prime location. Highlighting the good things about a house can make a big difference in selling a fixer upper.
Many buyers understand that the home’s appeal isn’t just about what’s on the surface of the house. Make sure your listing description puts forth what’s attractive about the property in the current market. Real estate agents in North Carolina should know exactly what to highlight. It might be that extra bedroom, or the house might be in a good neighborhood for up and coming property. The right agent can make all the difference in attracting buyers who will offer you the right price for your property.
Experienced real estate professionals
Oftentimes, fixer upper owners find that they get multiple offers and top dollar because they worked with the right real estate agent or got a good price from a cash buyer for their property. Some real estate agents specialize in fixer uppers. Some home investors in Charlotte and the surrounding areas also work specially on fixer uppers.
It’s worth your time to seek out those Charlotte, NC real estate agents who have experience with fixer upper house sales. This is not a moment that you want to sign with a real estate agent who doesn’t have experience with potential buyers looking for a fixer upper.
If you decide to work with a real estate agent to find prospective buyers, realize that they’ll take roughly five percent in commission as part of the closing costs. Real estate agent fees are important to factor into fixer uppers because they could make the cost of doing repairs not worth the hassle. Selling as-is doesn’t just keep you from having to do repairs, it also keeps the selling price from being eaten into by unnecessary fees.
Your house is a valuable piece of property in Charlotte! You deserve to get the right price. It just takes knowing what that right price is and who you need to work with to sell your house.
Selling fixer uppers is fulfilling
There is nothing like walking away from a fixer upper house that’s made you feel like you had only a few options. Real estate is not for the faint of heart, and selling homes can be stressful business. The most important home improvements are the ones that connect you with the right buyers to sell your property in the market you’re in. Nothing else matters.
No matter what you do before tackling fixer upper selling, whether you go for a serious buyer who’s willing to pay cash or a potential buyer who has to wait on necessary repairs before securing traditional financing, you’ll be glad to sell that piece of real estate!
Buyers know that required repairs are part of the deal, just as you did when you purchased your fixer upper house in the first place. Trust that the buyer sees what your property has to offer, and then let the market do its work.
Remember, as long as you provide full disclosure, you’re following North Carolina law. Beyond that, it’s all about how much you can and want to put into a fixer upper in NC before you sell it.
Back to basics
Selling your property to potential buyers in Charlotte is all about keeping it simple. The Queen City is full of buyers looking for property to let them live in this vibrant and thriving city.
The hardest part about selling your fixer upper is not the work. It’s not stripping hardwood floors or scraping wallpaper off of ancient walls or getting the garage door unstuck. the hardest part of selling a fixer upper is changing your mindset to get the most out of it.
Whatever your thoughts were about selling your property, you’ll have to rethink them to get out from under it. That’s a good thing. There’s plenty of opportunity here to sell your fixer upper in Charlotte, it’s just a matter of choosing what to prioritize.
When in doubt, go back to your comprehensive list and your timeline! You are in control of what you tackle in your fixer upper. Remember, there are always potential buyers out there, for any house – even a horrible North Carolina fixer upper.