14 Tips for Selling Your Run-Down House

Did you know that over five million existing homes were sold in 2020?

You might think selling an imperfect home is impossible, but taking the right steps can help you accomplish exactly this. With a bit of time, research, and planning, you’ll have your home off your hands in no time. Luckily, we’re here to help you get started with the process.

Read on for 14 of the best tips for selling a run-down house.

1. Know Your Buyers

It’s no secret that fixer-uppers aren’t for everyone. A lot of people want turnkey options, so if you’re selling your house in less than ideal conditions, your buyer pool is automatically going to shrink. Your buyers are likely going to fall into one of four categories — flippers, bargain hunters, remodelers, and house-buying companies.

Of the four, flippers are going to be the most profit-driven. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate agent if you catch the attention of a flipper. They’ll be able to tell you the true value of your home so you can know whether you’re getting a fair price or not.

That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a price that doesn’t match your home’s value, though. Your real estate agent will tell you what they think a fair price for your home is, and then you can decide on a listing price from there.

Bargain hunters and remodelers are the buyers that have a set location in mind, but might not be able to afford or find a property in it. If your home is in a good neighborhood, you can expect a lot of interest from them.

Finally, you can choose to sell your home for cash. These companies typically have a list of criteria they’d like homes to meet, but if you fit the bill then you don’t have to make any repairs. They’ll buy your house as-is so you can be on your way.

2. Conduct Market Research

What does the current market look like in your area? What are buyers buying, and how fast are they doing so? Your real estate agent needs to be able to answer this question for you so you know whether you need to make repairs or other changes in your home or not.

If you’re living in a seller’s market, then you might not have to do much. Homes are being bought quickly and buyers are grabbing whatever they can. If you’re living in a buyer’s market, though, you might benefit from spending some extra money to improve your property to ensure a quicker sale.

3. Think About Small Changes

If you can’t afford to make large changes to your home, there’s no need to worry. Small changes can still make a big difference to potential buyers. Making repairs like this can be a big help:

  • Patching holes
  • Deep cleaning areas
  • Adding new caulking to the areas that need it
  • Replacing the hardware on doorknobs and cabinets
  • Fixing broken hinges and doors

Even if you opt to complete a few of these repairs, it could mean a big difference in your asking price.

4. Highlight the Good

Even if your home is an eyesore, it still has potential. Taking the time to figure out the high points of your home and highlighting them to homebuyers can be a great idea.

Like we said earlier, living in a decent neighborhood is a great place to start, but there are other things to think about too. Maybe you have great views and a lot of space for a home office. You could have a backyard pool complete with a large patio to enjoy during the summer months.

Whatever your home has, it’s important to show those features off above everything else. Home staging photos are a great way to do that.

5. Take Good Photos

The pictures you post of your listing can make or break your entire sale. They’re a buyer’s first impression of your home, so it’s important to get it right the first time around.

If you’re not great at photography, and neither is your real estate agent, hiring a professional can make all the difference. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but your home’s online marketing is important for attracting the buyers you want rather than the ones you’re trying to deter.

6. Perfect Your Timing

You want to make sure you’re listing your home during the right time of year. Generally speaking, trying to sell your home in the middle of winter in a cold area isn’t a good idea. It’s an especially bad idea when you have a shabby house.

If you’ve already decided to sell your home, stick it out until the spring or summer. The days are longer and sunny, and that added light bouncing off the trees and other greenery can add more life to your home than you might realize.

Buyers tend to look more during the summer, so it’s good to wait things out if you’re able.

7. Feature Lifestyle

If you’re in a good location, it’s smart to highlight the amenities around your home. If you live in a walkable area, make sure homebuyers know that. If there are good schools or a lot of restaurants around, buyers will benefit a lot.

On the other side of that, though, what are the best features inside your home?

With a large yard and a pool, outdoor gatherings are easy to host and enjoy throughout the year. If there’s a lot of storage space in your home, try to find ways to show that off. If there’s a certain room that would make a good office or some other highly sought-after space, stage things to highlight that in your listing photos.

The more you can sell your home as a space to retreat and relax, the better chance you’re going to have at getting your asking price. Potential sells, and it’s easier to show people what they can have with a bit of love and imagination than you might actually think it is.

8. Prep for a Home Inspection

Most states have disclosure laws that you must meet, meaning you’ll need to let buyers know everything that’s wrong with your home. Having an inspection done can help you get down to the bottom of any problems your home might be having.

These problems give your buyer a powerful negotiation tool, but you’ll be able to decide whether you’d like to make the repairs or settle for a lower price. A great way to prevent this from happening, though, is to make larger repairs before you list your home. Buyers have less leverage to renegotiate, tilting things a bit in your favor.

If you’d prefer to sell as-is, though, your negotiations are likely to look a little different. It’s important to advertise your listing truthfully from the beginning so buyers know what to expect, but you should be set to go from there.

9. Think from Your Buyer’s Perspective

It’s also important to think about it from your potential buyer’s perspective. They’re likely to have objections when it comes to certain things about the home’s condition, but you can counter those concerns with a list of the pros (including any changes you’ve made during this process).

10. Get Rid of the Clutter

One of the most cost-effective ways to strengthen your home’s appeal is to clear out the clutter. You want to maximize the space you have to work with, and clutter is going to help you accomplish the opposite. You have a few options to choose from when it comes to this — either throwing items away, donating, or placing them in storage.

If you choose to donate your items, a lot of charities will actually let you schedule a donation pick-up for free. What you don’t choose to donate can be thrown away, or you can place any leftover items into storage.

It’s simple to think you can get away with shoving items into closets or into other “unseen” locations, but remember that homebuyers are going to want to look through things. Taking the extra time to make sure everything is cleared before people come to look at your property can make all the difference.

11. Paint the Interior

Remember, the darker your space, the smaller it’s going to look. This is especially true for paint that’s stained or wallpaper that’s peeling.

Taking the time to update the paint in your home to something contemporary truly can breathe new life into your space. It’s a great home improvement that doesn’t cost a lot, and it makes a big difference.

Remember, you don’t have to like the colors you’re painting your home. It’s about appealing to potential buyers and the market as a whole. The more you can do this with any changes you make, the better off you’re going to be.

12. Hire the Right Agent

Working with a professional to sell your home is a great idea — especially if you anticipate your sale being a difficult one to make. An experienced realtor will be able to sell your home much more quickly than you can, and they’ll be able to help you know whether or not you’re selling for a fair price. Without that, all the work you’ve done will be useless.

They’ll also know the local market really well, making them an invaluable resource for your home sale.

That being said, make sure the agent you’re looking to work with is trustworthy and reliable. If you begin speaking with an agent and don’t feel like you can trust them completely, it’s best to seek out another one.

13. Consider Curb Appeal

Having great curb appeal can actually help to increase your home’s value.

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers are going to notice as they pull up to your home. Even if the rest of your space is run-down, paying particular attention to the outside can make a good impression on buyers.

You don’t have to install a fountain or plant elaborate hedges to have a positive effect, though. Tidying things up and removing dead plants or weeds is often more than enough. If you’d like to plant a few flowers and lay fresh mulch in the flowerbeds, that’s also a great idea.

Trim the hedges, mow the lawn, and pick up extra leaves or debris that might still be around the property, and you’ll be set to go. 

14. Don’t Overprice

Finally, don’t place an obnoxious price tag on your home. If your real estate agent gives you a number, it’s best to follow their suggestions. It’s also smart to make the repairs they recommend.

If you skip their suggestions on both these subjects, you might end up regretting your decision once the time comes to sell. Making repairs that provide a good return on investment (within your limits) and listing for a fair price is going to give you the best chance at selling your home for the most money you can get.

Don’t Worry About Selling Your Run-Down House

It can feel worrisome to put a run-down house on the market, but there’s nothing to fear. By following these tips and the instructions of your real estate agent, you can ensure your home gets sold in no time. No matter its state, catering to the right buyer will ensure success for both you and your buyer.

Luckily, we’re here to help when you need it the most. Contact us to get an all-cash offer for your home today.

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