If you’re ready to sell your house, but your house isn’t ready to be sold, it can be challenging to know what to do for the best. Should you do all of the repairs? Some of them? None at all?

Deciding to spend money to renovate a house you plan to leave is difficult, and the final decision you make will depend on many factors. Are other homes for sale in your area in better condition and more likely to sell? Are the renovations cosmetic or structural? Will you get your money back with a higher sale price? What’s the state of the real estate market where you live? You need to make sure you’re making an informed decision. Ask your realtor, and do some independent research before investing any money.

Here’s how to sell a house that requires repairs, whether you choose to renovate or not.

Selling a home in need of repair

As a general rule, potential buyers who would be open to buying a ‘fixer-upper’ are looking for a home that needs only cosmetic repairs. If your home needs extensive rewiring, new floors, and a new roof, you can reasonably expect that only ‘flippers’ will make an offer.

If your home is just a bit dated, you’ll likely have better luck selling it as it is. However, expect to knock off the cost of the repairs and a little extra for the inconvenience to the new owner. After all, if you only reduce the price by the cost of the repairs, a potential buyer will simply buy a home that doesn’t need any work at all and save themselves the time and effort.

If you plan to sell your home without renovations, you do need to anticipate that it simply won’t be attractive to buyers and will be more difficult to sell. If there are several houses in your area for sale with similar specifications, but that are fully renovated, you can expect buyers to go for them instead. Most people want a home that’s ready to move into right away.

Planning your renovations

If you think you’ll need to do the repairs before selling, you need to thoroughly cost the repairs you need or want to do against how much more your home is likely to sell for once it’s renovated. It may be that the best way to go is to complete only some of the repairs. Some renovations cost money, but add little to a home’s sale value. If you’re looking for a high return on investment, you need to focus on your kitchen and bathrooms. These are the rooms that sell homes.

If you’re unsure, book viewing appointments for similar homes in the markets and make notes about their condition and sale price. This will give you a guideline to work from, and also an idea of your competition.

Once you’ve done your research and know what you want to do, make a list of the repairs you definitely want to complete and cost them up accurately. You can also make a list of ‘ideal’ renovations that aren’t necessary, but that would be great to do if the budget allows. These cosmetic touches might include fresh paint, new drapes, soft furnishings, accessories, and so on. You’ll also want to replace any broken appliances, whether they are being sold with the home or not. A broken oven doesn’t make a good impression, and the buyer may think the house has been neglected. The same goes for damaged or stained furniture.

Selling as a ‘fixer-upper’

If you decide to go ahead and sell your home in its current condition, you need to make sure you market and present the home well to attract buyers – just as you would on a renovated home. You want to make sure a buyer sees the home’s potential, rather than the work they’ll need to do. Sell them the opportunity your home offers.

Take an objective view of your home and come up with a list of its best qualities (ones that will appeal to buyers).Does it have an interesting history? Is there anything about the area that other areas don’t have? These are all things that will help a potential buyer look past the work the house needs. Make sure to use the right language, too. Don’t exaggerate, but be clear about the individual selling points of your home. Is the kitchen particularly cozy? Does it get great natural light? Say so. Mention the small things that help potential buyers to envision themselves living there.

You should also come up with a list of the home’s flaws, and be honest about these with every potential buyer. Anyone buying a ‘fixer-upper’ will have the home inspected before committing to buy, and you don’t want to look like a liar. People are more likely to buy houses from people they feel they can trust.

Selling a home that needs repairs doesn’t mean you can open it up for viewings in any old condition. Make sure every room is sparkling clean, especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure all clutter is tidied away, and any personal items are out of view. Clear any fallen leaves or debris from the yard. Showing a dirty home tells a buyer that you haven’t cared for your home. You don’t want to make that kind of impression.

The final thing you need to do before selling a ‘fixer-upper’ home is to be honest with yourself about the asking price. Don’t allow your personal history with the house to cloud your judgment. Objectively consider the pros and cons for buyers before settling on a price. You can sell a house based on its potential, but you can’t price it based on that. You have to price it based on the condition it’s being sold in. The right price can make even the ugliest property more appealing!

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