How do you sell a home that needs repair?

is a question we have received thousands of times. Most of the times the story goes like the following.

Decades have passed since you first moved to your old house and you are ready to relocate to a modern property.

But before making an offer on that gorgeous house, you are worried that selling your old house on the market won’t fetch any decent profit due to its poor condition.

You are convinced that you need some extra funds to carry out renovations to convince any potential clients that your outdated home is in good condition.
Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Table of Contents

One of the tough decisions to make when selling an outdated home is figuring out the expenditure needed for renovations before putting it to sit on the market.

Selling modern homes is quite easy because you only need a few creative marketing and staging techniques to charm the most lucrative buyer.

However, quirky old houses are full of character, and irrespective of their unique designs, potential buyers always want to be reassured that they are architecturally sound.

Relax!

There is a way how to sell your old house as owner for a good profit.

We delved into some quick-fix options that can make a world of difference to your old house and eventually help you sell it for a much higher sale price.

The two main options to do owner sale property are:

  • Selling to Buyers
  • Selling to Investors
Selling an outdated home is scarier than buying a new one. While you can be pressured to sell your house quickly for a profit, you will probably find yourself seeking advice from homeowners with similar experience.
 
You must understand that the housing market rapidly changes and tricks that worked for them before might backfire today big-time!

Magic spells to sell your house fast won’t help, but firm decisions will.

What is owner sale property?

An owner sale property refers to a home that is being sold directly by the owner, without the use of a real estate agent or broker. Here are some key points about owner sale properties:

  • For Sale By Owner (FSBO): Owner sale properties are often referred to as FSBO listings, meaning “For Sale By Owner.” The owner handles all aspects of marketing and selling the home instead of listing with an agent.
  • Typically Sold at Lower Prices: Statistics show that FSBO homes often sell for less than agent-listed homes. Owners may not have the same real estate knowledge and marketing resources as agents.
  • Legal Paperwork is Still Required: The owner is still responsible for preparing the home sale contract and other legal paperwork required for transferring property ownership. Title companies usually handle closing.
  • Can be Riskier for Buyers: Buying an FSBO home is riskier since buyers lose some protections real estate agents provide. It’s essential they still get inspections and check documentation.
  • Motivated to Sell: FSBO sellers avoid paying agents’ commissions, but take on significant work. This can make FSBO owners more motivated to sell.

An owner sale property cuts out the agent “middleman,” but still requires contracts, disclosures, and coordination typical to any home sale transaction. Buyers just deal directly with the property owners instead.

Best Ways to Sell Your House As-Is

The best way to sell a house that needs work (as-is) is to avoid costly repairs, price it accordingly, focus on the home’s potential, disclose everything, advertise creatively and consider offer contingencies for inspections and financing.

Here are the best and least expensive ways to sell your house as-is:

Price it Right

Research comparable homes and recently sold listings in your area. Price your as-is home at least 10-15% under market value to attract investors and cash buyers.

Highlight Unique Features

  • Emphasize amenities like large lot size, view, or desirable location.
  • Play up vintage architectural details that buyers can’t find in new construction.

Leverage Investor Financing

Many real estate investors and rehabbers can secure special financing to purchase fixer-uppers. This expands your buyer pool.

Offer a Home Warranty

Having a one-year home warranty shows you stand behind the property and major systems. It can ease buyer concerns. Makesure, the home warranty does not cover pre-existing conditions, only future breakdowns and repairs after closing.

Use Eye-Catching Marketing

  • Create a video tour to showcase spaces and highlight potential.
  • Have a professional photographer shoot the exterior and best rooms.
  • After you have good photography, try free virtual staging and if it meets your expectations, use the paid service to cover each room
  • Use bold, benefit-focused ad copy to attract motivated buyers.

With the right prep work, an as-is home can sell quickly and for top dollar. Focus on showcasing its best attributes to the right buyers.

Definition of selling house as is

Selling a house as-is means the seller is selling the property in its current condition without making any repairs or improvements.

To sell a house as-is:

  • The seller does not make any fixes, upgrades, or renovations prior to sale.
  • All defects and maintenance issues are disclosed upfront by the seller.
  • It is priced below market value to account for required updates.
  • Buyers purchase the home understanding all repairs are their responsibility.
  • It appeals to investors, flippers, and buyers looking for a fixer-upper.
  • An as-is sale allows the property to sell faster without seller improvements.
  • A home warranty provides buyers limited protection from future system breakdowns.
  • As-is status is stated upfront in the listing details.

So in essence, selling a house as-is means transacting the property in its current condition without repairs by the seller. Required fixes become the responsibility of the buyer post-purchase.

Should I Sell My House to a Flipper?

Selling your home directly to a real estate investor or “flipper” can be quicker and easier than listing on the open market. Here’s what to consider when weighing this option:

Expect an All-Cash Offer

Flippers make cash offers and can close quickly, without financing contingencies. This streamlines the process.

Price May Be Lower

Investors need to purchase below market value to profit on their fix-and-flip project. Be prepared for a lower offer.

Skip Showings and Negotiations

Avoid hassles of prepping your home for showings and haggling over repairs requested by buyers.

No Repairs Needed

Sell as-is without making any fixes or improvements. The investor takes on rehab costs.

Lock in a Quick Closing

Investors want to resell quickly, so will push for the fastest possible closing date.

May Need to Vacate Sooner

Be prepared to move out sooner if the investor wants immediate access to start renovations.

Selling to an investor can be quicker and simpler but may mean compromising on price. Weigh the pros and cons to decide if it aligns with your goals.

Best way to sell Old or Poorly Located House

TLDR

To sell an old or poorly located house, highlight the positive aspects like proximity to schools or shopping centers and positive adjectives.

Also, demonstrate the home’s condition transparently and market it strategically to buyers who will appreciate a fixer-upper.

Use a good local listing agent who can accurately execute the listing marketing and strategy.

With the right approach, you can overcome location and age challenges to successfully sell your old house in a buyer or a seller market.

Selling a house as-is can also pose challenges, but fear not, as there are effective strategies and house-selling tips to increase your chances of a successful sale.

The reason behind homes in poor condition not selling boils down to two mainly three factors:

  1. Its location.
  2. Its Pricing
  3. Its Condition

In this part of the blog post, we’ll look at the Location factors.

Highlight the good and bad sides of the home

When it comes to selling a home as is, it’s essential to highlight its strengths and potential. First and foremost, emphasize the best features of your property and its surrounding neighborhood.

Although the location may be a concern, focus on the positive aspects, such as proximity to schools, parks, or shopping centers.

Highlight any recent renovations or updates that have been made to the house, showcasing its value and appeal.

Demonstrate fully existing condition

To sell your house as-is, you need to ensure that potential buyers understand the condition of the property from the beginning. Be transparent about any issues or repairs that may be required, and consider pricing the house accordingly.

While some buyers are willing to invest in fixer-uppers, others may be deterred by the mere thought of extensive renovations.

By setting the right price and being honest about the house’s condition, you can attract the right buyers who are willing to take on the project.

Find reputable agent

When looking for the best way to sell a house, consider working with a reputable real estate agent who has experience in selling old houses or those in challenging locations.

Their expertise and market knowledge will prove invaluable in navigating the sales process.

They can provide on-point house-selling tips and ideas to improve your chances of a successful sale.

Good signs your outdated house will sell

Here are some good signs that selling a house as is will sell:

  1. There is buyer interest in fixer-uppers in the area. The document notes there are typically three types of buyers interested in outdated homes – flippers, deal hunters looking for affordable options in desired locations, and remodelers with the budget to update an old home.
  2. It’s priced appropriately below market value. The recommendation is to price an outdated home at least 10-15% under the market value of updated homes in the area. This price adjustment attracts investors and cash buyers.
  3. The listing highlights unique vintage details and architecture. Emphasizing things like original woodwork, tile, and layouts not found in new construction appeals to buyers looking for homes with character.
  4. Creative financing options are advertised. Mentioning things like renovation loans that buyers can roll into their mortgage expands the potential buyer pool. Investors often have access to special financing as well.
  5. Minor cosmetic updates have been made. Improvements like exterior power washing, new interior paint colors, replaced flooring and fixtures modernize the style and show the home’s potential without significant spend.
  6. The neighborhood/location is desirable. Buyers overlook an old home more readily if the surrounding area and schools are highly sought after. Proximity to amenities is called out.

Tips from Experts on Selling an Outdated Home

Selling an outdated or old home can seem daunting, but experts recommend several strategies to help homeowners sell for a good profit without excessive renovations.

Highlight Unique Features

Emphasize amenities like large lot size, views, vintage details buyers can’t find in new construction. Set the home apart.

Offer a Home Warranty

A one-year home warranty shows you stand behind the property. It can ease buyer concerns about appliances and systems breaking down.

Use Eye-Catching Marketing

Create a video tour to showcase spaces and highlight potential. Have a professional photographer shoot the best rooms and exterior.

Leverage Investor Financing

Many real estate investors can secure special financing to purchase fixer-uppers. This expands your buyer pool.

Price it Competitively

Research comparable sold homes. Price an as-is home at least 10-15% under market value to attract investors and cash buyers.

Consider Virtual Staging

Showcase potential with virtual renovation photos. This cost-effective strategy makes an old home more appealing to buyers.

With the right approach, you can successfully sell your outdated home and walk away with a good profit. The key is knowing how to market it strategically to the buyers most likely to appreciate an older property.

Sell an old house that needs work to Buyers

If you want to sell your home to rewarding buyers, expect a hard-hitting conversation with a realtor that the house needs work and embrace the urgency to make the changes.

A realtor will pick out several areas that require fixing to make your home market-ready for potential buyers.

For example, some even suggest replacing kitchen cabinets and new appliances, which is inefficient if you are thin on budget.

Start by comparing similar homes in the area that need significant repairs. The agent can promise the best price, but keep in mind that buyers are not stupid, and overpriced older homes often sit on the market for months or get even more lowball offers.

The discolored wallpaper needs replacement, the decades-old layers of paint make the house smell funny, the old sink and faucets need a facelift, etc.

As a homeowner, you have to see the house from the buyer’s perspective and make changes that would eventually turn the “for sale” sign into a “sold” one (with good profit).

On the other hand, you can sell the home “as is” with minor improvements.
Whichever the case, three options come into play, as explained in the below section:

1. Selling As-Is house that needs work

Let’s say your old home is in such a bad condition that you anticipate spending a substantial amount of money to make the necessary renovations to improve at least a bit the home value.

For instance, the exterior and interior walls are rugged and have many holes, the wooden floors are chipped everywhere, the white ceilings are soaked with urine, the electrical system is faulty, the faucets are leaking, and the bathroom tubs are not in place.

It’s a financial uphill climb fixing such a house. If your home is in such a condition, consider listing it for a price low enough to invite many offers even if they only come from flippers and contractors.

Selling your old home as-is means that what the buyer sees is what the buyer gets. You will altogether avoid the option of spending precious time and extra money on significant repairs.
 
You’ll likely have to lower your asking price, but your agent can position the property as an excellent opportunity for investors, flippers, or people looking for a fixer-upper (a house in need of repairs).
 
Even if you accept a low price, you can still make a good profit compared to selling it after completing some costly renovations before listing.

2. Selling As-Is with Virtual Renovation

Virtual restoration is the modern-day art of real estate because it furnishes your home temporarily to make it seem more attractive. 

As a home seller, you can pounce on this new trend by including virtual renovation photos in your listing slideshow. While they are not quite “real” shots of your outdated home, they are meant to show the potential of your house.

All that remains is a lucrative buyer with a renovation budget to breathe life into it as the price of virtual renovations varies depending on the extent of the required improvements.  

Bedroom-Decluttering-2
Virtual renovation by TALLBOX

Virtual renovation is one of the cost-effective ways to sell your home as-is. You can list your old home as-is, but the shortcut to generating a buzz around it and capturing the buyer quickly is using high-quality photographs to make it more appealing.

Selling a fixer-upper for good profit means finding a digital furnishing expert to apply some tender loving care (TLC).

We offer Virtual Staging at £47 / $58 and £60 / $73 per photo depending on the condition of each space:

How does it work?

  • you take photos of your space with our photo-guide
  • send the photos to us
  • we do the staging in a related to home style
  • staging comes out 
  • the listing goes live

3. Selling after Minor Renovation Works (improvements) + Virtual Staging

Without getting worried about costly and critical modernizations to your old home, you can make some small renovations along with virtual staging before selling it. These minor renovation works that can be done quickly over a weekend before putting your house on the market.

Are you a seller of a fixer-upper who can afford the costs of minimal staging and fixes? Or you want to sell your outdated house as-is?

If both options do not match your decisions, the below section presents the perfect solution.

TIP: If you have selected a realtor who hasn’t got a ton of experience selling old houses that need work, they might not be aware of the marketing budget needed or even strategy. Consider either talking to experienced real estate agent or taking things in your own hand with the help of the tips below.

Selling to Investors (Flippers)

The biggest question you need to ask yourself as a seller of an outdated home is: How do I sell my house quickly for profit without spending too much money and time renovating it?

The answer: Selling it to investors looking to fix and flip, or in real estate terms, flippers!

Who are Home Investors/Flippers?

A qualified home investor is either an individual or a company that buys residential properties as part of a business or investment strategy.

House flippers with a real estate license can earn money buying and selling other people’s properties while working on their own. Most individual investors may own just one or two investment homes, but companies that buy houses usually do it in bulk.

The key benefits of selling your outdated home to investors are the relief to skip costly renovations, and avoiding the cumbersome listing process. There’s no commitment, which makes it easy to see how much you could get for your home.

All you have to do is answer a few critical questions about your home and present your offer to them. They will arrange for an evaluation at their own expense, agree on a mutual price, and buy your house directly, in cash with no hassles! Easy, right? Even if you start off with the need to sell to a traditional buyer, you might end up getting a compelling offer from an investor, perhaps one with minimal contingencies and the promise of a quick close.

But before you accept, it’s essential to understand how the process differs from a typical transaction. Sometimes it may feel too good to be true!

Can i sell my house for more than market value?

It is possible to sell a house an outdated house (as-is) for more than its market value in seller’s market.

Depending on the condition, location, age, architectural features and listing competition there are two options. The first best way is to sell with an estate agent  and fix only the most important areas and parts of the property. The second method is to sell the house by owner (FSBO). Both methods will require fixing and renovating certain areas of the property.

If the property is of architectural importance, focus on Unique Architectural Details

  • Highlight any original woodwork, moldings, built-ins, hardware, tilework, etc. This showcases the vintage craftsmanship and appeals to buyers who want character.

Use Descriptive Adjectives

  • Refer to features as “charming”, “quaint”, “historic”, “stately”, “hand-crafted”, etc. This conjures pleasant imagery.

Mention Era or Style

  • Note if the home is Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor, etc. This helps buyers visualize the property.

Call Out Vintage Materials

  • Wood siding, antique lighting, clawfoot tub. This informs buyers of original materials.

Describe Layout Positively

  • Instead of small rooms, say “cozy” or “intimate.” And call chopped up floor plans “charmingly eclectic.”

Highlight Renovations Done Well

  • Such as a chef’s kitchen retaining original charm or updated baths with vintage touches. This shows upgrades were done with care.

Note Neighborhood Appeal

  • Mention mature trees, friendly community, convenient location. Location matters, paint it in a positive light.

Address Work Needed

  • Don’t hide required updates. Note them honestly and as opportunities, like “new owners can make this space their own.”

Focus on Potential

  • Use phrases like “perfect for renovating” or “opportunity to restore a historic gem.” This attracts buyers and especially investors looking for a project.

The key is using descriptive language to paint a vivid, desirable picture of the home’s unique vintage appeal and charm. This helps buyers see value that may not be obvious at first glance.

Key Considerations When Selling your Outdated Home to Investors with real estate agent?

  • Selling to investors, think “we buy old homes companies” saves time, money, and hassle, but it doesn’t work for all sellers.
  • Expect a quicker close, an as-is sale, and an all-cash offer when selling to investors.
  • Personal circumstances, such as divorce, job relocation, or potential foreclosure, are some common reasons people consider quick home sales investors.
  • When selling to private investors without a listing agent, conduct thorough background checks to ensure they are reputable and to safeguard yourself from scammers.

Home investors/flippers usually implement the following key strategies:

There are few important things to be aware of when selling to “We buy old homes investor companies“. Their offer sometimes comes at a steep price decline. If you’ve got an offer with a letter trough your front door don’t act but first do your due diligence so that you understand the market value of your old home first, then weigh if their terms still work for your needs. Patience pays off.

Here are some important caveats for homeowners considering selling their older home to a “we buy old homes” company:

  1. Expect to receive below market value: These companies need to profit from reselling your home, so their initial offer is usually well under what you could get on the open market. Be prepared to receive 20-50% less.
  2. Inspections can reduce offer prices: After making an initial offer, the company will conduct a thorough home inspection. If they uncover expensive repairs needed, expect them to reduce their original price significantly.
  3. Cost comparisons are essential: Before accepting an offer from one of these companies, solicit estimates from real estate agents to compare. While you’ll avoid some fees and hassles selling directly, the price difference might outweigh those benefits.
  4. Check company reputation thoroughly: Research the background and reviews of any “we buy houses” company to ensure they are reputable and make fair offers. Look for complaints with the BBB.
  5. Get agreements in writing: Verbal promises may not be fulfilled – so document scope of work, timelines for closure, fees covered, property access, etc all in writing first. Consulting an attorney first never hurts.

1. Buy-and-Hold Investment

This strategy helps the investors to build their portfolio in the real estate industry over time.

Buy-and-Hold investment option can be used by individuals who want to earn passive income from renting the property.

Before buying the property, they calculate their annual expenses against the potential profit using a cap rate to determine whether the individual investment is worth it.

On the other hand, corporate investors can buy a home to either grow their portfolio or for forecasting improved market conditions.

2. House-Flip Investment

Typical home flippers are individuals or companies who buy houses, renovate them, and then sell them for profit.

While the level of renovation needed and the time to complete the facelift differs for each home to another as well as the conditions of the local market, the goal of this strategy is to profit-based.

Therefore, for each resale of a home, they must make a net profit after all renovation expenses have been factored in.

3. Wholesale Investment

This strategy is used by investors who buy properties and make a quick resale even without making any renovations.

They purchase homes at below market value, intending to sell to another investor for a higher price.

Successful wholesalers usually have an extensive list of buyers lined up beforehand and use direct marketing to identify inactive or off-market homes they can buy inexpensively.

As a seller of old houses, this could consider this option.

4. Buy/Flip/Hold Investment

With this type of investment, home investors put together all of the above strategies as well as other options available, making it a hybrid one.

In this case, individuals or companies buy a property whether it’s in a weak or excellent condition, take ample time and financial resources to renovate it, and rent it out at a premium, while maintaining ownership.

Read on for everything you need to know if it is worth it selling your outdated home as-is or you need to fix and stage it.

Fixing and Staging an Old House for Sale. Is it Worth It?

Selling any house can be challenging, depending on the market, but if you have an old home and want to appeal to a wide range of buyers, you may need to take some extra steps to guarantee you that fixing and staging when selling an old house is worth it.

1. Understand your Location

Before selling your old home, you must acknowledge that most potential buyers highly accept an offer if the location is ideal.

Location matters, especially in buyers’ markets where choices are plentiful due to excess inventory.

Buyers will pass up a right home in a wrong location in favor of a less desirable home in a proper area.

For starters, buyers will think twice buying a fixer-upper situated on a busy intersection or freeway, next to a school, or across the street from an entrance to a landfill.

In other words, the sort of undesirable locale that sinks even houses in tip-top shape.

They will always try to find an old property in desirable or up-and-coming neighborhoods that is well-cared-for and mostly owner-occupied.

Why a house won't sell because of location?

These are the most common reasons why a house may not sell because of its location:

  • It is in an undesirable neighborhood with issues like high crime rates that buyers avoid.
  • It is located far from amenities like shopping, schools, parks, public transportation etc. that homebuyers value.
  • The area has environmental issues such as excessive noise, pollutants, natural hazards etc. that make it less appealing.
  • The neighborhood or community lacks curb appeal and buyers perceive it as outdated, rundown, or lacking investment.
  • It is situated in a remote, isolated area far from main roads/highways that is inconvenient for most buyers.
  • The school district the house is zoned for is low-performing and turns away buyers with families.
  • It is near facilities like landfills, industrial parks, highways etc. that homebuyers see as detrimental.
  • The surrounding houses are lower valued, making it harder for the house to appraise and sell at list price.
  • It is in an area with stagnant or declining property values rather than an appreciating real estate market.

best updates to sell house with wrong location

A house that is not selling because of its location and condition, won’t cut it with standard home selling tips.

Here are some of the best updates to help sell a dated house with a poor location for sellers on minimal budgets:

For a home with high potential value:

Powerwash the exterior, paint the front door an attractive color, update exterior lighting fixtures, and hire a home stager. These visual improvements for less than $5-6000 total can increase curb appeal. Home stagers in particular help generate more interest and viewings 50% faster on average, if the home is properly staged.

For a standard value house:

Clean carpets, repaint interior walls in light neutral colors, replace worn flooring with budget laminates, update lighting fixtures and fixtures, and keep the lawn freshly mowed and landscaping neatly trimmed.

Freshening up the property with minor cosmetic improvements for $3000 or less helps modernize the home’s style. A clean, updated look makes the house more enticing and competitive.

In both cases, if the location is conveniently accessible or near major highways, highlight this in marketing materials as buyers value easy access.

Also emphasize any positive features like ample square footage and storage space if they exceed nearby comparable properties.

With the right small touches, both high end and modest homes can become far more appealing to buyers seeking good value.

2. Understand the Sellers’ Market

If you are a homeowner looking forward to selling your old house, you need to understand the intricacies and shifting signs of the seller’s real estate market because, with more buyers than available homes to buy, this is the best financial market for you.

Serious buyers are often willing to pay more than the listing price, and you can sell your home quickly for more profit.

A buyer can even cover some or all of your closing costs without you asking for it!

The following are signs of a hot seller’s market:

  • More buyers are purchasing, resulting in high numbers of closed sales.
  • ‘For Sale’ signs are replaced by ‘Sold’ signs only after a few days.
  • Comparable sale prices are lower than current listing prices.
  • Inventory is low compared to previous months/years.
  • Less than six months of inventory is on the market.
  • Median sale prices are increasing.
  • Real estate ads are vanishing.

If you are willing to invest a small amount in fixing and staging your old house for sale, then you should consider the below.

We have a blog post on how Home staging on a budget can be challenging, but it’s possible with some careful planning and strategy.

3. Sell after Minor Renovations and Virtual Staging

You can sell your old home and make a good profit out of it if you invest some little money to carry out a few renovations on the most damaged areas and let a virtual staging expert do polish the rest.

The minor repairs can focus on some inexpensive upgrades that buyers can easily spot.

However, beyond any critical modernizations, think about the following easy fixes:

  • Applying a fresh coat of paint, always in a neutral color.
  • Improving lighting by adding fixtures or replacing bulbs.
  • Caulking the bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Cleaning the carpets professionally. 
Play Video about home staging on a budget

When you consider the virtual staging concept of adding virtual renovation photos, your old home will catapult to another level!

All you need to do is: Virtual staging begins with a photographer visiting your house to shoot external and internal areas of your home at specific angles.

Afterward, an expert virtual artist will create stunning versions that show your home’s potential.

These renderings can show an elegantly decorated living room or a decked-out kitchen. The images will explain how your old would look after a complete renovation.

TIP: Make a list of everything that needs to go and sell it online or as a garage sale. The earned money from the sales, can be allocated to cover the marketing spend and virtual staging.

Selling an older property Easy fixes(table)

EASY FIXES
EXPENSIVE FIXES
Virtual Staging
Traditional home staging
Adding a deck
Replacing and adding central HVAC system
Replacing bathroom floors and leaky toilets
Complete kitchen or bath remodels
Fixing broken windows
Installing replacement windows throughout
Installing ceiling fans and new light fixtures
Reroofing, when it involves a tear-off
Replacing baseboards or adding trim
Replacing all plumbing, and sewer lines
Refinishing all floors, or laying tile or carpet
Shoring up the foundation
Painting the exterior
Asbestos removal
Replacing doors
Building garages or additions
Installing and painting kitchen cabinets
Repairing and replacing and electrical faults
Changing out receptacles & light switches
Water heater repairs

Key Takeaway: Virtual staging is an effective way of selling an old home not only because it’s popular today, but also because buyers often have a difficult time figuring out what space might appear if it is empty or if the furniture is unappealing.

Steps to Prepare an Old House for Sale Cost-Effectively

Let’s face it. Not all buyers have the time or the money to renovate a fixer-upper. When your old house needs a lot of work, it can be intimidating to put it on the market as-is. The following are some quick, cost-effective tips for preparing your old house for sale in a cost-effective manner.

We know tons of home staging tips, and are budget friendly staging company!

Not all old homes require equal fixing because most of the things that the inspection process may deem fixable are somewhat subjective.

One homebuyer may point out that he needs a specific part of the house fixed, while another one may feel that everything in the property is a walk in the park.

As the seller, think through your finances, and the extent to which you believe your outdated home is habitable before deciding on a selling price that would not only fetch profit but also avoid constant calls from buyers for a serious renovation.

1. Learn about the Buyer Pool of Fixer-uppers

Consider buyer pools when selling an old house
Consider buyer pools when selling an old house
  • Buyers of fixer-uppers usually see potential over perfection, and they are of three types.
  • Flippers who want to buy old homes and sell at a profit;
  • Deal Hunters who wish to live in a specific location or neighborhood and buying a fixer-upper is the best option;
  • Remodelers have ready money but are yet to land a perfect home in a particular area. They choose to buy a fixer-upper to remodel it in their envisioned design. 

2. Clean up your Front Yard and Remove All Outdoor Clutter

When sell home as fsbo consider cleaning front and back yards
When sell home as fsbo consider cleaning front and back yards

While landscaping stands out as one of the most vital undertakings for making an excellent first impression to buyers, it does not stop there.

You must clean up the entire compound as well, which could save you a lot of money hiring expensive landscape designers by simply uprooting weeds and overgrow hedges, mowing grass, and planting a few flower pots to leave the outdoor sparkling with magnificence.

Furthermore, a neatened outdoor enhances photos for the virtual staging process.

3. Make Small Updates Around the House

Sell your older home with small updates
Sell your older home with small updates

If you can or can’t afford to make expensive, timely renovations, smaller fixes around your old house is worth your time, money, and effort.

The less minor updates you do, the more equity you are giving up to increase the value of your house because it takes a buyer twice as much money to make the same repairs the seller could make.

Typical small repairs include landscaping, patching holes, fixing broken doors and hinges, caulking the bathroom, replacing knobs for kitchen cabinets, deep cleaning stained tubs and toilets, treating stains in your carpet, etc.

In this post we’ve explained how DIY home makeover not only has the potential to change the trajectory of their life, but it can also be a rewarding experience.

4. Include Renovation Loans in your Listing

Sell that old house with renovaiton loan
Sell that old house with renovaiton loan

Renovation loans are valuable tools when selling your fixer-upper. It’s advisable to instruct your real estate agent to ensure your listing contains details about renovation loans, which can be discussed with potential buyers.

If buyers go for it, they can calculate the projected renovation costs and add it to the total value of the loan.

Instead of selling your old house and leaving buyers to set aside funds for renovations, including such loans helps them seize the opportunity for getting a higher loan amount for more extensive restorations.

In this post we’ve explained how several factors can affect the cost of a renovation project

5. Highlight the Unique Turnkey Features your Home

Highlight turnkey features when selling house in poor condition
Highlight turnkey features when selling house in poor condition

The astounding even outdated turnkey features of your home make it unique, but if you don’t highlight them, you’ll be losing many potential buyers looking for specifics.

You need to market the best features of your house because they could make all the difference in closing a sale.

In your listing, refer to things like great views, a fireplace, closet size, master suite, a home office, a patio, big storage, an open floor plan, garage space, big windows for natural light, etc.

You can also describe some neighborhood features, such as parks and good school districts.

6. Ensure the Pricing of your Home is Right

Make sure the price is right when selling house as fsbo
Make sure the price is right when selling house as fsbo

Selling a fixer-upper isn’t about making the property look picture-perfect and overpricing it even if it’s cleaned up for listing. As cliché as it may sound, the right price attracts the right buyer.

Engage an expert realtor to help you calculate the actual value of your outdated home if it were remodeled.

After that, make a list of the needed upgrades against their approximated costs, and separate the most important ones from those your house can do without.

Which ones can you afford to do yourself?

Which will you leave to the buyer?

Subtract the costs the buyer would incur from the value of the home. The resulting figure is the right pricing!

How Can You List an Old House as FSBO with Disclaimer?

FSBO is a real estate acronym denoting “for sale by owner” and indicates the process of selling your property without a broker. 

As an owner of an old house, you can actually list the property without a real estate agent, by taking up all the responsibilities of selling your home and pocketing the cost you’d have paid the agent on commissions.

A disclaimer essentially means to home buyers that you are selling your property without revealing any information about its condition.

A real estate agent typically charges a service fee of up to 7% of the selling price.

While the direct sale is not a complicated process, you need to understand the prerequisites of successfully selling your fixer-upper for profit as FSBO with a disclaimer.

It critically depends on your ability to list and market it to potential buyers as well as handling the legal process of closing the sale. 

Below are the essential tips on how to list your old house as FSBO with a disclaimer:

1. Use Powerful Adjectives in the Listing

Do you know searching online is the first step taken by more than 50% of homebuyers? This means that the listing description of your old house matters a lot.

To write a real estate listing description that can sell a house not in a good state it is different from the normal listings. You have to describe your old home accurately and with compelling terms.

Words like “vacant,” “motivated sellers,” “must-sell,” and “value” will fend off any potential buyer, making your listing ineffective in the end.

Instead, use attention-grabbing words such as “beautiful,” “landscaping,” “curb appeal,” “lush,” “gourmet,” and “meticulous” within the listing, while staying truthful. 

In this post we’ve explained how to describe an old house for sale in your listing advertisement.

2. Gather Sufficient Information to Draft Your Listing

Gathering essential information that will make your listing stand out is very important. As a rule of the thumb, you’ll need the following info in addition to the description: 

Home Data – This includes quantifiable information such as year built, square footage of the interior, bedroom and bathroom count, lot size in square feet, parking arrangements as well as the heating and cooling configurations.

Photos – Your home’s photos can make or break your listing. Tallbox recommends incorporating sufficient natural light for your photos, using photos that highlight sweeping views, and a minimum of one shot per room and hallway of your old property. Multiple exterior images is also an added advantage. 

3. Use Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

MLS listing is an easy and cost-effective way to make your fixer-upper listing gain the much-needed exposure without depending on a professional broker.

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a service used by real estate brokers who allow themselves to view each other’s listings of properties for sale.

While FSBO homes were traditionally not listed on MLS systems, you can now seize this opportunity by negotiating with a Realtor for a flat-fee listing of your old home.

You can quickly sell your old home for profit because your listing got ahead of many buyers’ agents. 

4. Advertise Widely

Always consider advertising your old property to boost your FSBO marketing campaign using the following platforms:

Real Estate Websites – Reach millions of potential buyers by posting your FSBO listing directly on consumer-facing property websites such as Zillow and Trulia for US and Rightmove and Zoopla for the UK, which does not charge you a dime! 

FSBO Sites – With many FSBO sites available today, you need to manage your budget and selection carefully. Go with the well-known ones, such as FSBO.com, which offers a six-month listing package of approximately $100. Others include theMLS.com, Realtor.com, etc.

YouTube Channel – Video tours of your old house can be professionally done and posted on YouTube. Rather than hiring a professional videographer, save money by asking a friend to edit and produce it for you.

Your own website – While a dedicated website needs extra effort, creating one may be worthwhile in buyers’ markets if your home is generally unique. If you’re not an experienced Web developer, use a hosting and site builder like to host your website until you sell your old house. 

5. Understand the Legal Paperwork Process

Remember to close the sale requires you to complete legal paperwork as soon as you get an interested buyer. You must understand all real estate laws governing such transactions as per the location of your old home.

In most jurisdictions, buyers and sellers use a standard real estate sales contract.

However, it’s advisable to verify any information you find from the Internet using a real estate attorney or escrow agent who can help you ensure that all closing paperwork is satisfactory.

If you’re uncomfortable taking up the legal paperwork process single-handedly, consider hiring a fee-only broker in order to close the sale successfully.

How to Sell Outdated Home at the Right Price as FSBO?

The most crucial factor to think through when selling old outdated home the right pricing. When you want to list your old house for sale as FSBO, you must pick the absolute right price tag depending on its Worth, its condition, its size, the market rate, and active listings.

Below are some of the key ways to avoid the pricing dilemma and settling on the right price.

1. Research the Market before Listing Your Price

Conducting an objective analysis of your local housing market is key to setting the right listing price of your old home.

While it should be “objective,” often, FSBO sellers allow emotions to interfere with such an intellectual exercise.

Simply examine and compare the prices of recently sold old homes in your area to give you a hint of the most competitive list price.

The results of your market research will help you set a list price that mirrors your objectives and projected profit.

If you want to move out sooner, place a lower list price, but if you can wait longer for the right buyer, set a higher list price.

2. Consult a Listing Agent to Set a Realistic Price

You can use a local agent with excellent experience in selling outdated homes to help you analyze your local market comprehensively.

They should know how to interpret comps, or the most recent comparable sales as well as the latest sales patterns.

With this information, the listing agent can take into consideration your objectives and motivations, including the length of time you are comfortable to wait before selling the property then set a realistic list price.

3. Look into Sold Comparables

You should make a comparison of the original list prices of old houses with the final sales prices to determine the price reductions.

Then make another comparison of the final list prices with the actual sold prices to determine ratios.

Typically, many seller’s markets usually close sales for more than 100% of list prices. However, in a buyer’s market, homes generally sell for the actual list price or even less.

In order to arrive at the right price for your old home, adjust pricing for differences in lot size, configuration, and renovations.

4. Compare the Cost per Square Foot

To arrive at the approximate appraised value of your old house for sale as FSBO, you need to carry out a comparison of homes with similar square footage.

Appraisers prefer staying within 10% of net square footage calculations.

For instance, if the old house is 4,000 square feet, comparable homes would be between 3,600 to 2,400 square feet.

Keep in mind that the price per square foot increases with a decrease in size and vice versa.

Furthermore, smaller homes have a more significant square foot cost, while bigger ones have a lesser square foot cost.

Old House Pricing Tip: In hot sellers’ markets where homes regularly sell beyond the asking price, a lower list price may prompt a bidding war that would end up making you sell your old house for a much higher profit than anticipated.

How to Avoid Price Reduction before Home Inspection When Selling Old House as FSBO

Caveat-emptor-and-what-to-look-for-before-buying-a-property
Avoid Price Reduction before Home Inspection When Selling Old House by TALLBOX

Here, the idea is to fix the most critical problems before home inspection when you are selling your old house as FSBO.

Expect to have buyers demanding for a physical inspection of the property or crosschecking related reports when you decide to go the FSBO route.

To avoid price reduction before the home inspection, choose an accredited home inspection specialist, before making the commitment to list it, and complete the sale. 

The following are some of the most sought home inspection issues that you should focus on to avoid price reduction when selling an old house as FSBO and before accepting any offers. 

1. Roof Certifications

Issued by an accredited roofer, a roof certification refers to a statement of opinion that warranties that the rooftop of your old house has at least 1-3 year life expectancy or more.

If the inspection report does not include evidence that the age and condition of the roof make your home ready for the real estate market, you will have to dig into your pockets to ensure the roof is certified as a good business practice.

In case your property requires any roof repairs to extend the life expectancy for one, two, or three years, the buyer must be satisfied before a certification is issued by the licensed roofer. 

2. Home Warranty

A home warranty is a one-year service product agreement that covers the repair or replacement of essential home appliances and other related system components that usually fail or deteriorate in quality over time.

Home warranties are significant in real estate transactions involving fixer-upper homes because they protect you and the buyer from making unforeseen expenditures on breakdowns.

While a few sellers avoid paying for a home warranty, you need it for your outdated home because it acts as insurance against unwarranted late-night phone calls from the time of listing to the weeks or months following the closing. 

3. Pest Inspections

During a pest inspection, an inspector checks both the interior and exterior of your property for any signs of plague, damage, or pest infestation.

While it’s a home inspection that predominantly inspects wood, the pest inspection process assesses every part of your old home.

Even if your state or local area has never had a pest problem, its’s prudent to inspect every part of your outdated home for damage from ants, beetles, or termites before giving a sale offer.

Otherwise, you’ll have to incur any repair expenses based on the disapproval of the inspection.

4. Sewer Line Inspections

Sewer line inspections are essential for your outdated home because as properties age, so do their sewer lines.

The underground pipes may have developed cracks and clogs as well as collapsed lines resulting from the pressure exerted by crisscrossing tree roots over the years.

The inspector carries out the process by attaching a video camera to a snake line to record the state of the sewer and other problems inside the pipes.

You must also ensure that your septic tanks are checked out.

However, you will spend a big chunk of money if you consider the cost of replacing a sewer line because a property can sit hundreds of feet above a sewer system.

5. Engineering Reports

The engineering report is a physical survey report that constitutes a vital part of the due diligence on real estate property carried out by first-class architects and other specialists to assess the physical conditions of buildings.

This investigation requires advanced technical skills and proficiency of architects who can give an impartial perspective of your outdated home and if it’s fit for the market after making natural hazard or geological disclosures.

They also assess the potential risks of nearby landfills, contamination reports, and other detrimental resale hazards.

Conclusion

Are you looking for affordable marketing to sell your outdated house?

Listing your home with the tips in this post will help even a tiny marketing budget go a long way.

Don’t disregard your old home yet!

  • Selling an older home gets easy with the right combination of some TLC
  • Make your house sell with Smart realtor who will ensure buyers know their options
  • Repair the house virtually with Tallbox to help your home’s selling point

your house will probably sell faster than you expect, and for a good profit!

FAQ

Can you sell an outdated property with an agent who seems to sell only modern and new homes?

It is possible to sell an outdated property even if your agent typically sells more modern and new homes.

It may require some extra effort on both your part and the agent’s part. 

  • Price the home appropriately

An outdated home will likely not fetch as high of a price as a newly renovated home. Be realistic when setting the asking price. Consider recent sales of comparable outdated properties in your area.

  • Highlight original features

While outdated, many midcentury or vintage homes have beautiful original details like wood paneling, tile, and unique architecture. Play up these features when marketing the home to attract buyers who appreciate them.

  • Find the right buyer

Look for buyers who are specifically seeking out vintage homes and appreciate original details over modern renovations. They are out there but may be a niche audience.

  • Consider minor updates

Small updates like paint, landscaping, and decluttering can make a big difference in perceived condition without significant investment. But be careful not to over-update or renovate in a way that ruins original character.

  • Hire an experienced agent

Find an agent experienced in selling vintage or outdated homes. They will better understand how to market the unique features and find qualified buyers.

Be patient

It may take longer to find the right buyer. Be prepared to wait for someone who appreciates the home as-is rather than taking a low offer from someone looking for a fixer-upper.

best way to sell Unusuall property that needs work?

Here are some unusual but potentially effective ways to sell an old house that needs work:

  • Raffle it off – Sell tickets for a raffle drawing to win the house. The buyer assumes responsibility for repairs.
  • Auction it – Hire an auction company to generate bids and urgency. Disclose repair needs thoroughly.
  • Trade it – Swap with owners of a similarly valued updated house who want a fixer-upper project.
  • Reality show – Pitch the renovation project to TV producers for exposure and free repairs in return for filming rights.
  • Essay contest – Have interested buyers submit essays on how they’d renovate it and why they deserve it.
  • Lease-to-own – Find a buyer who leases the property first then buys once they’ve saved up and handles repairs.
  • Owner financing – Become the bank and hold a mortgage for a buyer lacking traditional financing.
  • Relocation program – Donate the house to a nonprofit that moves houses and provides renovations.
  • Barter – Propose trades of your other assets like cars, boats, jewelry etc. to cover the house cost.
  • Social media campaign – Use platforms like TikTok and Instagram to market the “charm” of a fixer-upper.

The key is finding alternative ways to market and fund the sale creatively to buyers who see potential value despite the needed repairs. The right buyer may respond to an unusual pitch for an old home needing renovations.

do houses built in 1910 have asbestos?

Houses built in 1910 have a moderate to high chance of containing some asbestos materials. Here are a few key details:

  • Asbestos usage in building materials became very commonplace toward the end of the 19th century and was extremely popular from the 1900s through the 1970s.
  • The most common asbestos-containing materials found in homes built around 1910 are pipe and boiler insulation, asbestos cement, floor tiles, heat-resistant textiles, and roof shingles. Asbestos was valued for its heat resistance and affordability.
  • Vermiculate attic insulation contaminated with asbestos was very seldom used in homes before the 1950s. So that’s less likely to be an issue in 1910s homes.
  • Many aspects of construction, renovation, and demolition can disturb contained asbestos and release fibers if materials are not properly handled. This could put occupants at risk of exposure.
  • The only way to know for sure if a 1910s house contains asbestos is to have a qualified asbestos inspector take samples for laboratory analysis. They can then guide proper containment or abatement protocols as needed.

is buying an old house a bad idea?

Buying an old house is not inherently a bad idea, but it does come with unique advantages and challenges that are important to consider:

Potential advantages:

  • Old homes have character and craftsmanship that tends to add historic charm, aesthetics, and uniqueness that many homebuyers find appealing
  • They are often located in desirable, centralized urban areas or neighborhoods
  • Solid woodwork, higher ceilings, large lots, and layouts not found in modern cookie-cutter developments
  • Can be purchased for less than newer homes

Potential challenges:

  • More likely to need major systems upgrades for plumbing, electric, HVAC that can be costly
  • Increased risk of deterioration, weatherization, roof, or foundation issues
  • Safety hazards like asbestos, lead pipes, knob and tube wiring
  • Could have structural damage from shifting foundation requiring repairs
  • Stricter lending criteria when financing older homes
  • Insurance premiums could be higher
  • Complications with permitting zoning during renovations

Tips if buying an old home:

  • Budget extra for repairs/upgrades
  • Hire inspectors to thoroughly analyze condition
  • Confirm it fits the lifestyle you want long-term
  • Protect yourself with contingencies and home warranties

Selling fixer upper, use these realtor tricks to make house smell good

When selling fixer upper it’s always a challenge, especially if there are strong smells present. Here are some clever tricks about how to use the Best smells for an open house, used by realtors use to make a house smell appealing during open houses or showings:

  1. Bake cookies or cinnamon rolls. The sweet aromas remind buyers of home and family. Just before showings, bake Nestle toll house cookies or Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.
  2. Simmer cinnamon sticks and vanilla. Keep a small pot with water, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla extract simmering on the stove. The cinnamon and vanilla provide a warm, inviting scent.
  3. Use essential oil diffusers. Strategically place diffusers with refreshing essential oils like lemon, lavender, or jasmine around the home. The lightweight scents aren’t overpowering.
  4. Sprinkle coffee grounds. Place open bowls filled with coffee grounds around the kitchen and living spaces. As guests move around, the coffee smell wafts through the air.
  5. Boil lemon water. Boil a pot of water with lemon wedges right before showings. As it slowly cools, the clean, fresh citrus scent lingers.
  6. Set out fragrant flowers. A vase of fresh lilies, gardenias, or orchids adds color while also emitting pleasant aromas.
  7. Apply vanilla extract. Dot a bit of vanilla extract onto cotton balls placed inconspicuously around the home. The vanilla creates a soothing vibe.
  8. Clean with scented products. Use scented all-purpose cleaners and floor polish with appealing tropical, floral, or fruit smells as you tidy up.