When faced with the prospect of selling a house, the house you have to sell may be far from ideal. Maybe you are broke or on a time crunch, and you don’t have the time to do a paint job or the funds to perform renovations. If this is the case, how do you sell your house?
The answer is, you will probably still be able to sell your house, even if it is a bit of an eyesore. However, you will have to lower the price.
According to Atlanta real estate agent Bruce Ailion, proper pricing will solve all problems. Ailion manages a hedge fund that buys and renovates homes to rent or flip, in addition to his real estate business. Therefore, he has seen bad houses, including some with cracked foundations, mold, and was able to sell one that had previously belonged to a dog hoarder. With this in mind, chances are your home is not unsellable. You will simply have to sell it for a lower price.
You will probably have to sell an ugly house for less money than a better-looking one. However, this can be better than not being able to sell it at all. For how much less will you have to sell your house? According to real estate agent Bill Golden, a good rule of thumb is to subtract the cost of any repairs and renovations needed from the asking price. You may need to lower the price a bit more beyond that to cover the “hassle factor”, as the buyer will have to arrange the repairs and might discover unexpected costs.
Don’t assume the worst about your house. You might think no one will buy it, but that is likely not the case. Kella McCaskill, a real estate agent in Florida, considers the following list of issues to be minor – even though they probably seem major to you.
- – Outdated house
- – Flooring isn’t very good
- – You have no air conditioning
- – The outside of the house looks shabby
- – There is junk everywhere
- – You have mold and mildew issues
Major issues include structural damage, drywall problems, and water damage. In other words, if the house isn’t falling apart, you have a good chance of selling it for a decent price. Just don’t expect to get top dollar for it.
If you are giving a tour of the house to a potential buyer, it pays to be honest and transparent. Don’t act as though obvious problems are not there or try to downplay them. If you do this, you will look shifty and untrustworthy, and no one will want to buy a suboptimal house from a shady dealer. However, you should maintain a positive attitude. Say things like “Because this house is a mess, you can get a great deal on it.”
Chantay Bridges, a real estate agent from Los Angeles, advises you to clean your house. Maybe you can’t afford to hire a professional cleaner, but you can try to do some cleaning yourself. Use bleach to rid the home of unpleasant smells. Placing a cup of bleach in each room can help to neutralize odors. Carpets should be shampooed and walls washed, and Ajax and Windex should be used, says Bridges. “Do everything you can to present your home in the best possible condition.” She also advises you to clean up trash, as potential buyers will want to imagine themselves living in the space, and piles of garbage can make that difficult. Get some garbage bags and clear the house of junk. You should also do whatever you can outside to make the yard look better, such as trimming trees, mowing grass, and cleaning up dead leaves, not to mention sweeping the sidewalks and washing the outside of the house. While you’re at it, it is a good idea to also clean up the garage and straighten out the house’s exterior.
According to Bridges, buyers will open cabinets and look through drawers, so they should be cleaned and wiped down. While you’re at it, check the closets. They should be spruced up, with towels folded neatly.
A tip from Brad Chandler, the CEO of a real estate company called Express Homebuyers, is to remove a lot of the furniture. Doing this can improve the appearance of everything in the home. Mike Minihan, the managing broker of Terrace 24 Realty in Atlanta, agrees with this sentiment. He advises would-be sellers to get rid of clutter and knickknacks, leaving only the most essential furniture. Then, the next step is to “clean and scrub everything from top to bottom”. This will make a good impression on buyers. Even if a house isn’t perfect, being spotless at least will work in its favor.
According to Minihan, staged homes tend to work better because oftentimes buyers lack imagination and can have a hard time imagining their furniture and belongings in an empty house. However, he advises sellers with dumpy houses to clear their home of ugly furniture and trashy decorations, because in this case, the house will look better empty. Dilapidated furniture is more likely to hinder a buyer’s imagination than help, and when you are selling a dumpy house, you are looking for a buyer with imagination. Although most real estate agents recommend showing staged homes, Minihan suggests an empty house in this case.
Try to have confidence in this process. Provided that a home is safe to live in, chances are it will be sold. Bridges says that she once had to sell a home that had dogs living in the bedrooms, mushrooms growing through the floors, and extremely bad smells. But the house was purchased with cash by investors planning to renovate it.
With this information in hand, hopefully, you now feel a sense of relief and are more confident that you will be able to sell your home.