How to Sell an Old House That Needs Work

If you own an old house that requires significant renovations or major repairs, selling it the traditional way will take some work. Competing in a crowded real estate market is difficult when you’re trying to sell a house that needs work, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

If you’re looking to sell your house fast, whether it’s outdated or damaged, there are a few different avenues you can take. Read on to learn about 5 things you can do to sell an old house that needs work. 

1. Perform Major Repairs Only 

The first option you have to sell an old house that needs work is to perform major repairs only. If you’re set on selling with a traditional realtor, you’ll need to submit to a presale inspection, which will identify any major issues that must be fixed. These include:

  • Roof repairs or replacement
  • Plumbing repairs
  • Removal of hazardous materials or substances from the property
  • Electrical repairs
  • Pest removal
  • HVAC system repairs or replacement

Since most private buyers aren’t willing to undertake extensive work on a newly purchased property, you’ll have a hard time selling if you neglect major repairs. Some homeowners with tight budgets may be willing to purchase a house with minor to moderate cosmetic damage as long as all major structural and functional components pass inspection. 

2. Renovate Your House

Performing a total home makeover is the most time-consuming and expensive option when it comes to selling an old house that needs work. If you take this avenue, you’ll likely invest tens of thousands of dollars into your property, but that investment could pay off handsomely. 

Prospective buyers are typically attracted to homes that have undergone recent updates, which means a total renovation could help you sell your house fast once you list it. That said, the cost of pursuing this option can be astronomical, so you should only undertake a complete renovation if your current financial situation allows it. 

3. Perform Cosmetic Repairs

If your house is outdated but all the major components of your home are intact, safe, and operational, consider performing cosmetic updates only. You don’t have to make a major investment here — even a few thousand dollars can make your property more attractive to prospective buyers. 

Keep in mind, though, that there’s no guarantee cosmetic updates will yield a significant return on your investment. Since you’ll also need to pay a 5 to 6% realtor commission when you sell your house the traditional way, your profit may be minimal. 

4. Sell Your House in As-Is Condition With a Realtor

If you can’t afford or don’t want to perform a total renovation, pursue major repairs, or perform cosmetic updates, you can list your house with a traditional realtor in as-is condition. That means you list the property without performing any work whatsoever and without any implied or expressed warranties or assurances. 

If you take this route, chances are you’ll have to accept a low offer for your home. Generally, prospective buyers aren’t interested in purchasing damaged or outdated properties unless they have very limited budgets or the funds to pursue the necessary repairs and updates. To offset the cost of the required work, any prospective buyer who extends an offer will generally offer low. 

That said, location is everything in real estate. If the property your house sits on is in a desirable neighborhood, you may still get a decent offer even without performing any work. Keep in mind, though, that most as-is properties sit on the market for an average of three to six months. If you need to sell your house fast, taking the traditional realty route typically isn’t the best option. 

5. Sell Your House to a Cash Home Buyer 

If you need to sell a house that needs substantial work fast, your best option may be to sell it to a cash home buyer. These types of buyers are typically real estate investors who have extensive resources, so they’re willing to purchase homes in any condition. 

When you sell to a cash home buyer, you won’t pay realtor commissions on the sale or any other fees. You’ll get an as-is cash offer from the buyer, and it’s your decision whether you want to accept it. You don’t need to make any repairs or even clean the house — all you need to do is agree to a brief walkthrough and assessment so the buyer can determine what your property is worth in its current condition. 

For many distressed homeowners, cash home buyers provide a lifeline in times of stress and financial overwhelm. These buyers — no matter what you may have heard — are not a scam! If you’re in a tough financial position, it never hurts to explore your options. 

Ready to learn more about selling to a cash home buyer? Check out our frequently asked questions.

Need to Sell Your House Fast?

If you need to sell an old house that needs work and you need to sell it fast, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at KM Home Buyers. We buy houses in any condition and are ready to extend a fair cash offer to purchase your property. To get started, request your no-obligation offer today or give us a call at 813-213-4884.