Selling a Condemned House: What You Need to Know

Are you stuck with a condemned house and trying to figure out how to sell it? Or worried that your property is about to be condemned, and curious about your options? Whatever your situation, owning a condemned home can be difficult both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide for everything you need to know about selling condemned property — particularly here in Florida.

What does it mean when a building is condemned?

Simply put, a condemned house is a structure the government has deemed unlivable. This means there needs to be a sign that the building is unworthy of habitation in some way, or it is in violation of housing codes. Who can condemn a house depends on the situation, but the notice is typically served by the city or county.

Reasons to Condemn a House

The reason why your property was condemned will have a large impact on your options, so it’s essential to understand the different criteria for condemning a home:

  • Vacancy if the building has been unoccupied for a certain amount of time, or if utilities have been discontinued.
  • Structural damage, if the building is considered dilapidated, or has experienced weather catastrophe. The property may also be structurally unsound if it is not built to code.
  • Health hazards like inadequate ventilation, lack of proper sanitation, or dangerous electrical systems. Other unhealthy conditions could be a pest infestation, mold, or sites where there are signs of industrial toxins.
  • Eminent domain, which has nothing to do with the condition of the house. If your property is in the path of a large civil project, the government can declare your home condemned and seize it. This situation is unique in that the government will make an effort to compensate you for the market value of your home.

What happens when a house is condemned?

Before a house is officially condemned, the homeowner will be served a notice of condemnation — giving you a limited amount of time before you must appear at a court hearing to address the cited issues and fight to keep possession of your home. This time frame can vary but typically is 30 days. Once a property officially receives the status of “condemned,” it becomes illegal to stay there. The owners, or their tenants, will have to vacate the premises immediately. To keep people out of your condemned property, a sign will likely be affixed to the outside of the house or building that says it’s not fit for habitation. However, that doesn’t always mean that unwelcome visitors will stay out. Condemned properties can also attract squatters, vandals, and trespassers — making it even harder to get the property back into shape. As such, it’s important to decide quickly what you plan to do with the condemned house. At that point, you have two options for what arrangements can be made before you lose control of your property:

Option 1: Making the Repairs Yourself

The owner of the condemned house is often allowed to retain the title for the property in question and given the opportunity to clean up and repair it. So, your first option is to make all the repairs that are needed to put the property in an acceptable condition. Once these renovations are completed, you can appeal the condemnation, have it inspected by the proper authorities, and have the building declared fit for occupancy. Once that is done, you can market the property for sale to the general public. However, that option can be expensive. Often this means investing in major plumbing, electrical, foundation, or roof work. If the property has been uninhabited for some time, you may also be in need of pest control services. Legal counsel might be required to help you navigate the appeal process, which also won’t come cheap. And don’t forget that while all this is going on, you will still be responsible for paying your mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. So, if the problems are structural or widespread throughout the house, the cost and time involved may make that option unworkable for you.

Option 2: Selling the Condemned Property

In those cases, sometimes the best option is to part ways with the property. Can you sell a condemned house? The simple answer is yes… although it’s a little more difficult than just listing the home on the open market.

That’s because real estate brokers will not waste their time listing a property or showing one to their clients unless it has a Certificate of Occupancy and ownership can be legally transferred. Moreover, most buyers on the traditional real estate market require financing, and the vast majority of lenders will not issue a mortgage loan on a condemned house.

In fact, in most Florida counties, a condemned house cannot actually be sold as a structure — instead it is listed and transferred as land. Just keep in mind that the value is reduced because the buyer will have to cover the demolition cost and have the debris hauled away.

Sell your Condemned House to a Cash Buyer

As you can see, selling a condemned property can be tricky… which is why many people opt to sell their condemned house to a cash homebuyer company. They pay cash for houses in any condition, “as is.” Best of all, they take the property off your hands fast! Most deals close in as little as 7 days.

Here at KM Home Buyers, we buy condemned properties throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee, and Polk Counties — and can have a no-obligation cash offer in your hand in as little as 24 hours.

If you have a condemned house and want to chat about your options, we’re here to help. Contact us online or give us a call at 813-213-4884.