Selling a House that Needs Major Repairs
Hanging onto an old rental property that’s not produced the kind of passive income stream you’d hoped for—and that’s been a huge hassle to maintain—can be as emotionally burdensome as it is financially draining. Even your own home can weigh you down if you’re now living on a fixed income that barely covers the mortgage, let alone the cost of upkeep.
The fact is, owning and caring for a home is not always all it’s cracked up to be, especially as the house ages and its repair needs grow.
At some point, getting out from under any home that has become more trouble than it’s worth starts to look better than continually trying to fix it up.
Selling a house that needs repairs, however, can also be difficult—particularly when the work required is time and labor-intensive and, as a result, extremely expensive. So, let’s take a look at some of the specific problems you could face and what you can do to solve them.
The Problem With Selling a House that Needs Repairs
The biggest problem with selling a house that needs repairs is that, depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done, buyers may not be willing to take the rehab on themselves. They may still make an offer, but ask that you perform some or all of the work before they move in—or, at least, give them a big reduction in price.
If you’re trying to sell a house with rats or other pests, or one that is infested with mold, or has structural damage, buyers probably won’t make an offer at all.
Additionally, lenders don’t typically approve loans for major fixers. So, even if you find a home buyer who has the experience as well as the enthusiasm to get in there and perform the repairs on their own, their lender will likely feel less thrilled—and put a stop to the deal before it starts. It’s a situation that ends up disappointing everyone.
When you’ve been waiting for months for the right buyer to come along who isn’t afraid to purchase your property in its current condition, it’s that much more frustrating when they or their bank backs out.
It can become increasingly expensive for you, too, if with each passing day the home’s problems keep getting worse.
Putting Off Repairs Can Take Things From Bad to Worse
Some problems in the home get worse the longer they go unfixed. Some are even bad from the start, though it’s easy to think otherwise because major damage isn’t always obvious.
Common issues found in the bathroom are a perfect example. The presence of rust under or around the sink and mildew in the corners or along the walls frequently gets dismissed as ordinary wear-and-tear that will go away with one good spring cleaning. If the house is older, ignoring the potential severity of these problems gets even easier.
Since these seemingly small issues are often symptoms of much bigger problems—like water damage caused by leaking pipes or a tree’s root system compromising the plumbing—they should never be ignored.
Water damage, no matter the original cause, can spread quickly from the walls to the floor and harm the integrity of the home’s structure. The mold that quickly grows afterward will do the same. It’ll also make you and your family sick.
Since selling a house with water damage—or any other major issue that crops up—is always going to be harder than you first think, you might consider performing repairs.
Performing Repairs Comes With Its Own Problems
Performing repairs comes with its own problems, however. First: money! In the example above, just breaking into the walls to uncover the depth of water damage is costly. When combined with the average cost of drying out the affected areas of the house, replacing drywall or flooring, and fixing the cause of the leak, you’re looking at a bill that can push upwards of $10,000.
Replacing the roof, repairing a cracked foundation, and updating an outdated electrical system with knob and tube wiring before you sell will cost you, too. If you decide to do a renovation on more than one system in the home, you could end up falling into a financial hole.
In addition to spending more money than you anticipated performing repairs, you could quickly find yourself in a serious time crunch.
The renovation of a home that needs major work can take three to nine months to get the house market-ready.
How to Address Repairs
It takes time to hire a contractor you can trust as well as other experts, like electricians. In some markets, construction trades are also stretched so thin that many of them won’t be able to start on your house right away. The availability of materials and weather conditions can also impact your timeline.
Therefore, instead of choosing outright to rehab a house that needs major repairs to attract more buyers, be sure to do one or all of the following first:
- List all known issues with your home, big and small. Everything from windows and doors that don’t properly shut to a dishwasher that works on all but one cycle should be included in the list.
- Hire a home inspector to examine your home from basement to attic and provide a report of defects you may not have been aware of.
- Individual inspections. It’s not a bad idea to get individual inspections done on the electrical and sewer systems, the foundation and soil, and to check for asbestos, mold, and lead-based paint as well.
- Price out the repairs you can handle yourself and obtain at least three estimates on the items you’ll need professional help with.
- Research the potential market value of your home if it were rehabbed and compare this number with how much you’d net by skipping the expense of renovation and selling as-is.
- Make one call to a local real estate advisor who can run the numbers for you and help you decide whether you should renovate or not.
The Simplest Solution for Your Difficult Situation
Sellers who are seeking a solution that provide the quickest, easiest return on the sale of their problematic home benefit by giving Sell Your House Direct a call. That’s because we provide a report that adds up your potential costs for fixing up your house and listing it with a real estate agent. Then, we show you what you’d actually net from the sale and compare this number to an as-is offer from an all-cash buyer, like us.
It might be in your best interest to perform a renovation and list the home at full market value, especially when you’ve got the money and time to invest. But, you may actually profit more by selling a house that needs major repairs as-is to either the cash-buyers at SYHD or to one of our colleagues. Our one-page, ‘net sheet’ is designed to help you make that distinction depending on your individual situation.
We charge zero fees and zero commissions for our services, too.
Why? Because we know that owning a home is not always all it’s cracked up to be. We also know that selling a house can, and should, be a better experience than it’s ever expected to be—even one that is a major fixer.