Trying to Sell a Run Down House

sell a run down house

There are lots of reasons why someone might let their home or investment property get run down.

Lack of funds for repairs, an elderly owner unable to clean or paint, or a life event that interferes with taking the time to do needed maintenance, can all lead to issues that make a home difficult to sell.

Many of the same reasons that result in a home becoming run down can also lead an owner to sell their home. Depending on the situation and the severity of the needed repairs, trying to sell a run down house may be a lot more difficult than a similar home in better condition.

However, difficult does not have to mean impossible. One of the best ways to sell a run down house is to offer it to buyers looking for a bargain who might be able to do a lot of the work themselves.

Advertise it as a “handyman special.” Put up listings and flyers where contractors and construction workers are likely to see them. A blue-collar worker who dreams of owning his own home might see potential in a property in places where others see only disrepair.

Try to minimize the visual impact of the needed maintenance.

Minor repairs and updates to the front entrance, kitchen, and bathroom are relatively inexpensive but can make a big difference in a buyer’s first impression.

Prioritize those types of repairs over other more expensive jobs. For example, consider having unsightly kitchen cabinets painted rather than replaced.

Another cheap method to increase the curb appeal of a run down house is through some quick do-it-yourself landscaping. Are there unseemly patches in the lawn where the grass has died?

Plant posies or marigolds on them, and surround the flower patch with a border of small rocks. It will look intentional instead of ugly.

One absolutely vital step in selling a run down house is removing the clutter. Many people who have lived in a home for a long time have let their possessions build up, and the prospect of dealing with it can seem overwhelming.

However, if the objects prevent prospective buyers from seeing the size of the rooms, inspecting the state of the walls and windows, or accessing storage areas such as basements and attics, they will severely impact the final selling price of the home. Deal with the mess before photographing or listing the house.

Consider having a contractor come through the home to do estimates on the necessary repairs.

Leave these estimates out for visitors to the home to see.That way, even if the seller can’t afford or isn’t interested in doing repairs, buyers are shown the potential in the home and also get an idea of the true cost of fixing it up.

Sell a run down house

Even with all of these suggestions in place, it may still take a long time to sell a run down house. If the owner is in a hurry to sell for whatever reason, this may not be acceptable.

There are many companies who will buy the home quickly as an investment property.

They can be found online, through TV and radio commercials, and on roadside signs, often with taglines stating “We buy any house!” or similar.


These buyers will only pay about 60 to 75 percent of what the owner might get by listing the home in a more traditional way, but they are going to be a lot quicker.

For a newly unemployed owner who desperately needs to get out from under an old loan, a child with a sick, elderly parent who can’t afford their care, or any facing serious financial distress due to owning a home, these companies can offer a way out.

It’s not easy to sell a home in need of repairs. Buyers often want a dream home, not a project. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.


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