4 Tips for Selling a House in Poor Condition

Dated: January 13 2024

Views: 4494

Turning Lemons into Lemonade:

4 Tips for Selling a House in Poor Condition

Here in central Pennsylvania, our agents at Ramus Realty Group often get calls from property owners who need to sell a house in less-than-perfect condition. They may ask us what to do with a vacant, dilapidated house that must be sold quickly for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s an estate situation where the owner failed - or was unable - to make repairs over the past few years due to poor health or money situations. “Can I even sell this house?” we hear regularly.

Selling a house in poor condition might seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies, you can turn the situation around and find a buyer who sees the potential in your property. In this post, we'll explore tips to help you sell a house that may need a little extra TLC.

Before we list the tips, know that there are various shades of “poor condition” and how you sell it depends on how bad the situation is and the reason why. Some buyers think “poor condition” means the roof and furnace are at the end of their life and carpets are worn out. To others the definition of poor condition is inhabitable or condemned. 

Know that no matter where a property sits on the spectrum of “poor condition” we can help you sell it. Priced and marketed correctly, it will sell - most likely to an investor, a contractor or a handyman looking for a new project. 

Why is the property in poor condition? 

Situations vary. A Condemned Notice may be on the front door - which scares people right away - but that does not mean the house is going to fall down or is uninhabitable. In some instances, the city may put a notice on the door simply because the water is shut off to the house. 

If the property is condemned, why? Was there a fire? Is the water turned off? Has the Code officer inspected the inside and determined it is unsafe? 

If it’s in disrepair and hasn’t been repaired or maintained recently, what exactly needs to be done to become habitable? Knowledge is power and if we are going to help you sell your property, we need to know the extent of the damage and if there are any city or township violations on file. 

Highlight Potential and Possibilities:

One of the key challenges of selling a house in poor condition is overcoming the initial negative impression potential buyers may have. Instead of focusing on the current state of the property, emphasize its potential and possibilities. 

Provide a list of potential improvements and renovations that can be made, highlighting the potential return on investment for the buyer. 

Investing a bit in cleaning and tidying up your property is a good idea to make it more appealing. Keep the outside clean, mow the lawn and trim bushes. These are easy to do and help make a better first impression. Inside, if there is trash and debris inside, arrange for a clean out. If you cannot do this, adjust the price downward to accommodate the dumpster and cleanout a buyer will need. 

Transparent Communication:

Honesty is crucial when selling a house in poor condition. Be transparent about the existing issues, but also communicate the steps you've taken to address them or potential solutions. Always tell the truth - even if you don't know the answer to a buyer's questions. Don't guess or try to sugar coat an answer. "I don't know," is a valid answer if you truly have no information to give. 

If a property is slightly outdated or hasn’t been maintained well, especially in an estate situation, consider obtaining a pre-inspection and addressing any major concerns before listing the property. This can help build trust with potential buyers and show them that you are committed to resolving issues. 

Even if you don’t want to make repairs, presenting a buyer with a home inspection up front helps in negotiating an “as is” sale. Your listing agent can show the inspection to a buyer and say “Make an offer knowing that this is the house’s present condition and we are selling it AS IS.” Of course the buyer is free to hire their own inspectors, but doing your own inspection prior to listing lets everyone know what they are getting into.

Include detailed information about the condition of the house in your listing, accompanied by high-quality photos that showcase both the challenges and the potential. Transparency will help set realistic expectations for potential buyers and can ultimately lead to a smoother transaction process.

Flexible Pricing and Negotiation:

When selling a house in poor condition, it's essential to be realistic about pricing. Our agents frequently sell “as is” properties and know how to market them to investors. We will help you determine a fair and competitive price that reflects the property's current state. 

Be very careful not to overprice the home. Consider pricing the house slightly below market value to attract potential buyers willing to invest in renovations. Be open to negotiations and flexible with your terms. 

By showing flexibility and a willingness to work with buyers, you increase the likelihood of finding the right buyer who sees the long-term value in the investment.

Selling a house in poor condition may present challenges, but by focusing on the potential, being transparent, and adopting a flexible approach, you can increase your chances of a successful sale. Remember, there are buyers out there looking for a project, and with the right strategies, you can turn your property into an attractive opportunity.

Our agents at Ramus Realty Group are here to help you sell your property - no matter what condition it is in. Call us today to see how we can help take a burden off your shoulders and get your fix-up property sold this year and cash in your pocket now. 

Reach out - we can help!

Office: 570.622.6006 - https://www.ramusrealty.com/

Blog author image

Erica Ramus, MRE

Erica Ramus is a Schuylkill County native and a graduate of St. Clair Area High School. She earned degrees at Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (I.B.), University of Delaware Hon....

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