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What Can I Do if I Inherit a House That Is in Bad Shape?

Did you inherit a fixer-upper house and feel overwhelmed at the amount of work it needs? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Though inheriting a property in bad shape is far from ideal, there are ways to help the process go much smoother. 

According to a recent survey from Coldwell Banker, 80% of Americans said they prefer to buy move-in-ready homes. But don’t lose hope — you still have options available if you inherit a house that’s in poor condition. 

What to do when you inherit a house that needs work

So, what happens if you inherit a house in bad shape? First things first, take a deep breath. We know how daunting it must seem, the key is to focus your energy on the next best step, such as:

Finding a real estate agent: Hiring a great listing agent will streamline the process and help determine which repairs are worth doing. It will be beneficial to choose an agent with experience selling properties as-is so they can guide you through the process. 

Prioritizing repairs: When you inherit a house that needs work, it might be tempting to gut it and start with a blank slate. However, costs can quickly add up and may not provide the return on investment (ROI) that you expect. 

Sell as-is: If the property needs an extensive amount of work done and you don’t have the time, money, or desire to take on a massive renovation project, your best option might be to sell as-is. Selling a house as-is means you likely won’t have to put much (or any) money into it before finding a buyer. 

Pros & cons of selling your house as-is

Before deciding to sell your house as-is, it may be helpful to explore the potential advantages and drawbacks. 


  • Timeline: One of the biggest draws of selling as-is is the ability to put your house on the market and close the deal sooner. If you decided to do renovations, it would be better to hold off on listing to maximize your offers. 
  • More money in your pocket: Selling as-is won’t require you to spend as much on repairs as a traditional sale process. When you market your property as-is, you are setting buyer expectations that you will do minimal if any repair work.


  • Lower offers: One of the biggest cons to selling as-is is you will likely have to sell your property for less than its actual market value. This will depend on how extensive the repair work is. If buyers know they will have to spend thousands for repair work, they will likely lowball you.
  • May still require some repairs: Even though you’re selling as-is, you may still need to make a few repairs before you get any bites. These will likely be deal-breaking repairs such as structural issues or pest infestations. 

What not to fix when selling a house

When you inherit a property that needs extensive repairs, you need to prioritize the work. We mentioned this above, but it’s worth reiterating — speak with a local real estate agent to help determine which repairs will provide the best ROI in the current market. 

  • Normal wear and tear: Cosmetic issues are one thing you shouldn’t bother with — as most buyers are ok with doing cosmetic fixes themselves. So if you’re itching to fix the leaky faucet, old paint, or outdated fixtures, think again. 
  • Old appliances: If you have outdated appliances such as an old refrigerator or stove, don’t bother replacing them. If you can’t help yourself, check out the used appliance market instead of brand new. 
  • Kitchens and bathrooms: Big renovation projects such as kitchens or bathrooms aren’t something you should worry about. They are expensive, and the ROI isn’t as good as you think. 
  • Driveway cracks: Curb appeal does tend to provide a higher ROI than other repairs, but repaving driveways is pricey. There are better, more affordable ways to invest in your curb appeal.

Tips for selling a house as is 

If you decide selling in as-is condition is the best option for your situation, here are some tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible. 

Pre-listing inspection: When selling a house as-is, a pre-listing inspection is necessary. This will help you uncover anything wrong with the property to disclose to buyers. Buyers may be more understanding if you are transparent about the issues upfront. 

Price it accurately: Pricing a fixer-upper home can be challenging, which is why many people choose to work with an experienced realtor. Try to find a real estate agent who has previously sold properties in as-is condition.

Provide disclosures: Transparency will look good to potential buyers and give you a chance to highlight the positive aspects of the home. Selling your as-is doesn’t mean you get to avoid disclosing the things that need work. Many states have mandatory disclosures you have to make to buyers — and failing to disclose could open you up to a lawsuit.

How to sell a fixer-upper house fast

Selling a house in poor condition is typically more challenging than selling a move-in-ready property. In many markets, traditional buyers aren’t interested in a home that needs extensive repairs, which is why many find that selling to a house flipper is the best (and quickest) option. 

Selling a house in poor condition poses many challenges. Still, you can streamline the process by hiring an experienced real estate agent and disclosing any problems to buyers from the get-go.  

We’ll pay cash for your house (even if it’s in bad shape)

If you inherit a house in bad shape and don’t have the money or time to complete a massive renovation, consider selling to a reputable cash home buying company. We’ll help you avoid a drawn-out closing process and get money in your pocket faster. 

Call us today at 781-309-7085 or apply for your free cash offer online, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

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