How to Sell Your Ugly Home or or a Home That Needs TLC
Every home, no matter its current condition, carries its own charm. While new houses and their bright and clean exterior may get the most attention, there are plenty of people out there who would love nothing more than to revive a historical gem.
Of course, there are attributes some homes have that turn the majority of people off. For example, an unusual layout (such as having to pass through a bedroom to get to another shared room) or an exterior with a strange configuration of rooms or windows often makes homes more difficult to sell.
In the latter case, having an “ugly” house can prove particularly challenging to sell. Why? Because it lacks curb appeal, and that’s the first thing that gets people to click on a listing when browsing sites like Zillow.
But is selling a home that needs a little external TLC impossible without doing a ton of work? No! Read on to find out how.
What is considered an “ugly” home?
An “ugly” home is simply one that most people find unattractive. In most cases, this is due to:
- Outdated design or decor – especially if it was a bit “edgy” when it was contemporary
- Neglect or disrepair – some people will call a neglected home ugly
- Poor layout – whether that’s visible on the outside or only once you enter the home, a poor layout can be a reason to call a home ugly
Do I need to renovate my house before selling it?
While renovations certainly can increase the value of a home, major renovations are generally not worth doing unless you’re doing it primarily for yourself or buying a home to flip it. This is because, unless you have done some serious calculations and will be working on a tight time frame, you really can’t guarantee that you’ll get the money back that you put in.
That said, some minor renovations and improvements can be worth it, if your budget and timeframe allow for them. For example, if the primary reason for your home’s lack of curb appeal is peeling paint and a messy front yard, a few days of effort giving it a new coat of paint, and tidying up the yard before your realtor takes pictures can give your home a much-needed boost.
Still not sure what you should do? See our guide on whether or not you should renovate before selling here.
What repairs do I need to make before selling my house?
You don’t have to make any repairs before selling your home, but if you’re going to sell your house through a realtor, you should make any minor repairs you can to help improve the overall image of your property. For example, fixing the gate leading up to the home, stopping the front door from squeaking, and fixing the leaky faucet are all things worth doing.
How can I make my house look good to potential buyers?
The process of making your home look good for buyers is known as “staging.” Staging involves arranging and decorating your home in a way that highlights its best features and possibilities. When done right, staging can effectively downplay any areas needing improvements and help potential buyers envision your home’s potential.
While you can hire a professional stager to do this for you (they can even rent furniture to fill the home), you can cost-effectively do it yourself by decluttering, restoring rooms to their original purpose (i.e, a dining room, and not a second living room) and ensuring they’re not too personalized (such as removing extra armchairs from your living room).
Finally, don’t forget to hire a professional photographer if you want the house to look good. They’ll ensure your home is presented in the best light.
Want to find out more about presenting your home for a quick sale? See our guide here.
Can I sell an ugly house quickly?
Absolutely, but it may not look like the traditional sale you’d expect. Selling an “ugly” house quickly is as simple as approaching a professional house-buying company. For example, we buy homes in as-is condition in Massachusetts for cash. That means we’re willing to pay cash for ugly homes, damaged homes, and outdated homes that need major renovations.
Are there buyers specifically interested in buying ugly houses?
Yes, there are buyers who are specifically interested in “ugly” houses. These buyers are either:
- Investors and flippers: These are individuals or companies who purchase homes in less-than-perfect condition and renovate them before putting them back up for sale or up for rent.
- Homebuyers looking for a bargain: Some homebuyers willing to do some work or who are looking to purchase a home in your area on a tight budget may be interested in buying an “ugly” home. Like the professionals above, they too will renovate the home, just to their own preferences and usually over a much longer time frame.
Should I disclose all the issues with my home when I sell it?
Legally speaking, it depends on the disclosure laws in your state. In Massachusetts, you are not generally obligated to volunteer information about your property. That said, you are required to answer direct inquiries about the property, so you should disclose any major issues you know about to avoid legal problems down the road. If you sell a home with a structural issue you know about, and the buyer only finds out after the fact, the argument of “they didn’t ask” likely won’t hold up in court.
You should also remember that realtors are legally required to disclose facts about the property, so they’ll be upfront and honest about the property, to the best of their ability.
When it comes to minor issues, you absolutely do not need to list or disclose them. These are all things the buyer should see on an inspection, so you do not need to say anything about them. For example, a kitchen door that needs fixing, peeling wallpaper, and a cracked floor tile are all things you do not need to disclose.
How can I get a fair price for my “ugly” or “needs TLC” home?
Getting a fair price for a home that needs some TLC involves a few strategic steps:
- Determine the Market Value: Start by understanding the market value of your home. You can get a rough estimate through online tools, but for a more accurate understanding, consider hiring a professional appraiser or speaking to a realtor. They will factor in the condition of your home, its location, size, and other features, as well as the prices of similar homes in your area.
- Consider Making Minor Repairs: If there are small issues that could significantly affect the perceived value of your home (like a leaky faucet, peeling paint, or a poorly maintained yard), consider fixing these before listing. However, avoid investing in major renovations that won’t necessarily pay off.
- Price it Correctly: Pricing your home correctly from the beginning is critical. If your home needs work, it’s unlikely to fetch the same price as a similar, but well-maintained home in your area. Price it competitively to attract buyers who are looking for a deal and willing to put in some work.
- Be Transparent: Honesty is always the best policy when selling a home. Be upfront about the work needed to prevent issues later in the selling process. Some buyers are specifically looking for a project and will appreciate the transparency.
- Market to the Right Buyers: Target your marketing towards buyers who are looking for a fixer-upper or investment property. Make sure your real estate agent is highlighting the potential of your home, not just its current condition.
- Negotiate Smartly: Be ready to negotiate, but also know what your bottom line is. It’s common for buyers to ask for concessions when a home needs work, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept every offer that comes your way.
Remember, selling a home in need of TLC can take a bit longer than selling a home in top condition, so be prepared for the process to take a little more time. It’s all about finding the right buyer who can see the potential in your property.
What should I do if I receive low offers for my home?
Receiving a low offer on your home can be disappointing, but it’s important not to be disheartened. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Evaluate the Offer: First, it’s important to truly evaluate the offer in the context of your local real estate market and the condition of your home. If your home needs substantial repairs or updates, buyers will often factor these costs into their offer.
- Consider Counteroffering: You can always counteroffer if the price is not satisfactory but is almost there. Determine your lowest acceptable price before entering negotiations and remember that the final price is not the only point of negotiation. You can also discuss terms, closing dates, repair allowances, etc.
- Examine Your Listing: If you’re consistently getting low offers, it might be worth revisiting your listing price. Is it in line with the current market value, considering the condition of your home? You may need to adjust the price to attract more realistic offers.
- Improve Presentation: Look for inexpensive ways to make your home more attractive to buyers. This could be as simple as deep cleaning, decluttering, minor repairs, or enhancing curb appeal. If buyers can see the potential in the home, they may be more inclined to offer more.
- Highlight Potential: Make sure that your listing and your agent are emphasizing the potential of your home. Can the home be easily updated? Is it in a desirable location? There will always be buyers interested in transforming an “ugly” home into their dream property.
- Be Patient: Finding the right buyer for a fixer-upper can take time. Patience can pay off in getting an offer that aligns more closely with your desired sale price.
- Consult with Your Agent: Your real estate agent is there to help guide you through the process. They can provide valuable insights into why the offers might be lower than expected and suggest strategies to address them.
Remember, selling a home that needs work or updating can be a different process than selling a turn-key property, but with the right approach, you can still achieve a successful sale.
How long does it typically take to sell an “ugly” house?
The time to sell an “ugly” house can vary greatly, influenced by factors like the house’s condition, the local real estate market, pricing, and marketing strategy. While a typical house might sell in weeks to months, an “ugly” house might take longer, especially if extensive repairs are needed. However, with competitive pricing, effective marketing that highlights the house’s potential, and the right buyer pool, the process could be expedited. Consult a real estate professional for insights tailored to your specific situation.
Can I sell an “ugly” house without using a real estate agent?
Absolutely – there are a few ways you can sell without a realtor:
- For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sale
- Sell via an auction
- Sell to a cash buyer
The FSBO route requires you to handle all aspects of the sale, including pricing, marketing, and negotiations. (Learn more about FSBO here.) Selling via an action is very hands-off, but you aren’t guaranteed a sale and you’ll still pay a company commission for the sale. (Learn more about selling via an auction here.)
Selling to a cash buyer, specifically a professional property buyer, is the best way to sell without using a realtor while keeping control of the entire process. Home-buying companies like us will make an offer on your home (we buy houses in and surrounding Massachusetts, but there are other companies elsewhere in the country) and can complete the sale without the need for a real estate agent, in record time.
We will make an offer on your home regardless of its appearance or condition. We aim to provide a stress-free selling experience by eliminating the need for repairs, staging, or the traditional listing process. So if you’re considering selling an “ugly” house in Massachusetts, feel free to reach out to us for a no-obligation offer!