With so many sellers doing their best to make their homes look showplace perfect, house hunters are getting used to seeing nice-looking homes. But, what do you do if the house you’re selling has seen better days–and you don’t have the time, energy or resources to dress it up?
Many people are finding themselves in this situation, due to a family crisis (such as a death), financial difficulties or ill health–which may cause the owner to have to sell suddenly. Many of these homes can be in serious disrepair or at least, seriously cluttered.
In cases such as these, you need to have a plan for quickly and cheaply making the home look as presentable as possible. You’ve got to be able to shoot photos that are inviting enough to make prospects want to visit. And once you have them there, the property needs to be presentable enough to get people to venture inside and see the home’s potential.
Here are four tips for attracting buyers to a down-and-out home:
- First, offer a good deal. (Ah, you knew I’d say that, didn’t you?) You’ll need to discount the price to give you some sort of advantage against the dressed-up homes in your area. If the price is lower than comparable houses, a buyer may be able to put the money saved toward fixing up the place to suit their own tastes. (Which may actually be an advantage over being stuck with the previous owner’s choices.) Also, a lower price may attract a new group of buyers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford your area.
- Get as much clutter out of the house as you can. You want prospects to see as much of the walls, floors and ceilings as possible. This way viewers know that giant leak stains aren’t hidden behind boxes and other obstacles. This also enables you to shoot the all-important photos that lure buyers to your door. Arrange for family members or friends to help you out, or you may be able to find low-cost student helpers. Pack everything you can into neat rows of stacked boxes that you can store in the garage or another out-of-the-way location. Donate old furniture and other items to Goodwill, Salvation Army or a local charity who may be able to come over and haul it away at no charge.
- Get the house cleaned. Clean the windows, walls, rugs, floors, mirrors and anywhere else where dirt reins supreme. If necessary–and possible, replace smelly stained carpeting and drapes. These two items alone can make a big difference to prospects who can’t visualize the home looking any other way than it does right now. Give a quick coat of fresh paint where it will make the most difference, such as on peeling shutters, railings and faded doors.
- If the house is badly in disrepair–for example the roof is damaged–get written estimates for the repair cost. (Prospects may overestimate the price in their minds… and then get scared off.) You can also gather a few estimates for other enhancements, which will give buyers an idea of how the place could ultimately look and how much it would cost.
By following these recommendations, you’ll be better able to compete with pretty properties, and your home just might be the perfect fit for a do-it-yourselfer who’ll fall in love with your down and out house.
For hundreds of other tips on selling your house faster, easier and saner, check out the Home Seller’s Blues And How To Beat Them Ebook, available for immediate reading.