It goes without saying that trying to sell a house with disrepair can be a nightmare.
It usually requires a lot of work and money to rectify.
But does it have to be that way?
Well it turns out that’s not necessarily the case and here's why ...
The mindset of selling a house in disrepair
No matter how bad things are, there are always ways to get things done properly.
The best way to begin?
Start thinking like a home buyer!
Someone who wants to buy a home will be looking for certain things to be in place and if they’re not there, buyers will look elsewhere.
This approach leads us firstly to the outside of a property.
Although the estate agent will take photos of the property and arrange them professionally in the property paperwork, they’ll probably not move forward if you don't prioritise the exterior of the home.
When people drive up to view the place, they’ll expect to see an outside that is smart and clean, including attractive visual aspects.
But that’s not all ...
You also need to be ready for the very real possibility that people who are interested will simply drive past the property first. So the top of your list to help make the home more attractive is to work on the ‘kerb appeal’ aspect.
Make it so that anyone who sees your property (either driving by or through a viewing) is immediately impressed.
This may well mean buying some paint and getting to work on the front door and the outside walls, and if that is the case, so be it.
First impressions are vital.
And don't forget that potential buyers are going to be looking online. That first image is incredibly important.
‘A property's outer appearance, its kerb appeal, is often the deal maker (or breaker) when it comes to buying a home.’
Anna Tyzack, Daily Telegraph.
This is a big factor in a sale, so look at the following areas and make them a priority:
- The front door should be painted in one of the key colours. These include Racing Green, Red and Blue. There’s no getting around this, it’s essential that the front door really makes that strong first impression
- Get the gardening right. Just because you’re selling a home doesn’t mean you shouldn't have a perfect garden. Lawns should be cut, dead leaves should be raked and cleared and you have to be 100% certain that there are no weeds
- Outside on the pavement, make sure the area is clear of litter. While this is technically not your responsibility, this doesn’t matter when you’re trying to sell your home.
What buyers are looking for inside the property
They’ve made it past your front door (hoorah!) and they're walking around inside.
Half the battle has been won.
Now you’re looking at ways to make the inside as instantly appealing as the outside. A viewer will need to imagine themselves living in the property.
Make this part as easy as possible.
Here's the deal:
One of the first things you should do is make sure the place is as empty as possible.
De-clutter anything that is personal to you and always remember the viewing is about them not you. Take ‘you’ out of the picture - that includes personal pictures nd trinkets. Let them use their imagination.
Try and ensure that the buyer is treated to the property at its lightest and airiest. On a dull day this might not be truly possible, but you can do this on a sunny day, with all windows cleaned and curtains open.
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Even if your property is in poor condition and needs a lot of work on the repair front, you should be able to take care of some of the smaller jobs.
Small jobs like shelves that have slipped or holes where fixings used to be should be dealt with by yourself. Little problems like this are just unforgivable, they should be taken care of before the prospective buyer arrives.
For larger repair issues on the property, you need to make a decision.
You can either get them seen to by professionals, or you can leave them as they are.
Buyers who will want to reduce the asking price because of the larger repairs needed.
Buyers will certainly focus on big repair issues during negotiation, and you should be fully prepared for this to be a matter of reducing the cost accordingly if there are any quotes on the repairs.
However, you may be able to cut a small amount of the asking price if the buyer thinks they can accept the problem as something they’ll be able to put right when they move in.
In both these scenarios though, expect to face a reduction.
This is often the case with homes that have been lived in for years - they become outdated.
The carpet is old, the paint is peeling off the walls and there’s generally a questionable approach to furnishing and decorating. This is fine, as long as you let prospective buyers know before they choose to view. People are allowed to have their own style and keep it that way, but if things really are dated, it shouldn't affect the viewing.
A few ideas:
- Remove old carpets. Scrub down wooden floorboards for a rustic feel
- Update the curtains for a fresh new look
- Deep clean bathrooms and kitchens
The general idea is that the buyer is again trying to imagine the home the way they want it. The cleaner the bathroom and kitchen, the more easily this will happen.
You should be able to make your property sell if you, or local builders, put the work in to make it presentable and attractive.
If you don't have time or money for this, you can go for a quick sale. There are sell house fast organisations out there that, while offering a lower amount than you might expect, will take a property off your hands very quickly. This means weeks, rather than months. Many of them also take care of other aspects such as managing the conveyancing process.
Remember the key issues
Your buyer needs to see themselves in the property. This means clean, tidy, and carrying out as many repairs done as you can. But remember that house in disrepair doesn’t mean an unsellable home. It just means that work needs doing to get things on track.