Skip to content

Quick Guide: How to Sell a House That Needs Major Repairs

  • by

Figuring out how to sell a house that needs major repairs can be a daunting task, leaving homeowners overwhelmed and uncertain about where to start.

The good news is, selling these kinds of houses isn’t impossible. With the right approach, a seller can successfully navigate this challenge and keep their peace of mind.

In this guide, we’ll provide practical tips on how to sell a house that needs major repairs while maximizing potential profits.

Table of Contents:

Evaluate the Extent of Repairs Needed for Your Home

As you prepare to sell your home, understanding the scope and nature of necessary repairs is vital. This knowledge can impact everything from your sale price to which selling options are most suitable.

Distinguish Between Major and Minor Repairs

The first step in this process involves distinguishing between major and minor repairs. The former typically includes significant structural issues like roof replacement or electrical panel updates – tasks that may be costly but crucial for maintaining a safe living environment (for homeowners grappling with extensive repair work like roofing replacements, HomeAdvisor’s guide can provide valuable insights into expected costs).

Minor repairs, on the other hand, include aesthetic enhancements such as painting walls or updating lighting fixtures. While not critical for safety purposes, these improvements play an essential role in boosting your home’s curb appeal. 

This distinction matters because it influences how potential buyers perceive your property during open houses or showings. A well-maintained house requiring only minimal cosmetic work might attract traditional buyers who prefer move-in ready homes, while a house needing substantial repairs will be more attractive to people who are handy or to real estate investors.

To accurately assess what kinds of repairs are required before trying to sell your house, consider engaging a professional home inspector. They can furnish you with a detailed report outlining all existing problems, and may even be able to estimate costs for fixing some of these problems. It is important to use their report to obtain quotes from local professionals, and then use the quotes to make an informed decision about whether investing time and money into a renovation makes sense. If selling as-is seems more viable, having accurate data will help in negotiations with potential cash buyers.

Weigh Your Options: Selling As-Is vs Making Repairs 

One option is to sell as-is: putting your property on the market in its current state without making any repairs. This approach can save you considerable time and expense, but it will affect your sale price since buyers will factor in the costs of making repairs themselves.

The other option is to invest in the necessary repairs. This will increase your buyer pool and sales price, but requires upfront costs and time spent overseeing the repairs.

Main Idea: 


Understand the scope of the repairs your house needs. Distinguish between major and minor issues – this will impact both price and the type of buyer you can expect. Consider a professional inspection for an accurate repair assessment, helping you decide whether to make repairs or to sell as-is.

The Benefits of Cash Buyers

When it comes to selling a house that needs major repairs, cash buyers emerge as an appealing option that might not otherwise be present. These individuals or entities can purchase your house directly and quickly without the usual complications associated with traditional sales.

A Fast Closing Process

Cash transactions typically offer faster closing times compared to conventional methods involving mortgage financing. This is primarily because cash purchasers have immediate access to funds and do not require lender approval. Lender approvals often involve evaluating both the finances of the buyer and the condition of the property, either of which can cause the transaction to fall through.

No Agents and No Showings

An additional advantage of selling to a cash buyer is avoiding paying real estate agent commissions, which eat into a seller’s profits. Further, in contrast to the traditional route where open houses are almost mandatory, selling to a cash buyer spares the significant effort of house cleanup, staging, and showing.

Main Idea: 


Cash buyers offer fast transactions, no agent commissions, and the convenience of not having to make repairs or holding open houses.

Attracting Potential Buyers for Your House

Selling a house that needs major repairs can be challenging, but not impossible. The key lies in attracting the right kinds of buyers – those who see potential amidst imperfections. These usually include real estate investors like house flippers or people who are handy and able to perform repairs themselves.

The Art of Marketing Houses That Need Repairs

Marketing these kinds of houses requires transparency about their condition, while emphasizing unique features and renovation potentials. It’s also important to set a realistic price based on the house’s current state and local market conditions.

In this digital age, online platforms are an excellent place for listing your property where prospective cash buyers may be scouting for their next project. Keep in mind that high-quality photos play a significant role in any listing; even if your house is not move-in ready, professional photography can highlight its best aspects enticingly.

Getting Pricing Right

Correct pricing is vital. An asking price that is too high will only bring around potential buyers who want and expect steep discounts. An asking price that is too low carries the risk of not actually kicking off the bidding war that you would like, or of alienating buyers when they realize you don’t want to sell for that price.

Consider the extent of necessary repairs when determining your asking price. Minor issues like wall paint might not significantly impact the asking price; however, substantial issues could drastically lower the price because of the limited buyer pool and the costs and risks that a potential buyer would have to shoulder.

Understanding Market Conditions

Your success in selling also depends heavily on whether you’re operating within a buyer’s or seller’s market – each having different implications when setting sales prices and negotiating terms with traditional buyers versus cash buyers.

  • buyer’s market, characterized by the availability of more homes than interested individuals, often necessitates flexibility from sellers regarding pricing due to increased competition among listings.
  • In contrast, during a seller’s market, where demand outstrips supply, homeowners can secure higher sales prices despite their homes needing repairs because move-in-ready homes, and even “ready-to-renovate” homes, are more limited.

Legal Obligations

Selling a house that requires extensive repairs is not just about setting the right sale price or finding potential buyers. It also involves adhering to legal obligations, particularly when it comes to disclosing property conditions.

Fulfillment of these duties isn’t merely ethical; in many states, they are legally mandated. To ensure you’re providing the proper disclosures, consult with a professional regarding local requirements. 

Issues typically required to be disclosed include mold presence, pest infestations, and concerns with lead paint, among others.

Main Idea: 


When selling a house in need of major repairs, transparency is key. Be sure to adhere to local disclosure requirements regarding things like mold and lead paint presence.

Understanding Net Proceeds from Different Selling Options

The calculation of net proceeds from the sale of a house involves several variables, including not just sale price, but also seller concessions, transaction costs, holding costs, and soft costs. These are deducted from the sale price to determine how much the seller receives in the end.

1. Sale Price

The sale price is an important starting point, since it represents the maximum a seller could receive.  

2. Concessions and Transaction Costs

Depending on the type of market, sellers may have to make concessions to sell a house. Concessions may be money that a seller pays towards closing costs, or agreeing to leave appliances behind, among others. Even without concessions, sellers pay some closing costs, including title insurance, various taxes and fees, and any agent commission.

3. Holding Costs

Holding costs aren’t only the buyer’s cost to hold onto the property as they make repairs. Sellers may also have a holding cost if the house is e.g. a vacant rental that takes time to sell. 

4. Soft Costs

Apart from hard financial figures, soft cost elements should also be considered: time spent hosting open houses, the effort of cleaning and repairs, the length of the entire process, etc. 


Selling a house that needs major repairs may seem daunting, but with these insights under your belt, you’re well on your way to navigating through this process successfully. If you decide to sell as-is and are looking for a cash offer, contact us to see what we can do for you!

Call Now Button