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Guide: Selling a House That
Needs Serious Repairs 
It’s time to sell your home, but the reality is that is has seen better days and could probably use a little more than some TLC and elbow grease to be market-ready.
Getting your house ready to put on the market can feel overwhelming under the best of circumstances. But when you’re selling a house that needs repairs, the cost and time involved can put your stress level through the roof. (And if that roof is leaking, those repairs can break the bank, too!)
Whether it’s a struggling hot water heater, leaky pipes, an old electrical system, or peeling paint, the sentence “my house needs major repairs before I can sell” isn’t one any homeowner wants to have to utter. However, there are often important repairs you simply have to make before selling a house.
Read on to learn about common repairs, how much home repairs may cost, and how to sell a fixer-upper house fast.
What Common Repairs are Needed
Let’s start by taking a look at common repairs that you should (or must) make before selling a house. Keep in mind that repair costs can vary widely from state to state, and even between cities and neighborhoods.
Fixing Roof Issues
Roof problems fall into that “must fix before selling” category. Unfortunately, roof repair also falls into the “most expensive home repairs” category. Because a sound roof is integral to the rest of your home’s structural integrity and safety, roof problems must be fixed.
In most cases, roof repair isn’t DIY (do it yourself), so you’ll want to bring in the professionals.
On average, a roof replacement costs up to $10,000. Expect to pay an additional fee for removal of old roof material. A full roof replacement may take a few days to complete.
Updating the Electrical Panel
Electrical issues, such as outdated wiring and panels, must be fixed, as they can cause safety issues and fire risk. This is another issue that you’ll want to leave to the professionals, as electrical work isn’t DIY-friendly.
The average cost of replacing an electrical panel is $1,200 to $1,700, but can run up to $4,000. On average, this fix takes eight to 10 hours to complete.
Replacing the Water Heater
Another fix you can’t avoid? A hot water heater replacement. A leaky water heater can cause serious damage to your home. If you have advanced plumbing and electrical skills, you may be able to replace the heater on your own.
If you hire a professional, replacing the hot water heater takes just a few hours. Costs of the new heater and labor run from $400 to over $2,000, depending on the type of heater you purchase. Disposal of the old heater will cost a few hundred dollars, too.
Taking Care of Termite, Mold, or Water Damage
Before putting your house on the market, fix damage caused by termites, mold, or water. These are huge red flags that inspectors (and even appraisers) will raise when they evaluate the property. While you may be able to take care of termites on your own, professionals have better methods of detecting and treating these destructive pests. Termite treatment can take several hours or up to a day, depending on the severity of the infestation, and cost several hundred dollars. Fixing damage can take longer and cost more. You may have to fix cosmetic issues as well as structural problems.
Mold damage may also pose health risks, so you can’t let it slide. Professional mold remediation ranges from about $500 to $6,000 and can take several hours to several days. You’ll also need to call in a mold inspector, which adds a couple of hundred dollars to the bill. As for water damage, repair time and costs vary. A burst pipe can cause thousands of dollars of damage and take days to repair, while a smaller leak may be a less expensive, quick fix. Either way, these are important repairs to make before selling a house.
Fixing Pipes, Sewer Connections, and Septic Issues
Leaky pipes, faulty sewer connections, and damaged septic tanks require repair. These issues can lead to health risks, further property damage, and aren’t DIY-friendly. Pipe repairs can cost thousands of dollars and take days, depending on how much work is needed. Plumbing problems are all too common, especially in older homes that may experience tree roots in the system, or have cast iron or copper lines.
Fixing sewer and septic issues also costs thousands, depending on the nature of the problem. Replacing a septic tank can cost up to $7,000, while a sewer line replacement may run over $5,000 and take a few days to complete.
Options for Selling a House That
Needs Repairs As-Is
If you really want to sell your home but you can’t afford to make needed repairs, you do have options: You may sell the house as-is.
But who will buy an as-is house that needs major repairs? Investors may seek out homes they can fix and flip. They may renovate the house then rent or sell it for a profit.
You may also consider selling your house to a home buying company. These companies offer sellers a way out of their unwanted mortgages without needing to make any repairs or upgrades.
However, not all cash buyers are the same, so be careful that you’re working with a legitimate company or individual, and not falling for a scam.
Although the term may be new, you are likely familiar with iBuyers, or companies that make an offer to purchase your property using online algorithms.
While the convenience of an online offer may be appealing, these buyers tend to grab sellers’ attention we high-value offers and then lower them once they actually see the home in person.
If you’re selling a home that needs serious repairs, this option is not even on the table. Although not always clearly advertised, online buyers are looking for market-ready homes.
Finally, you may find a traditional buyer that’s willing to purchase the home as-is. Just be prepared that you’ll have to knock the price down substantially and that your home may spend months sitting on the market before any interested buyers make an offer.
Options for Completing Repairs Before
Selling a Home
If you don’t want to sell the house as-is, you can complete the repairs first. While you’ll be able to ask a higher selling price after repairs are complete, you’ll have to weigh out the costs and benefits.
Determine if the repairs will cost more than the additional asking price of the house will bring in. Keep in mind, you’re not guaranteed to get the price that you want.
Maybe you’re considering taking out loans to complete the repairs. Again, do the math to ensure that the interest you’ll pay is worth it in the long term.
Financial cost aside, is the stress, time, and effort of making serious repairs even something you’re interested in doing?
Which Option Makes the Most Sense for You?
Everyone’s situation is different. Some may be able to afford to make the repairs needed and want to pursue a traditional sale, but most of us do not have a wealth of rainy day savings to throw into repairs and hope they earn a full return on the investment.
For other sellers, the best option is to sell the house as-is and move on quickly and easily without having to put another dime into a home you are ready to part with.
That is why HomeGo exists. We want to help sellers move out and move on, no matter how serious the need for repairs.
We purchase homes in as-is condition and we do not require inspections or appraisals, so your offer never changes. While HomeGo uses licensed agents, we never charge commissions or fees, meaning more money stays where it belongs – in your pocket!