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How to Sell an Outdated Home (as owner) for Profit

How to Sell Outdated Home is a question we have received thousands of times. Most of the times the story goes like the following.
Decades have passed since you first moved to your old house and you are ready to relocate to a modern property. But before making an offer on that gorgeous house, you are worried that putting for sale this outdated home on the market won’t fetch any decent profit due to its poor condition. You are convinced that you need some extra funds to carry out renovations to convince any potential clients that your outdated home is in good condition.

One of the tough decisions to make when selling an outdated home is figuring out the expenditure needed for renovations before putting it on the market. Selling modern homes is quite easy because you only need a few creative marketing and staging techniques to charm the most lucrative buyer. However, quirky old houses are full of character, and irrespective of their unique designs, potential buyers always want to be reassured that they are architecturally sound. 

Relax! You can still sell your outdated home for a good profit. We delved into some quick-fix options that can make a world of difference to your old house and eventually help you sell it for a tidy sum. 

The two main options are:

·        Selling to Buyers

·        Selling to Investors

Table of Contents

Outdated Home Selling Tip 

Selling an outdated home is scarier than buying a new one. While you can be pressured to sell your house quickly for a profit, you will probably find yourself seeking advice from homeowners with similar experience. You must understand that the housing market rapidly changes and tricks that worked for them before might backfire today big-time! 

Selling outdated home to Buyers 

If you want to sell your home to rewarding buyers, expect a hard-hitting conversation with a realtor that the house needs work and embrace the urgency to make the changes. A realtor will pick out several areas that require fixing to make your home market-ready for potential buyers. For example, the discolored wallpaper need replacement, the decades-old layers of paint make the house smell funny, the old sink and faucets need a facelift, etc. 

As a homeowner, you have to see the house from the buyer’s perspective and make changes that would eventually turn the “for sale” sign into a “sold” one (with good profit). On the other hand, you can sell the home “as is” with minor improvements. Whichever the case, three options come into play as explained in the below section:

1. Selling As-Is

Let’s say your old home is in such a bad condition that you anticipate spending a substantial amount of money to make the necessary renovations. For instance, the exterior and interior walls are rugged and have many holes, the wooden floors are chipped everywhere, the white ceilings are soaked with urine, the electrical system is faulty, the faucets are leaking, and the bathroom tubs are not in place. 

It’s a financial uphill climb fixing such a house. If your home is in such a condition, consider listing it for a price low enough to invite many offers even if they only come from flippers and contractors.

Selling your old home as-is means that what the buyer sees is what the buyer gets. You will altogether avoid the option of spending precious time and extra money on repairs. You’ll likely have to lower your asking price, but your agent can position the property as an excellent opportunity for investors, flippers, or people looking for a fixer-upper (a house in need of repairs). Even if you accept a low price, you can still make a good profit compared to selling it after completing some costly renovations before listing.

2. Selling As-Is with Virtual Renovation 

Virtual restoration is the modern-day art of real estate because it furnishes your home temporarily to make it seem more attractive. As a home seller, you can pounce on this new trend by including virtual renovation photos in your listing slideshow. While they are not quite “real” shots of your outdated home, they are meant to show the potential of your house. All that remains is a lucrative buyer with a renovation budget to breathe life into it as the price of virtual renovations varies depending on the extent of the required improvements.  

Virtual renovation is one of the cost-effective ways to sell your home as-is. You can list your old home as-is, but the shortcut to generating a buzz around it and capturing the buyer quickly is using high-quality photographs to make it more appealing. Selling a fixer-upper for good profit means finding a digital furnishing expert to apply some tender loving care (TLC).

3. Selling after Minor Renovation Works (improvements) + Virtual Staging

Without getting worried about costly and critical modernizations to your old home, you can make some small renovations along with virtual staging before selling it. These minor renovation works that can be done quickly over a weekend before putting your house on the market.

Are you a seller of a fixer-upper who can afford the costs of minimal staging and fixes? Or you want to sell your outdated home as-is? 

If both options do not match your decisions, the below section presents the perfect solution. 

Selling to Investors (Flippers) 

The biggest question you need to ask yourself as a seller of an outdated home is: How do I sell my house quickly for profit without spending too much money and time renovating it?” 

The answer: Selling it to investors, or in real estate terms, flippers! 

Who are Home Investors/Flippers?

A qualified home investor is either an individual or a company that buys residential properties as part of a business or investment strategy. House flippers with a real estate license can earn money buying and selling other people’s properties while working on their own. Most individual investors may own just one or two investment homes, but companies that buy houses usually do it in bulk. 

The key benefits of selling your outdated home to investors are the relief to skip costly renovations, and avoiding the cumbersome listing process. There’s no commitment, which makes it easy to see how much you could get for your home. All you have to do is answer a few critical questions about your home and present your offer to them. They will arrange for an evaluation at their own expense, agree on a mutual price, and buy your house directly, in cash with no hassles! Easy, right? 

Even if you start off with the need to sell to a traditional buyer, you might end up getting a compelling offer from an investor, perhaps one with minimal contingencies and the promise of a quick close. But before you accept, it’s essential to understand how the process differs from a typical transaction. Sometimes it may feel too good to be true!

Key Considerations When Selling your Outdated Home to Investors?

· Selling to investors saves time, money, and hassle, but it doesn’t work for all sellers.

· Expect a quicker close, an as-is sale, and an all-cash offer when selling to investors. 

· Personal circumstances, such as divorce, job relocation, or potential foreclosure, are some common reasons people consider quick home sales investors.

· When selling to private investors without a listing agent, conduct thorough background checks to ensure they are reputable and to safeguard yourself from scammers.

Home investors/flippers usually implement the following key strategies.

1. Buy-and-Hold Investment

This strategy helps the investors to build their portfolio in the real estate industry over time. Buy-and-Hold investment option can be used by individuals who want to earn passive income from renting the property. Before buying the property, they calculate their annual expenses against the potential profit using a cap rate to determine whether the individual investment is worth it. On the other hand, corporate investors can buy a home to either grow their portfolio or for forecasting improved market conditions. 

2. House-Flip Investment

Typical home flippers are individuals or companies who buy houses, renovate them, and then sell them for profit. While the level of renovation needed and the time to complete the facelift differs for each home to another as well as the conditions of the local market, the goal of this strategy is to profit-based. Therefore, for each resale of a home, they must make a net profit after all renovation expenses have been factored in.

3. Wholesale Investment

This strategy is used by investors who buy properties and make a quick resale even without making any renovations. They purchase homes at below market value, intending to sell to another investor for a higher price. Successful wholesalers usually have an extensive list of buyers lined up beforehand and use direct marketing to identify inactive or off-market homes they can buy inexpensively. As a seller of old houses, this could consider this option. 

4. Buy/Flip/Hold Investment

With this type of investment, home investors put together all of the above strategies as well as other options available, making it a hybrid one. In this case, individuals or companies buy a property whether it’s in a weak or excellent condition, take ample time and financial resources to renovate it, and rent it out at a premium, while maintaining ownership.

Read on for everything you need to know if it is worth it selling your outdated home as-is or you need to fix and stage it.

Fixing and Staging an Old House for Sale. Is it Worth It?

Selling any house can be challenging, depending on the market, but if you have an old home and want to appeal to a wide range of buyers, you may need to take some extra steps to guarantee you that fixing and staging an old house for sale is worth it. 

1. Understand your Location

Before selling your old home, you must acknowledge that most potential buyers highly accept an offer if the location is ideal. Location matters, especially in buyers’ markets where choices are plentiful due to excess inventory. Buyers will pass up a right home in a wrong location in favor of a less desirable home in a proper area.

For starters, buyers will think twice buying a fixer-upper situated on a busy intersection or freeway, next to a school, or across the street from an entrance to a landfill. In other words, the sort of undesirable locale that sinks even houses in tip-top shape. They will always try to find an old property in desirable or up-and-coming neighborhoods that is well-cared-for and mostly owner-occupied. 

2. Understand the Sellers’ Market

If you are a homeowner looking forward to selling your old house, you need to understand the intricacies and shifting signs of the seller’s real estate market because, with more buyers than available homes to buy, this is the best financial market for you. Serious buyers are often willing to pay more than the listing price, and you can sell your home quickly for more profit. A buyer can even cover some or all of your closing costs without you asking for it!

The following are signs of a hot seller’s market:

· More buyers are purchasing, resulting in high numbers of closed sales.

· ‘For Sale’ signs are replaced by ‘Sold’ signs only after a few days.

· Comparable sale prices are lower than current listing prices.

· Inventory is low compared to previous months/years.

· Less than six months of inventory is on the market.

· Median sale prices are increasing.

· Real estate ads are vanishing.

If you are willing to invest a small amount in fixing and staging your old house for sale, then you should consider the below.

3. Sell after Minor Renovations and Virtual Staging

You can sell your old home and make a good profit out of it if you invest some little money to carry out a few renovations on the most damaged areas and let a virtual staging expert do polish the rest. The minor repairs can focus on some inexpensive upgrades that buyers can easily spot. However, beyond any critical modernizations, think about the following easy fixes: 

· Applying a fresh coat of paint, always in a neutral color.

· Improving lighting by adding fixtures or replacing bulbs.

· Caulking the bathrooms and kitchens.

· Cleaning the carpets professionally. 

When you consider the virtual staging concept of adding virtual renovation photos, your old home will catapult to another level! Virtual staging begins with a photographer visiting your house to shoot the external and internal areas of your home at specific angles. Afterward, an expert virtual artist will create stunning versions that show your home’s potential. These renderings can show an elegantly decorated living room or a decked-out kitchen. The images will explain how your old would look after a complete renovation. 

Virtual staging is an effective way of selling your old home not only because it’s popular today, but also because buyers often have a difficult time figuring out what space might appear if it is empty or if the furniture is unappealing. 

Not only do you have to have content in your digital and inbound real estate marketing strategies, but content that gets a LOL, gets read, noticed, shared, clicked, and commented on is how you make a human connection in today’s noisy, multi-device world.

Laura Monroe
Easy FixesExpensive Fixes
Fixing walls and paintingRepairing the driveways, sidewalks, or steps
Adding a deckReplacing and adding central HVAC system
Replacing bathroom floors and leaky toiletsComplete kitchen or bath remodels
Fixing broken windowsInstalling replacement windows throughout
Installing ceiling fans and new light fixturesReroofing, when it involves a tear-off
Replacing baseboards or adding trimReplacing all plumbing, and sewer lines
Refinishing all floors, or laying tile or carpetShoring up the foundation
Painting the exteriorAsbestos removal
Replacing doorsBuilding garages or additions
Installing and painting kitchen cabinetsRepairing and replacing and electrical faults
Changing out receptacles & light switchesWater heater repairs

Outdated Home Selling Tip 

Not all old homes require equal fixing because most of the things that the inspection process may deem fixable are somewhat subjective. One homebuyer may point out that he needs a specific part of the house fixed, while another one may feel that everything in the property is a walk in the park. As the seller, think through your finances, and the extent to which you believe your outdated home is habitable before deciding on a selling price that would not only fetch profit but also avoid constant calls from buyers for a serious renovation.

Steps to Prepare an Old House for Sale Cost-Effectively 

Let’s face it. Not all buyers have the time or the money to renovate a fixer-upper. When your old house needs a lot of work, it can be intimidating to put it on the market as-is. The following are some quick, cost-effective tips for preparing your old house for sale in a cost-effective manner.

1. Learn about the Buyer Pool of Fixer-uppers 

Buyers of fixer-uppers usually see potential over perfection, and they are of three types. Flippers who want to buy old homes and sell at a profit; Deal Hunters who wish to live in a specific location or neighborhood and buying a fixer-upper is the best option; and Remodelers have ready money but are yet to land a perfect home in a particular area. They choose to buy a fixer-upper to remodel it in their envisioned design. 

2. Clean up your Front Yard and Remove All Outdoor Clutter

While landscaping stands out as one of the most vital undertakings for making an excellent first impression to buyers, it does not stop there. You must clean up the entire compound as well, which could save you a lot of money hiring expensive landscape designers by simply uprooting weeds, mowing grass, and planting a few flower pots to leave the outdoor sparkling with magnificence. Furthermore, a neatened outdoor enhances photos for the virtual staging process.  

3. Make Small Updates Around the House 

If you can or can’t afford to make expensive, timely renovations, smaller fixes around your old house is worth your time, money, and effort. The less minor updates you do, the more equity you are giving up to increase the value of your house because it takes a buyer twice as much money to make the same repairs the seller could make. Typical small repairs include landscaping, patching holes, fixing broken doors and hinges, caulking the bathroom, replacing knobs for kitchen cabinets, deep cleaning stained tubs and toilets, treating stains in your carpet, etc. 

4. Include Renovation Loans in your Listing 

Renovation loans are valuable tools when selling your fixer-upper. It’s advisable to instruct your real estate agent to ensure your listing contains details about renovation loans, which can be discussed with potential buyers. If buyers go for it, they can calculate the projected renovation costs and add it to the total value of the loan. Instead of selling your old house and leaving buyers to set aside funds for renovations, including such loans helps them seize the opportunity for getting a higher loan amount for more extensive restorations.

5. Highlight the Unique Features your Home 

The astounding features of your home make it unique, but if you don’t highlight them, you’ll be losing many potential buyers looking for specifics. You need to market the best features of your house because they could make all the difference in closing a sale. In your listing, refer to things like great views, a fireplace, closet size, master suite, a home office, a patio, big storage, an open floor plan, garage space, big windows for natural light, etc. You can also describe some neighborhood features, such as parks and good school districts.

6. Ensure the Pricing of your Home is Right

Selling a fixer-upper isn’t about making the property look picture-perfect and overpricing it even if it’s cleaned up for listing. As cliché as it may sound, the right price attracts the right buyer. Engage an expert realtor to help you calculate the actual value of your outdated home if it were remodeled. After that, make a list of the needed upgrades against their approximated costs, and separate the most important ones from those your house can do without. Which ones can you afford to do yourself? Which will you leave to the buyer? Subtract the costs the buyer would incur from the value of the home. The resulting figure is the right pricing! 

How Can You List an Old House as FSBO with Disclaimer? 

FSBO is a real estate acronym denoting “for sale by owner” and indicates the process of selling your property without a broker. As an owner of an old house, you can actually list the property without a real estate agent, by taking up all the responsibilities of selling your home and pocketing the cost you’d have paid the agent on commissions. A disclaimer essentially means that you are selling your property without revealing any information about its condition. 

A real estate agent typically charges a service fee of up to 7% of the selling price. While the direct sale is not a complicated process, you need to understand the prerequisites of successfully selling your fixer-upper for profit as FSBO with a disclaimer. It critically depends on your ability to list and market it to potential buyers as well as handling the legal process of closing the sale. 

Below are the essential tips on how to list your old house as FSBO with a disclaimer. 

1. Use Powerful Adjectives in the Listing

Do you know searching online is the first step taken by more than 50% of homebuyers? This means that the listing description of your old house matters a lot. To write a real estate listing description that sells, you have to describe your old home accurately and with compelling terms. Words like “vacant,” “motivated sellers,” “must-sell,” and “value” will fend off any potential buyer, making your listing ineffective in the end. Instead, use attention-grabbing words such as “beautiful,” “landscaping,” “curb appeal,” “lush,” “gourmet,” and “meticulous” within the listing, while staying truthful. 

2. Gather Sufficient Information to Draft Your Listing

Gathering essential information that will make your listing stand out is very important. As a rule of the thumb, you’ll need the following info in addition to the description: 

Home Data – This includes quantifiable information such as year built, square footage of the interior, bedroom and bathroom count, lot size in square feet, parking arrangements as well as the heating and cooling configurations.

Photos – Your home’s photos can make or break your listing. Tallbox recommends incorporating sufficient natural light for your photos, using photos that highlight sweeping views, and a minimum of one shot per room and hallway of your old house. Multiple exterior images is also an added advantage. 

3. Use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) 

MLS listing is an easy and cost-effective way to make your fixer-upper listing gain the much-needed exposure without depending on a professional broker. A multiple listing service (MLS) is a service used by real estate brokers who allow themselves to view each other’s listings of properties for sale. While FSBO homes were traditionally not listed on MLS systems, you can now seize this opportunity by negotiating with a Realtor for a flat-fee listing of your old home. You can quickly sell your old home for profit because your listing got ahead of many buyers’ agents. 

4. Advertise Widely

Always consider advertising your old house to boost your FSBO marketing campaign using the following platforms:

Real Estate Websites – Reach millions of potential buyers by posting your FSBO listing directly on consumer-facing property websites such as Zillow and Trulia for US and Rightmove and Zoopla for the UK, which does not charge you a dime! 

FSBO Sites – With many FSBO sites available today, you need to manage your budget and selection carefully. Go with the well-known ones, such as FSBO.com, which offers a six-month listing package of approximately $100. Others include theMLS.com, Realtor.com, etc.

YouTube Channel – Video tours of your old house can be professionally done and posted on YouTube. Rather than hiring a professional videographer, save money by asking a friend to edit and produce it for you.

Your own website – While a dedicated website needs extra effort, creating one may be worthwhile in buyers’ markets if your home is generally unique. If you’re not an experienced Web developer, use a hosting and site builder like to host your website until you sell your old house. 

5. Understand the Legal Paperwork Process

Remember to close the sale requires you to complete legal paperwork as soon as you get an interested buyer. You must understand all real estate laws governing such transactions as per the location of your old home. In most jurisdictions, buyers and sellers use a standard real estate sales contract. However, it’s advisable to verify any information you find from the Internet using a real estate attorney or escrow agent who can help you ensure that all closing paperwork is satisfactory. If you’re uncomfortable taking up the legal paperwork process single-handedly, consider hiring a fee-only broker in order to close the sale successfully.

How to Sell Outdated Home at the Right Price as FSBO?

The most crucial factor to think through when selling old outdated home the right pricing. When you want to list your old house for sale as FSBO, you must pick the absolute right price tag depending on its Worth, its condition, its size, the market rate, and active listings.

Below are some of the key ways to avoid the pricing dilemma and settling on the right price.

1. Research the Market before Listing Your Price  

Conducting an objective analysis of your local housing market is key to setting the right listing price of your old home. While it should be “objective,” often, FSBO sellers allow emotions to interfere with such an intellectual exercise. Simply examine and compare the prices of recently sold old homes in your area to give you a hint of the most competitive list price. The results of your market research will help you set a list price that mirrors your objectives and projected profit. If you want to move out sooner, place a lower list price, but if you can wait longer for the right buyer, set a higher list price. 

2. Consult a Listing Agent to Set a Realistic Price

You can use a local agent with excellent experience in selling outdated homes to help you analyze your local market comprehensively. They should know how to interpret comps, or the most recent comparable sales as well as the latest sales patterns. With this information, the listing agent can take into consideration your objectives and motivations, including the length of time you are comfortable to wait before selling the property then set a realistic list price. 

3. Look into Sold Comparables

You should make a comparison of the original list prices of old houses with the final sales prices to determine the price reductions. Then make another comparison of the final list prices with the actual sold prices to determine ratios. Typically, many seller’s markets usually close sales for more than 100% of list prices. However, in a buyer’s market, homes generally sell for the actual list price or even less. In order to arrive at the right price for your old home, adjust pricing for differences in lot size, configuration, and renovations.

4. Compare the Cost per Square Foot 

To arrive at the approximate appraised value of your old house for sale as FSBO, you need to carry out a comparison of homes with similar square footage. Appraisers prefer staying within 10% of net square footage calculations. For instance, if the old house is 4,000 square feet, comparable homes would be between 3,600 to 2,400 square feet. Keep in mind that the price per square foot increases with a decrease in size and vice versa. Furthermore, smaller homes have a more significant square foot cost, while bigger ones have a lesser square foot cost.

Old House Pricing Tip

In hot sellers’ markets where homes regularly sell beyond the asking price, a lower list price may prompt a bidding war that would end up making you sell your old house for a much higher profit than anticipated. 

How to Avoid Price Reduction before Home Inspection When Selling Old House as FSBO

Here, the idea is to fix the most critical problems before home inspection when you are selling your old house as FSBO. Expect to have buyers demanding for a physical inspection of the property or crosschecking related reports when you decide to go the FSBO route. To avoid price reduction before the home inspection, choose an accredited home inspection specialist, before making the commitment to list it, and complete the sale. 

The following are some of the most sought home inspection issues that you should focus on to avoid price reduction when selling an old house as FSBO and before accepting any offers. 

1. Roof Certifications 

Issued by an accredited roofer, a roof certification refers to a statement of opinion that warranties that the rooftop of your old house has at least 1-3 year life expectancy or more. If the inspection report does not include evidence that the age and condition of the roof make your home ready for the real estate market, you will have to dig into your pockets to ensure the roof is certified as a good business practice. In case your property requires any roof repairs to extend the life expectancy for one, two, or three years, the buyer must be satisfied before a certification is issued by the licensed roofer. 

2. Home Warranty

A home warranty is a one-year service product agreement that covers the repair or replacement of essential home appliances and other related system components that usually fail or deteriorate in quality over time. Home warranties are significant in real estate transactions involving fixer-upper homes because they protect you and the buyer from making unforeseen expenditures on breakdowns. While a few sellers avoid paying for a home warranty, you need it for your outdated home because it acts as insurance against unwarranted late-night phone calls from the time of listing to the weeks or months following the closing. 

3. Pest Inspections

During a pest inspection, an inspector checks both the interior and exterior of your property for any signs of plague, damage, or pest infestation. While it’s a home inspection that predominantly inspects wood, the pest inspection process assesses every part of your old home. Even if your state or local area has never had a pest problem, its’s prudent to inspect every part of your outdated home for damage from ants, beetles, or termites before giving a sale offer. Otherwise, you’ll have to incur any repair expenses based on the disapproval of the inspection.

4. Sewer Line Inspections

Sewer line inspections are essential for your outdated home because as properties age, so do their sewer lines. The underground pipes may have developed cracks and clogs as well as collapsed lines resulting from the pressure exerted by crisscrossing tree roots over the years. The inspector carries out the process by attaching a video camera to a snake line to record the state of the sewer and other problems inside the pipes. You must also ensure that your septic tanks are checked out. However, you will spend a big chunk of money if you consider the cost of replacing a sewer line because a property can sit hundreds of feet above a sewer system.

5. Engineering Reports

The engineering report is a physical survey report that constitutes a vital part of the due diligence on real estate property carried out by first-class architects and other specialists to assess the physical conditions of buildings. This investigation requires advanced technical skills and proficiency of architects who can give an impartial perspective of your outdated home and if it’s fit for the market after making natural hazard or geological disclosures. They also assess the potential risks of nearby landfills, contamination reports, and other detrimental resale hazards.

Conclusion 

With the tips mentioned above, don’t disregard your old home yet! With a combination of some TLC, a smart realtor who will ensure buyers know their options, and an expert virtual staging expert from Tallbox, your house will probably sell faster than you expect, and for a good profit! 

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.
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