There are hundreds of articles about curb appeal to make your home attractive to potential buyers, and many more about quick fixes you can do prior to or after a home inspection to impress buyers and help seal the deal. But do you have to invest in changing your house before you sell?
Is it possible just to put up that "for sale" sign and let the chips fall where they may?
Possible? Yes. Smart? It depends. Take a look at the pros and cons of selling your home as a fixer upper to see if it's a good choice for your situation.
Selling "As Is" Pros
Fewer Upfront Costs
Often times, the biggest reason people look at selling a house "as is" is that they don't have the funds to make any further investments in the property. When sellers are short on cash, it makes sense to clean up the property as best they can with just some elbow grease, and move items into storage for a reasonable attempt at staging.
Less Wait Time
If you're trying to get a home on the market quickly, skipping that new paint job or date with a plumber can certainly save time when there are buyers willing to look past a home's issues.
If you need to sell fast and aren't concerned about getting top dollar, selling "as is" can possibly speed up the process if the home still sees an offer despite its condition.
Weed Out Less Serious Buyers
Listing your house in "as is" condition lets buyers know that you're not interested in wasting time. While this can scare away some buyers, it also serves to streamline the process for those who are truly interested in your property — and you won't have to clear out for a showing for less committed shoppers.
Selling "As Is" Cons
Lower Selling Price
You'll almost never get top dollar when you sell your home "as is". Those words may signal to buyers that there's probably something wrong with the property — from outdated appliances to structural issues — so they expect to get a great deal that will leave cash left over to overhaul the property.
An "as is" designation reads like a discount to many buyers.
The flip side of weeding out the window shoppers is that you'll have a smaller pool of buyers willing to take on the challenges of updating the property.
In a depressed market or slow selling season, this could cause your house to linger on the market for longer than anticipated. So, selling "as is" can sometimes have the opposite effect of what is intended — saving time. Talk to your real estate professional about the best way to time the sale.
Making Disclosures & Concessions
If you've personally lived in the home, you're probably intimately familiar with its problems — meaning you will need to inform the buyer of what they must know, as you would in any other sale.
Listing a home in "as is" condition doesn't negate your responsibility to follow disclosure laws. If you are not personally going to pay to fix large issues with the home, buyers will most likely expect a reduction in the home's price to cover the expenses for these projects.
When Should You Sell Your House "As Is"?
Many homes that are sold "as is" are the result of heirs liquidating an estate. For example, if a group of siblings inherit their parents' retirement cottage, they may wish to sell it quickly to settle the will and divide the inheritance. It's especially common to sell an inherited house "as is" if the owner has never lived there.
It can also make sense to sell a house that needs repairs in "as is" condition when you no longer live nearby. There are many reasons for moving across the country before selling, and once you're out of town, handling repairs and staging from afar can be challenging.
Your real estate agent will let you know if a few quick changes are worthwhile, and they may be able to help you manage the work locally if an "as is" listing isn't getting any bites.
Finally, selling your house "as is" can make sense if you're not in a hurry and aren't concerned about maximizing your profit. Taking a more passive approach to selling may work for people in this situation.
If you're lucky enough to live in a hot market, homes may still sell quickly in any case. Your real estate agent will have the knowledge to guide you in successfully selling your fixer upper.
If you are concerned about maximizing profit, however, it is often be best to fix up the home to some degree. Again, your real estate agent will advise you on what make sense for your particular situation.