3 Solutions for Selling a Home That Needs Some Work


The common perception of a house sale: the owner goes through an extensive list of updates, combined with painting all the home’s interior walls some shade of greige and removing every personal touch to stage the home for potential buyers.

That’s not necessarily the only path to a successful home sale, though. If you’re faced with a long list of repairs and upgrades before you can even list your home for sale, consider these other options before you pick up that paint brush or tool kit.

Living room designed as costal residence
Used with permission of Jenny Keenan

Prioritize Necessary Repairs Over Cosmetic Ones …

It’s only natural that you want to show your home to its best advantage. So you may already be thinking of things like upgraded kitchen or bathroom fixtures or brand new flooring or carpeting. However, before you get to those “nice to have” items, make sure you’ve addressed the bigger issues.

Along with your realtor, take a close, objective look at your home, both interior and exterior. Look for issues that will turn off an otherwise interested buyer. Are there signs of water damage anywhere? Is the flooring coming loose in areas? Do doors or windows not close and lock properly? Are your bathtubs equipped with safety rails for aging or disabled residents? Items like these should be prioritized ahead of any projects that are purely cosmetic in nature.

… But Don’t Discount the Power of a Low-Cost Refresh

Kitchen with dining table and chairs
Used with permission of Jenny Keenan

Sometimes, what you’ve got on your hands isn’t so much a seemingly endless list of discrete repair jobs but more of a house that simply needs a little makeover. Nothing freshens up a tired-looking home, especially one your family has lived in for several years, like a fresh coat of paint.

To give your home a quick makeover prior to listing, follow these tips:

  • Declutter your home thoroughly. Store items you’d like to keep in an attic, utility shed or rented storage unit.
  • Remove any personal family photographs and tchotchkes. Aim for a sleek, model-home aesthetic so that potential buyers can more readily envision themselves living there.
  • Use a neutral toned paint and white or off-white trim throughout your home to cover scratches and discoloration.
  • If you’ve got the budget, consider hiring a staging professional to help you upgrade your home and help it stand out in listing photos.

Know If You’re Dealing With Prior Code Violations

Hall with armchair and cabinet
Used with permission of Jenny Keenan

Many times a prior homeowner’s DIY project could result in a home with a code violation that might derail a potential sale of your house. Items such as misplaced smoke and CO detectors, properly installed handrails, and a lack of functional GFCI outlets where they’re needed can all result in a citation of a violation of one or more building codes. Those codes are usually monitored and enforced by your town’s building department.

A home inspection and your real estate agent can assist you in determining what violations you’re looking at and whether you’ll need to repair them prior to sale. You may alternatively be able to locate a buyer who’s willing to pay a reduced amount in order to take responsibility for repairing the violations themselves or one who will accept the home “as-is” and pay cash, usually an iBuyer.

Thanks to homelight.com for consulting.


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