How can I sell my house?

CatherineHaddieOctober 6, 2011

Hi, I have a situation where I bought a house that was structurally sound, but needed a lot of cosmetic updating. It was built in the mid-70s and hadn�t been updated since. We removed the carpet and the dark paneling. We are now in a situation where we desperately need to sell it. And quick.

So my question is, can we sell it in this condition? How does that work. It appraised at 140,000 when we bought it and we have about 90,000 left on it and would gladly take that to get out from under it. It needs some work, but nothing more than cosmetic stuff. Can we either put it on the market like this? Absolutely any comments or advice are welcome. Thanks in advance!

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ncrealestateguy

Catherine,
Here in Charlotte, buyers are preferring to get a good deal on a house that needs cosmetic work, as opposed to paying "full price" on a home in perfect condition. Lower the price to a point that will show value to buyers. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 7:26AM
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barbcollins

Are you saying it is gutted? Or that you removed the paneling and replaced with drywall?

When you say you only have 90K left on it, do you mean that's your mortgage or the value?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 7:42AM
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Billl

There is a market for every home in every condition, as long as it is priced properly.

The easiest way to get a proper price is to bring in a professional - either an appraiser or local realtor. They can give you a market value. If you want a quicker sale, price below market value.

You also need to get the property in front of as many eyes as possible. Currently, that means listing on the MLS. If you go with a traditional realtor, that is standard. You can also go for a flat fee listing just to get it out there and do the rest FSBO. If you have to sell because you lost your job, you may have enough time available to do that. If you have a full time job, you'll probably be better off paying a realtor to handle all the details of showings etc for you.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:40AM
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CatherineHaddie

I wouldn't really call it gutted, but some parts have drywall and some parts have nothing over the studs/insulation. Almost all is just plywood subfloor. 90k on the mortgage.

So it could be put on the market in this condition? I was concerned about getting it appraised and buyers getting a loan.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Billl

"I was concerned about getting it appraised and buyers getting a loan. "

And rightly so. Your "average" buyer will not and can not buy your home in its current condition. Your buyer is going to need deeper pockets than average. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of people who buy houses with cash.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 12:36PM
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chisue

I know you couldn't sell a new build in that condition. The open walls would preclude getting a Certificate of Occupancy. You'll have to ask a realtor if it can be listed in this conditiion.

Can't you close the walls and paint? We're forever telling people that clean and simple will bring more in the market, including putting cheap carpeting over your floors.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 12:43PM
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marie_ndcal

Where are you located? City? Rural? State? Several people (RE agents) have posted some good advice and would I buy it NO, Did you get permits? Why did you start to remodel and then have to sell--loss of job? medical? other?
You need to talk to a Realtor and possibly sell as is. Be honest with the agent, but talk to an experience Broker and at least find out where you stand. The buyer may not be able to get a loan due to what you listed. How is the rest of the house?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 2:37PM
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CatherineHaddie

Rural area outside Little Rock, AR. It's a lakefront property. What kind of permits? Yes, loss of my husband's job, pregnancy on my part, then my husband got a new job in another state. We bought a fixer-upper years ago because we don't make a whole lot and HGTV made it look fun, quick, and easy. My husband is renting in another state and I'm dealing with the house situation and caring for a new baby. We are just wanting to be all together again, as soon as possible, but definitely before our daughter is old enough to start crawling. Also only have one housing expense since I am on maternity leave and not earning income.

The few parts we have finished are basic, but nice. Neutral colored paint wood laminate floors, etc. It's very clean and uncluttered. I'm optimistic that we'll find a way out of our situation, and we will definitely make smarter and more realistic choices in the future, but I've never sold a house before, let alone one in the midst of a remodel and have no idea where to go for help.

Also, everything is cosmetic. Kitchen is intact, all bathrooms work, it got a new roof and A/C unit last year, so there isn't going to be a major repair, just lots of drywall and flooring.

Thanks for all the info so far! :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 3:57PM
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weedyacres

Do you have some cash to hire a drywaller to close up walls and buy some inexpensive carpet? Both those can happen fairly quickly and would increase your potential buyer pool and thus price.

But if you can't or don't want to, there are certainly investors who would snap it up at the right price and fix it up themselves. Though in a rural area they might be fewer and farther between than in cities.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 6:11PM
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CatherineHaddie

Unfortunately, we don't have much cash sitting around outside of emergency savings. I don't really want to dig into that since we may be using it to help pay the mortgage in a few months. It's a 3300 square foot house and almost all needs flooring and about half needs drywall. There are a few other minor things it needs, like trim, but it all adds up quickly.

We could probably get a loan from a family member or credit card, but worry about not getting it back out of the house. Our mortgage is our only debt and my husband is a public school music teacher and teaches violin lessons on the side, so I'm nervous about assuming debt. But would, if that would help get it sold for the cost of the improvements and mortgage principle.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 6:32PM
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live_wire_oak

One issue may be that in it's current condition, you won't be able to sell it for what you owe on the mortgage. 90K for a heavy fixer upper in that area is high expectations. For an investor to buy it, I'd expect a sale price of more around 50K. There just isn't anyone else who is likely to touch it. You've got folks who want move in ready (a mortgagable home), and you've got investors (cash sale). There are very very few folks who can pay cash and want a home rather than an investment.

Are you sure you can't manage at least drywall on the walls and some cheap carpet on the floors? What about friends and family that can help you get some of this done so that you can sell for enough to actually move? If you can at least make the home eligible for a standard mortgage, you may end up covering the mortgage and possibly even a bit of money in your pocket.

I'm afraid if you cannot manage to do that minimum, then you will not manage to get a sale for enough to cover your mortgage. With the home not being eligible for a standard mortgage, your bank will not allow you to have a short sale and the only option at that point is going into foreclosure. Both options will very negatively affect your credit and your ability to find future housing.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 7:02PM
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Carol_from_ny

IMHO if you can get the walls done I wouldn't worry about the floors. A good agent should be able to sell it with the idea that the new owner can put down the floors they want, quickly and easily without having to worry about tearing out.

YOU really need to talk to a few agents in your area and get their input. Real estate these days is so dependent on the area.
What will work in one part of the country may not work in another.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 7:45PM
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folkvictorian

Your first step might be to talk to an experienced real estate agent to find out what their guesstimate would be as to length of time it might be on the market before it sells in its present condition. If they say it might be 6 months, 1 year, whatever, figure out how much it'll cost you to own it for that length of time. Compare that amount with what you'd have to pay someone to do the big finishing -- drywall, etc., now and maybe sell it sooner. What's going to cost you more in financial terms and in terms of stress and trouble?

There's a house that I came across in my real estate searches that was an older home that was only partly remodeled. I'll try to find the listing....it had language in the listing about how the owners are moving (due to a job change?) before the remodeling is done, but that it's an opportunity for the new owners to put their own choices into the finishing. That would be a good thing in my opinion -- it's hard to find a newly-done house that's got everything the way I'd want it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 7:14AM
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barbcollins

For what it's worth I see houses like this sell frequently (I am watching the MLS because we are renovating a house we plan to sell next year).

They are priced as such.

I was absolutely drooling over this one (they don't show that there was a pool in the back yard). It was only on the market for a month. http://franklymls.com/WA7563588

I would suggest you look at your own MLS for houses in similar condition. If you see any that sold contact their agents.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 9:06AM
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chisue

If you can rent for a while in the new location this might work.

My late mother (a Realtor) once bought a house primarily for the land value. It was a vacant farmhouse -- with holes in the floor. She found a tenant who was happy to pay reduced rent while he fixed up the house. He was able to get his feet back under him, and eventually my mother was able to rent the (repaired) house to someone else until she could sell the land to a developer.

I thought you might find someone like this to finish the house for you while you rent to him. (One of the fears people have about being landlords is that a tenant will make holes in the walls and stain the carpeting; opposite of your situation.) Or, you could sell on a rent-to-own basis.

I'm sorry you are so stressed. Too much happening all at once! (But some of it very NICE: Your new daughter!)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 11:41AM
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LoveInTheHouse

That's exactly the kind of house I am buying. I am able to move into it and turn on lights and the heat and flush the toilets, but the whole thing needs cosmetic repairs. Someone else actually offered the seller more money than I offered but he took my offer because I am paying cash and the other buyer needed an FHA mortgage and FHA can be strict about everything being in working order. So I got it cheaper to save him the headache.

You should price it for what it is. I wouldn't know what that is without looking at comps but it really doesn't matter whether the house is in perfect condition or it's a shambles, as long as the price reflects the condition. There are people like me who would rather get a fixer-upper if it means they could get a better house than they could afford otherwise, not just investors. And there are other loans besides FHA loans. Hopefully you can get more than you owe. Talk to some real estate agents and ask for an honest opinion of the value as it is right now and what they think is crucial to do in order for someone to get a loan.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 11:40PM
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kellyeng

Entire flooring for a house over 3000 sf will easily run at least $30k.

I would figure out how much the house would be worth if it were complete based on comps, estimate what it would cost to complete (keeping comps in mind), deduct that from the "completed" cost and that's what I would sell it for.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 10:18AM
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jboling_gw

Since it's lakefront property, there might be a buyer out there willing to pay a good price even with the work required. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 11:23AM
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barbcollins

"Entire flooring for a house over 3000 sf will easily run at least $30k."

Wow, that must be some really nice flooring. We had carpet put down in our last house. 2 Bedrooms, hall & living room was less than $1200. I could never spend $30K on flooring in a house I am trying to get rid of.

I think Chisue has the best idea. Try to rent the place out to someone who doesn't mind it as is, or would be willing to fix it up for a break on the rent. You probably won't get enough rent to pay the mortgage, but maybe enough to get buy for a while.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 1:07PM
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LoveInTheHouse

""Entire flooring for a house over 3000 sf will easily run at least $30k."
Wow, that must be some really nice flooring. We had carpet put down in our last house. 2 Bedrooms, hall & living room was less than $1200. I could never spend $30K on flooring in a house I am trying to get rid of."

That's what I was going to say because we're in the flooring business and $1200 for a couple of bedrooms and livingroom is about right for average carpet. Where are the customers who will pay $30,000?!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 11:26PM
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barbcollins

"That's what I was going to say because we're in the flooring business and $1200 for a couple of bedrooms and livingroom is about right for average carpet. Where are the customers who will pay $30,000?!"

Yeah, I bet you'd like to move there huh? You could make some good money :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 12:00PM
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kellyeng

That's what I was going to say because we're in the flooring business and $1200 for a couple of bedrooms and livingroom is about right for average carpet. Where are the customers who will pay $30,000?!

Okay, then what are you going to put on the floor in the kitchen, the bathrooms, utility room, hallways? Vinyl? Is that what the comps have?

We built our house four years ago and a combo of tile and wood flooring was going to run us $10sf. I must admit, I wasn't thinking about carpet.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 12:34PM
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GreenDesigns

Cheap carpet and vinyl run under $1 a foot. While not something that any upscale buyer would want, it at least satisfies the bank's requirement of some type of finished floor. The drywall is more problematic. Any type of paneling that you could nail in place is gonna be a lot more than drywall. Drywall is the cheapest thing going for a wall covering. And it's the minimum you have to do in order to be able to have a bank finance a buyer's loan. Otherwise, you're in the cash sale "we buy ugly houses" price range, which is about 33 cents on the dollar. That won't even cover the remaining note on this place. You'd have to bring cash to the closing table then.

A 10K loan from a parent or sibling to get the flooring and walls done and some painting will get the home on the market and might allow the selling price to be above the note and possibly have some left over as well, depending on the comps in the area. What has recently sold in your area that is similar to your home, but not torn apart?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 3:31PM
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barbcollins

Another thought. If you put paneling up and paint it, it wouldn't be too bad (but a lot quicker and cheaper). You also could get away with no baseboard if you have carpet installed.

Agree with GreenDesigns, it wouldn't be good for an upscale buyer, but would satisfy the bank (fha etc).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 6:35PM
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butterfly4u

Catherine,
You do not want to try to sell it for cash to an Investor.
They will low ball you sooo bad, you can't sell it for that.
Ask family to help put drywall up on the walls.
See if you can get a Home Depot credit card.
Then buy some nice neutral paint, like beige, and paint the walls.
Have a painting party one weekend.
Don't worry so much about the floors,you could have some nice cheap carpeting put down.
DOn't feel weird about borrwing the money to make the house presentable!
The payments will be low, and even though it will probably sell if the work is done, if you absolutely had to rent the house, it still has to be finished.
Stage the house!
Start packing now. Your moving!
Pile the boxes against walls that don't have to be worked on.
It's hard to do this all by yourself, but mabey friends and family can help you.
Price your house after it's completed 10K under the competition.
USE a fricking realtor if you want to sell it fast.
It is worth every dime!
Then pour your self a nice big glass of wine and relax.
LOL!
Look at the bright side, at least your hubby is working!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:03AM
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CulverCityRealtor

There are always buyers for a house that is low priced. The question you have to ask is, can you take a low price for it?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:41PM
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