If you’re trying to sell a house that’s “ugly” — outdated or in disrepair — you may not want to spend a lot of time and money prepping it for the open market. Maybe it’s already been sitting on the market for a while, and your timeline for closing is fast approaching.
But what’s ugly to you is still valuable to individuals and companies that fix and flip houses. Most of them will pay you cash up front and close within a couple weeks. Depending on the house’s condition, you have a few options to sell quickly.
Your best bets for selling an ugly house
However, assuming that your property is unappealing and needs to be offloaded at a discount could put you in a weaker negotiating position with buyers. Consider getting an expert second opinion from a realtor to determine if your home is worth renovating or making small cosmetic upgrades first.
What is an ugly house, anyway?
Often, “ugly” just means dated or not well kept. Some houses have outdated built-in features, overly kitschy decor, or mismatched appliances. Others have old-fashioned layouts that aren’t functional anymore — for example, closed-concept spaces or smaller closets.
“Ugly” can also mean neglected. These homes can sometimes have more serious issues, such as cracked foundations, leaky basements, dilapidated roofs, or unsafe structures.
Inheriting an ugly house?
Some homeowners feel emotionally attached to their home’s appearance, while others just don’t value renovations. By the time that house gets to you, it may need more than a paint job to sell — even if it’s structurally in good condition. Learn more about selling inherited property.
If your home needs cosmetic work: Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyers turn around the homes they buy fast, so homes that need cosmetic work but are structurally sound are exactly what they’re looking for.
Major issues are expensive and time-consuming, which make them a bad option for iBuyers who need to move fast to make money. For your home to be appealing to an iBuyer, all major systems should be in working order. That means:
- No bowed, sagging, or warped roof
- No scratched or cracked exteriors, like broken windows from a storm
- No significant damage to the foundation
- No major plumbing or electrical work
- No infestations
The nice thing about iBuyers is they can pay you fast and close to fair market value, depending on the condition of your home.
Note: If iBuyers don’t operate in your area, or your house just needs a relatively simple repair you can’t afford to make, you can also request offers from local house-flippers.
If your home has serious repair issues: Sell to a cash buyer
If your home needs more than cosmetic work, then a cash buyer might be your best option. This kind of home usually needs work on a major system like HVAC, plumbing, or electrical wiring.
Cash buyers can be individuals or companies that buy houses for cash, and they can usually close in a week or two. Individual cash buyers might offer you more than a company, but they may be harder to find.
Cash buyers will buy your house as is and typically won’t get an appraisal or inspection, so you won’t need to worry about a second round of negotiations. You can also request proof of funds so that you can be confident that they have the money to buy your house.
The downside is that since cash buyers have to cover holding costs and repairs, they’ll usually protect their bottom lines by bidding 50–70% of the fair market value.
If neither option works: Sell to a flipper, with the help of a realtor
Some one-off improvements are relatively simple to complete and don’t interfere with the rest of the house’s structure. For example, a single hole in the roof just needs to get patched, but it’s just not worth the cost for you or the iBuyer — even if you make that money back at resale.
In these situations, you might be better off selling to a local house flipper.
Flippers will have a good idea of how much time and money they can afford to spend on your home to make a profit. They often pay no more than 70% of your home’s estimated market value after it’s been fixed up.
Working with a realtor experienced in selling to investors is probably the best way to locate these pros. Many real estate agents are investors themselves and:
- Have the connections to find professional flippers in your area
- Know how to market your home to buyers who can close fast and as is
- Can advise you on which high-return repairs you should make
What Is An iBuyer? iBuyers are companies that use technology and data to give home sellers fast cash offers. Learn how iBuying works and which companies are the best.
Best Companies That Buy Houses for Cash. These companies buy houses for cash, helping you sell your home quickly and conveniently — but at a cost!
Selling an Inherited Home: How to Sell Fast and Avoid Taxes. Learn how to sell an inherited home fast, ways to reduce or avoid taxes, and how to sell if you’re ready to cash in on your inheritance.
Should I Sell My House to an Investor? Selling a house to an investor is a good idea in certain situations, like if you need to sell ASAP. Learn more about the pros and cons.