Selling a Fixer-Upper: Tips for Success

December 28, 2023

Selling a fixer-upper property can be a challenging endeavor, but with the right approach and a little elbow grease, it can also be a lucrative one. Fixer-uppers are homes that need significant repairs or renovations, and they often appeal to a specific type of buyer. If you’re considering selling a fixer-upper, here are some tips for success.

Understanding the Fixer-Upper Market

Before you start the process of selling a fixer-upper, it’s crucial to understand the market dynamics for such properties. Fixer-uppers typically attract two types of buyers:

  1. Investors: Many investors are on the lookout for distressed properties that they can purchase at a lower price, renovate, and sell for a profit. These buyers are typically looking for properties with substantial upside potential.
  2. DIY Enthusiasts: Some buyers are eager to take on a fixer-upper as a personal project. They are often looking for a home with good bones that they can customize to their liking over time.

Knowing your target audience will help you tailor your marketing efforts and pricing strategy accordingly.

Assessing Your Property

Before listing your fixer-upper, it’s essential to assess the extent of the repairs and renovations required. Consider hiring a professional home inspector or contractor to provide you with a detailed assessment. This will help you determine the scope of work needed and estimate the costs involved.

When assessing your property, pay attention to:

  • Structural Issues: Identify any major structural problems that need attention, such as a damaged foundation, roof issues, or plumbing and electrical problems.
  • Cosmetic Improvements: Take note of cosmetic updates required, including outdated kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and paint.
  • Curb Appeal: Evaluate the property’s curb appeal. A well-maintained exterior can significantly impact a buyer’s first impression.
  • Local Market Conditions: Research the local real estate market to understand what buyers are looking for in your area and how your property compares to others on the market.

Setting the Right Price

Pricing a fixer-upper can be tricky. On one hand, you want to account for the repairs and renovations needed, but on the other hand, you don’t want to scare potential buyers away with an exorbitant price tag.

Consider the following factors when setting the right price:

  • Comparable Sales: Look at recent sales of similar fixer-upper properties in your area to get a sense of what buyers are willing to pay.
  • Repair Estimates: Use the assessment you received from professionals to estimate the cost of repairs and renovations accurately.
  • Market Conditions: Keep an eye on the local real estate market. If it’s a seller’s market with high demand, you may be able to ask for a higher price.
  • Room for Negotiation: Be prepared for negotiations. Buyers of fixer-uppers often expect to haggle on price, so leave some room for that.

Preparing Your Property for Sale

Once you’ve assessed your property and set the right price, it’s time to prepare it for sale. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Declutter and Clean: Remove clutter and clean the property thoroughly. A clean and tidy space is more appealing to buyers.
  • Make Minor Repairs: Fix any minor issues that won’t break the bank, such as leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, or cracked tiles.
  • Enhance Curb Appeal: Invest in improving the exterior of the property. Paint the front door, trim the bushes, and make sure the landscaping looks well-maintained.
  • Consider Staging: Depending on the property’s condition, consider staging it to help buyers envision its potential.
  • Create a Marketing Plan: Work with a real estate agent to develop a marketing plan that highlights the property’s potential and attracts the right buyers.

Disclose All Issues

It’s essential to be transparent about the condition of your fixer-upper. Disclose all known issues to potential buyers, either through your real estate agent or in the listing itself. This builds trust and can prevent legal issues down the road.

Negotiating with Buyers

When you receive offers from potential buyers, be prepared for negotiations. Understand that buyers of fixer-uppers often expect to pay less than the asking price, especially if significant repairs are needed. Be open to reasonable offers and work with your real estate agent to find common ground.

Closing the Deal

Once you’ve accepted an offer, the closing process begins. Here are some steps to keep in mind:

  • Inspections: Buyers may request inspections to further assess the property’s condition. Be prepared for potential repair negotiations based on the inspection results.
  • Appraisal: The property will likely need to be appraised to determine its value. Be ready for any discrepancies between the appraised value and the agreed-upon sale price.
  • Closing Costs: Understand the closing costs involved, and be prepared to cover your share of these expenses.
  • Timing: Coordinate the closing date with the buyer and ensure all necessary paperwork is in order.


Selling a fixer-upper can be a rewarding venture if done right. Understanding your target market, accurately assessing your property, setting the right price, and properly preparing your property for sale are crucial steps to success. Be transparent about any issues, be open to negotiations, and work with a trusted real estate agent to navigate the process smoothly. With the right approach, you can turn your fixer-upper into a profitable sale.

Chris Chiarenza