Tips on Selling Fixer-Uppers

••• old run-down farm house image by Sherri Camp from

Through an inheritance, a project gone awry, or perhaps years of neglect of your own home, you may find yourself in possession of a property in poor condition that you want to sell. This is not difficult to do, as long as you're willing to sell it for what it's worth.

Clean It Up

Your property being in poor condition is no excuse not to do what you can to improve it. If you're selling it as a "fixer-upper," you don't want to pour money into it, but you can improve its curb appeal greatly by cutting the grass, picking up trash, and washing the windows. A new coat of paint may help as well, although some potential buyers might interpret this as you trying to cover up problems. If the house is vacant, clean it out completely, getting rid of old boxes and junk and cleaning up dust, cobwebs and bird droppings. Things like this have no effect on the actual condition of the house but can have a major impact on a viewer's impression of it.

Emphasize the Good Points

Every property has its good points, and these are what you want to focus on in your promotional materials. Nice views, a quiet location, apple trees, a dry basement, or an unusual fireplace can all be emphasized as selling points. You shouldn't try to hide any faults, but it's perfectly acceptable to let the buyer discover them himself when he tours the property. A good location is particularly important when selling a fixer-upper. If the house is a real write-off, some buyers may buy the property solely for the location, with plans to demolish the house and build new.

Explore Tax Options

Depending on what country, state and municipality you live in, there will be different tax implications involved when you sell a property. If it's a property you inherited, selling it may have an impact on your inheritance taxes. If you are just interested in getting rid of the property and not concerned about how much you get, consider donating it or selling it at below-market value to a charitable organization that may have a use for the land, such as a gardening or conservation group.

Be Flexible

When people see the term "fixer-upper" in a real estate ad, they read "cheap." Accept that you're not going to get top dollar for a fixer-upper. Your options are to put a substantial amount of money and effort into renovating it and then sell it for more money, or to leave the work to someone else and sell it for less. Don't be offended if you receive offers that are substantially below your asking price. Many people in the market for fixer-uppers are renovators and wheeler-dealers who are looking to make some money, so they're going to drive a hard bargain.