How to sell a "fixer-upper" in Knoxville (for sale, real estate)
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I have a fixer-upper that I want to sell as is. The first thing I need to know is how much to ask. I talked to a contractor that I had at the house about it, and he seemed to be of the opinion that I needed to get an appraiser rather than a real estate agent for that part, as he thought that an agent would pull comps without being able to correctly adjust for all the things that need fixed.
Is he right? Do people typically use a real estate agent to sell fixer-uppers, like with "regular" homes?
If I need an appraiser, do you have any suggestion on who to contact?
Good realtors will have a reasonable idea, the worth, and trust me, when you advertise it, using the wording that it is a fixer upper, you will get all kinds of flippers, and they will have their estimators, and getting their own figures. So it will not really matter, as they will gladly tell you, what they expect to spend, which will be figured into their offer. ]Agent can tell you the worth, as in the better condition, and your biggest concern, is how much you can turn it for, and walk away with a proffit. Good luck on your sell, and hope it happens quickly.
Selling your house as a "fixer upper" or "as is" depends a lot on how much fixing up is needed when trying to decide your selling point. There's really two different ways to look at it.
1. If you're trying to sell to the general public, as a good deal that needs some minor cosmetic repairs and aesthetics to bring back to good living condition, then that's one thing. Running comps on neighboring homes in good condition can give you a pretty good idea. For instance, if homes are selling in the area for $100,000, and you assume it will need around $15,000 of work, it gives you a good idea of where to start, obviously wanting to start slightly higher to leave room for negotiating.
2. If it needs more than cosmetics and is some structural (foundation, removing/moving walls, floor work, etc) then it is probably better to market to flippers and investors. General rule of thumb, for investors, they typically want to make a 15-20% return on investment. For instance, if they buy a home for $80,000, and put $20,000 into it, they'd like to be able to remarket the property for around $120,000. Proper pricing and understanding of true price is very important here.
As far as getting an appraiser, it's definitely a good move, as they can help determine the level of work needed, and help to maximize your top dollar. In either scenario, depending on the status of the house and work, buyers may make the puchase contingent on the repair costs not to exceed "X" amount of money, then get their own appraisal. Realtors can definitely help, as the MLS is a great marketing tool, as basically every investor has access and knows to browse it. If selling FSBO, a good add in the paper, or listing on fsbo sites can help. Obviously you can clear more without a realtor on a comparative sale price between using one and not, but often times their expertise can come into play in these situations with proper negotiating, "unordinary/relative paperwork" in contract negotiations, pricing, and contacts for any work needed. You may want to browse around and see what some similar "as is" homes have sold for recently. Best of luck!
Last edited by Servpro Will; 01-20-2009 at 10:04 AM..
Knoxville area Realtors sell "fixer upper" houses almost every day of the year. Typically most of the local fixers uppers these days are foreclosures or short sales where the seller is not able to put the house in top condition but there are other reasons as well.
Some potential sellers want to sell as is because of the unknown factor in exactly what size check will they have to write to 'fix up' a house to sell.
There's actually a lot you can do even selling as in, to ensure you get the highest price. One easy thing is to simply clean up the house. Wipe down the kitchen cabinets and surfaces with a good, degreasing cleaner, make sure all clutter, trash, and debris are removed from the premises.
Paint is a cheap fix up that costs little and adds both to the value and desirability of a house for sale.
So while you're looking for a buyer to simply write you a check for your house with you doing nothing, a few simple clean up, paint up items can almost always bring you more money when you sell than doing nothing will.
While appraisers are paid for their work to give you their professional opinion of a home's anticipated value, a good, experienced Realtor can usually give you a good market value opinion as well.
I do BPOs or broker's price opinions for lenders often using the same methodology appraisers use.
Here's a list I wrote of 40 things you can do for either nothing or very little cost to make your house sell faster and for more money.
1. Be sure your lawn and shrubbery is kept trimmed at all times. Consider
removing overgrown trees and shrubs that hide the house from the street.
2. Keep the garage doors down at all times.
3. For a touch of color, have seasonal flowers growing in beds and containers.
4. Make sure your driveway is in good repair. Pressure wash concrete drives
and walks to remove stains and car drippings, and put a fresh coat of
sealer on asphalt drives.
5. Make sure patios and decks are clean and in good repair. Replace any
rotten wood and nail down loose boards on decking or steps; pressure wash
6. Garage sale time! Clear out everything you don't intend to keep and tidy
up what's staying. Make sure garage doors and openers are in proper
7.Check all railings and fencing to make sure it's in good repair and
8. Pay special attention to the area around your front door; make sure your
doorbell works, clean all cobwebs, leaves, and other debris that may have
accumulated there. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint if needed;
paint is one of the most cost effective fix up items you can do.
9. Check for broken windows or leaking seals on thermo pane windows;
replace if necessary.
10. Clean all the cobwebs from around the front door. Make sure all
outdoor lighting (especially front porch) is clean and shiny; replace if
necessary. It is especially important that the entrance to your home make a
good first impression on prospective buyers. This sets the tone for the
11. Check your mailbox. Is it straight and upright? Neatly trimmed around?
12. Before you start indoors walk across the street in front of your house
and look back (like a buyer will see it). Does it present an appealing
13. Start by walking through the house and making a list. Do your carpets
need shampooing? Floors need a fresh coat of wax? Dust all ceiling fans
especially the blades and wash light
14. You're going to have to pack when you move anyway, so go through all
your closets and pack up everything you don't need for the next couple of
months. A closet with only a few neatly arranged items creates an
impression of abundant storage space.
15. Thin out overcrowded rooms. Ever notice the model homes sparse
furnishings? They make the rooms look larger. Consider renting a storage
facility to store excess lamps, tables, and large items that eat up space
in a room.
16.Go through and pack up most of your family pictures and collections of
model ships, stamps, quilts, or anything that might cause a buyer to stop
and look at your collections of stuff instead of your house.
17.Check all light fixtures to make sure all the bulbs burn. Use the
largest wattage bulb that you safely can to give off more light.
18. Wash all your windows and make sure window treatments are clean and in
good repair. Keep the window coverings open whenever possible to let in
19. With a good degreaser, wipe down everything in the kitchen so it feels
clean to the touch. Clean your stove and oven; replace stove eye pans if needed
20. Go through your kitchen cabinets and pantry to make sure they're neat
and tidy; give any food that you don't plan to use right away to the local
21.Make sure your sinks are clean at all times and free of dirty dishes and
22. Remove all excess items from your counters to give the impression of
lots of work surface.
23. Pleasing aromas add to the appealing atmosphere we're trying to
establish for your buyers; consider keeping a saucepan of potpourri on the
stove to give off an appealing scent.
24.Clean all light switch places by taking them off and washing with soap
and water; replace if necessary.
25.Make sure the bathrooms are spotless at all times with fresh towels,
decorative soaps, and all fixtures are shiny, scrubbed, and in good repair.
26. Check all faucets and shower heads to make sure they're spotless and
free of leaks and drips.
27. Repaint interior rooms if needed with neutral colors.
28.Don't forget your ceilings too; years of living in a home with cooking,
smoking, and other everyday activities can stain ceilings. Paint ages;
repaint if needed.
29. Don't have large, space eating house plants sitting around; give them
away or ask a neighbor to store them until you move.
31.The more light you can get into a room the bigger and more spacious the
room will appear. When you leave for a showing, turn on lights in rooms
that are normally darker than you would like and make sure the window
coverings are open to admit outside light.
32. An old decorator trick to bring in more light as well as make rooms
appear larger are mirrors; either hanging on a wall or on a stand.
33. Pack away and store out of season clothes. Get rid of extra hangars.
Straighten up your shoes (consider some inexpensive shoe racks from a
discount store like K-Mart or Wal-Mart).
34. When painting don't forget the interiors of closets and the closets
doors; make sure all closet and interior doors open and close correctly.
35. Check where ceilings meet wall and clean all cobwebs, this is a
commonly overlooked area when cleaning, along with tops of tall furniture
items such as hutches, entertainment centers, etc.
36. If you have a pet make sure there are no odors. You may not notice
odors since you live with your pet every day, have a neutral third party
give your home a "sniff" test for objectionable odors that may turn buyers off.
37. Also, when buyers come to visit, keep your pet under control, or better
yet, get a friend or neighbor to "pet sit" for you while the buyers are
38. It's important that you leave the house for all showings. Buyers feel
less inhibited if you're not around and will usually take a closer look in
closets and in kitchen cabinets, as well as voice any objections that your
agent can then deal with. If the buyers won't make comments because you're
following them around pointing things out then your agent can't deal with
any potential problems that may hinder making an offer.
39. If you have several vehicles make sure the spot closest to the door
buyers enter through is empty for them.
40. Freshly baked or even store bought cookies & little snacks along with
an appropriate beverage (hot in winter, cold in summer) along with a sign
saying "Please Sit Down and Enjoy a Treat While You're Here" will make your
home more memorable even if they don't take anything. Remember little
things can go a long way towards getting your home sold quickly for the
Last edited by jimlee; 01-21-2009 at 07:22 AM..
Hey Jim, good to talk to you over Christmas at the Title Services open house. These are good things for sellers to consider, and I've read these a lot of different places. If you did write these, you're not being quoted properly on a lot of other websites...
Moderator cut: 4 websites deleted
Last edited by Beretta; 01-23-2009 at 07:35 AM..
Reason: these sites are realtor driven, since you can't post your website we will be fair and remove these :)
Thank you everyone, I appreciate all the advice! This is a house in Fountain City that I ended up with through a family member. I don't have the time or resources to fix it up, so it makes sense to let someone else realize its potential. It's a pretty house.
Sara Long, Appraisal Associates, 470-2971 is a great appraiser and very familiar with the Fountain City area.
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