Selling a Home with an Obvious Defect: What to Do … and What to Avoid


Consider this: years ago, you purchased the home you were renting. It was your starter home and you were happy to have something to sign your name to. A few years have passed, though, and you’re ready to move up in the world. Now, your thinking of selling said starter home. There’s just one issue: it’s an older house with plenty of problems, and you never put in the money to repair or renovate the property. Can you still sell the home?

Fortunately, the answer is yes.  But you will need to be careful with how you go about it.

Read on to learn more about selling a home with obvious defects or issues, and how to protect yourself in the process.

No Home is Perfect

Unless your home is brand new, there’s likely something wrong with it. Even upscale homes have potential issues lurking under the floorboards and in the ceilings. It’s often the older homes, though, that are in need of major TLC. While some people shell out the cash needed to fix these homes, bring them up to modern code, and repair any issues, many people simply live in these older homes “as-is.”

While this might not present any day-to-day problems, things like mold, lead paint, crooked foundations, and leaky windows can cause major issues when you go to sell the home.

Selling a Home and Protecting Yourself

If you’re going to sell a home like this, here are the steps you need to take to do it the right way:

1. Disclose everything

It can be tempting to gloss over the facts to sell your home, but this can easily land you in legal trouble down the road. While most buyers order a home inspection before purchasing a property, there are also laws in place that require sellers to disclose what they know about the home’s condition.

This is critical for several reasons. For one, buyers are more willing to negotiate with sellers they perceive as honest and trustworthy, and you could easily damage that perception if you withhold information. Secondly, if you don’t tell your buyer something, they don’t order an inspection, and then something pops up down the road, you could be sued.

With this in mind, consult your state disclosure rules (and federal disclosure rules, as well) to determine what you need to disclose, and ensure you’re checking all the boxes during your sale.

2. Make the repairs you can

While you might not be able to renovate the entire home, take some time before the sale to make the repairs you can. Simple fixes like new windows, a fresh coat of paint, or new flooring can make a home look and feel much nicer, even if other, larger flaws are still present.

3. Be willing to negotiate

As a seller, it’s important to realize that a home in poor condition won’t be worth as much as a home in excellent condition. Realize this before you go to the signing table and be willing to negotiate accordingly.

Selling a Home the Easy Way

Even if your home has some flaws, it can still find a loving new owner. Follow these tips to streamline the sales process and make it easy and safe for everyone involved.