How to Avoid Remodeling When Selling Your House

You want to sell your house, but the last time you bothered with updates was when you moved in — which might have been 10 or even 20 years ago. Yet, a major remodel can cost tens of thousands of dollars and delay your home sale by weeks or months. It’s no surprise that most homeowners want to avoid making drastic changes just before they move.

Your house isn’t the trendiest property on the block, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. You just need to attract buyers to your property in other ways. Here are a few ideas for incentivizing buyers to your home, so you can get it off the market in record time.

Lower Asking Price

A great deal is like a magnet for home buyers; in fact, lowering your asking price even slightly might attract so much attention that a bidding war brings the final offer well above the value of your home. However, you don’t want to lower your asking price so much that you don’t get the minimum of what your home is worth. You should talk to your real estate agent to determine a reasonable asking price that will sell your home fast.

Loan Buy-down

Even more attractive than a lower asking price is an offer to buy down the loan, which reduces the buyer’s interest rate, saving them money into the future. Anyone can buy down a loan by purchasing mortgage points at closing; sometimes, buyers will decide to buy down their own loan to reduce their interest payments. You might only need to pay $2,500 to reduce your buyer’s interest rate by .5 percent, so it could be worth considering this method of attracting buyers and closing deals fast.

Seller Financing

If you aren’t hurting for the money trapped in your real estate, you might consider seller financing, in which you act as the lender. You allow the buyer enough credit to cover the purchase price of the home minus any down payment, and you receive payments plus interest from the buyer over time. Typically, this is a short-term loan, with the expectation that in a few years, the buyer will refinance through a traditional lender. It also requires that both buyer and seller sign a promissory note with the terms of the loan included. Indeed, seller financing has more than a few logistical and legal hurdles, but it can be worth it for both parties.

Home Warranty

An older home seems like a risky investment, so many buyers might keep their distance if your home is 20 years old or older. A good way to prevent this kind of behavior is with a home warranty, which is like insurance against normal wear and tear. You can acquire a home warranty plan that suits your property perfectly, protecting not only standard systems — like electrical, HVAC, plumbing and large appliances — but also add-ons like pools and spas, the roof and outbuildings. There are dozens of home warranty benefits, but peace of mind for buyers is the main one.

Repair Costs

It is wise to make some repairs to your property to make it look more attractive to buyers, but if you don’t want to make any updates or changes whatsoever, you might offer to pay the buyer back for any repairs they need to perform. It’s not ideal, but it can assuage fears that buyers might have about specific issues around your home.

Closing Costs

Typically, closing costs for buyers run between 2 and 5 percent of the home’s purchase price — and some buyers simply aren’t prepared for these additional expenses. You can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs. Of course, it is important to remember that you have your own closing costs to contend with, so you shouldn’t offer to pay more than is sensible.

HOA or Community Center Fees

Homes in nice parts of town often come with monthly fees for homeowner associations or community parks or centers. While access to these spaces is nice, many homeowners might not like the idea of an ongoing expense in addition to their new mortgage. You can take the pressure off by paying for the HOA or other community perks in advance, just as you would a home warranty.


Finally, if a buyer is so-so on the home but in love with the antique dining room set, the quaint nursery furnishings or the patio décor, you might consider throwing these items in as part of the deal. As long as they aren’t sentimental items to you, they guarantee a win-win: Your buyer gets some thrilling new furnishings, and you get the quick sale and easy move you hoped for.

Depending on where your home is, you might be able to make a quick sale without resorting to any of the tactics mentioned above. However, if you aren’t certain that you are in a seller’s market, you might as well enhance your offerings with either remodeling or a juicy incentive.


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