The dilapidated interior of a run down house. SAM Conveyancing's top tips for Selling a House in Poor Condition
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Selling a House in Poor Condition: Navigating the UK Property Market

(Last Updated: 08/07/2024)
6 min read
Key Takeaways

Buyers are naturally more drawn to well-maintained and visually appealing properties. Selling a house in poor condition presents its own set of obstacles and requires careful consideration, strategic planning, and an understanding of the market dynamics. This article will provide valuable insights and tips to help homeowners successfully navigate this situation and find interested buyers.

What is the best way to sell your house in poor condition?

1. Consider Renovations

Depending on your financial situation and the property's state, you might consider investing in certain renovations or improvements before listing the house. If there are major works required to make the building safe or liveable, it can help to have a quote for the work from a local builder who has inspected the damage before you list it. If not, this quote can provide the buyer with valuable insight into what it will cost them if they purchase, and help you with the next point.

Buyers may be able to secure a 'renovation loan'

Depending on the state of the property, buyers relying on a mortgage may be limited by their lenders, some of whom won't be prepared to lend against a house in poor condition.

House renovation mortgages are different to normal mortgages in that the buyer borrows both the money to complete the purchase of the property in its current state, as well as the cash required to perform the renovations. Lenders will only offer this type of product if the renovations are going to increase the value of the property by more than the sum of their costs.

2. Set a Realistic Price

Once you have a clear understanding of the house's condition, it's time to set a realistic price. Selling a property in poor condition at the market value of a comparable, but better-maintained house would be unrealistic and deter potential buyers. Consider obtaining valuations from local estate agents who have experience with similar properties in the area. If you don't mind spending a bit more money, you may find a RICS valuation more accurate. Aim to set a price that reflects the property's current state while remaining competitive in the local market.

3. Disclose All Information

Transparency is key when selling a house in poor condition. Be honest about the property's condition, highlighting any known issues and potential challenges. Failing to disclose important information can lead to legal disputes and deter buyers, as well as wasting your own time when a frustrated buyer pulls out after weeks or months. Working with an experienced conveyancing solicitor can help you to comply with all relevant regulations.

4. Market the Potential

When marketing the property, focus on the potential it holds rather than solely emphasizing its current state. A good estate agent will write up your listing using compelling language, to capture buyers' imaginations. If you are at home during the viewings, show your own excitement at how the property could be transformed into a more beautiful home.

5. Explore Cash Buyers

In the UK, there are companies that specialise in purchasing properties in poor condition for cash. These companies are often investors looking for properties they can renovate and resell for a profit. They provide a quick and straightforward solution for selling a house in disrepair, but their offers may be lower than the market value, so should be considered as a last resort. A better solution may be to sell at auction, where you will have access to (mostly cash) buyers looking for a bargain who may be more willing to invest in a 'doer-upper'.

6. Consider offers & accept the best one

Depending on your circumstances, the highest offer may be trumped by an offer from a cash buyer or first time buyer with no chain, so you can complete quickly.

7. Be Prepared for Negotiations

Selling a house in poor condition may attract bargain hunters who will attempt to negotiate a lower price. Be prepared for such negotiations and consider the lowest price you are willing to accept. Remember to stay patient throughout the process, as finding the right buyer may take some time. There is a major housing shortage, so as long as your asking price is reasonable you should be able to find a suitable buyer eventually.

Understand your buyers when selling a house in poor condition

You are likely to be selling to:
  • Landlords
  • Bargain hunters & skilled DIY-ers
  • Property flippers
  • Investors & developers

Think about what their needs and priorities are and how your goals can align with theirs. If they are planning to gut rooms or put up partition walls, they're unlikely to care if the paintwork is shabby. If you're keen for a fast sale, it can help to attract experienced developers with no issue securing funding.

Selling a house in poor condition in the UK requires careful planning, transparency, and realistic expectations. By getting informed on the cost of renovations, setting a fair price, and focusing on the property's potential, you can enhance its appeal to potential buyers. Choose experienced conveyancing solicitors and explore selling at auction if necessary. With the right approach, even a house in disrepair can find a new owner and provide a fresh start for both yourself and the new proprietor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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