Most houses that appear on real estate websites look perfectly manicured and beautiful. Nothing is out of place. But sometimes the home you own is a long way from pristine. In act, it can be downright wrecked. I recently went through a situation like this where the previous tenants had left the property in disaray with broken windows, holes in the walls, and then thieves broke in an stole pipes and wires ... further damaging the home. Simply put, this was more than just a fixer-upper. This was a wrecked home!
The good news is that you can sell a trashed house, but there are some things that you should know before you do. This post provides all the information you need to decide what to do next with your property.
What Is A Wrecked House?
A wrecked house is a residential property damaged by storms, flooding, subsidence, fire, or vandalism. Hundreds of such properties hit the market each year, and many of them sell, usually to developers. You've probably seen those signs around town "I buy ugly homes". Many of these people are simply brokers who work with investors and builders who know how to fix things up quickly and put it back on the market to make a fast buck.
There is really no official definition for what a "wrecked house" is but the closest would be "salvage property". There are many variations when it comes to defining this term but fundamentally, they all come back to the same place - items that are discarded as waste due to use, time, accident, or other cause that results in them being worn, damaged, obsolete or otherwise having no or little value for the purpose which it was originally intended.
So, applying this term to a "wrecked house", we could say that this home was once intended for human habitation and now lacks critical features such as doors and windows, plumbing, heating, or is simply unsafe for occupation for whatever combination of reasons.
As a house that can essentially be considered salvage - the value is next to nothing when valued as a house. However, the property, foundation, and possibly the frame may have residual value making it cheaper to re-build it than completely demolish and start from scratch.
That was the case in our situation. Instead of getting the tens of thousands of dollars we would have liked, it sold for a fraction of that to an individual who had the skills to fix the items needed to make it habitable again. A few months later, he sold the house and made a nice profit. We were just glad to have the liability off of our hands and a tiny bit of money in our pocket.
What You Need To Know Before You Sell A Wrecked House
Here are some of the things you need to know before you sell a wrecked house:
Determine The Extent Of The Damage
The first step is determining the damage's extent and whether the property is beyond repair. Sometimes it’s not clear to the amateur eye, even if the entire place looks trashed. If the structure remains intact, the property may sell for more than you think.
In some cases, hiring a contractor to correct the building can be profitable. For instance, home foundation repair can assist if your property has been affected by subsidence. You might also want to hire a structural engineer if there’s fire or water damage, or cracks running along the walls.
Decide Whether To Sell It As Is Or Fix It Up
The next step is to decide whether to sell your property in its current condition or fix it up. Fixing it up will add value, but home buyers' reports will usually detail significant problems with the house, including structural damage, meaning you may get paid less for it. You’ll need to factor this consideration into your calculations before you spend anything fixing it up.
Find The Right Buyer
The average family won’t want to buy a wrecked house. They need somewhere they can move into immediately. Therefore, your pool of potential buyers is usually smaller than you think.
Some single professionals snap up wrecked homes because they think they’re a bargain. These people often look for exceptionally low prices and have the skills and connections to fix problems. Other potential buyers include developers and building contractors. These organizations usually demolish the house, clear the rubble, and build new units on top.
When you advertise your property in a fixer-upper state, you’ll want to bear these people in mind.
Avoid Being Emotional About Your Wrecked House
It can be challenging to look at the price that you are being offered and not feel like you are being screwed. This is a cut-throat market with buyers who are investors, not future home owners and they are looking for a quick turnaround and a fast profit. However, if you want to sell your home and have the chance to move on, it is important to truly understand the actual value of the property and that means TODAY'S VALUE ... not what you might have paid for it years ago.
Separating your emotions from the reality of a situation is difficult but once the home is sold and you can move on, the sense of relief will be worth it.
Selling A Wrecked House Is Possible
There's a saying I try to keep in mind, "there's an ass for every saddle". That's the core principle here as well. Selling a wrecked house is possible but requires some planning, research, and negotiation. You’ll want to weigh up the cost involved in putting it right against the increased sale price you might receive
Remember, many people are skeptical of fixer-upper properties. You may need to provide additional surveyor information to clearly communicate the state of the building. You should also be realistic about the price the house can fetch, even after you carry out renovations.