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13 Cheap Upgrades To Sell A San Diego House For More Cash!


If you’re selling a house in poor condition in San Diego, CA, but want to earn as much money as possible, you’ll have to be strategic with the repairs you make. By taking these steps, though, you can earn a reasonable profit without losing money to renovations:


  • Try selling the home as is but risk earning a lower return
  • Make minor repairs to the paint, lighting, and fixtures then sell the home for a higher price
  • Sink a couple of thousand dollars into renovations and sell the property quickly and for a larger profit.


Depending on your finances and skills with a toolbox, you could still sell a house in poor condition without losing money. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

Poor Condition Real Estate is Relative

As far as real estate goes, what does fair condition mean? It depends on the buyer, the location, and the type of home. If a home is within their budget or ideal location, some people are willing to buy a damaged house or crappy apartment. Others may not have the time or money to fix up a property and would prefer to buy a home that’s in like-new condition.


“It’s hard to say what each individual buyer is going to buy unless you ask them and this is why communicating with every potential buyer is key”, said Shaun Martin, from the home buying company, out of Denver.

Uninhabitable Dangerous Property: Houses in Really Bad Condition

The following factors are considered uninhabitable conditions and are what makes a house uninhabitable under U.S. building codes:


  • The home contains unsafe building materials (asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, copper arsenate)
  • The home has sustained considerable structural damage and could collapse at any point
  • The home has a major mold infestation
  • The home lacks proper plumbing or electrical wiring


The home cannot provide sufficient protection from extreme heat or cold

Requires Expensive Repairs: Property is in Bad Condition

The factors below characterize a rundown home and should ideally be repaired before you try to sell the property. They are not considered legally uninhabitable conditions, though, so don’t feel obligated to make repairs:


  • A leaky roof
  • A cracked or sinking foundation
  • Water or termite damage
  • A complete HVAC System replacement
  • Faulty electrical wiring


If you’re unwilling to invest in these renovations, you can still find a buyer but it will likely be more challenging than if you make a few slight modifications.

Sell As-Is, But Updates Would Give You Most Cash: Selling Poor Condition Houses

Your best bet is to sell the home as-is but make some smart, cheap, and easy repairs and updates first. This will improve the home’s curb appeal and make it more attractive to buyers, which could help you get a higher sales price. This could be as simple as painting the walls, mowing the lawn, and replacing burnt-out lightbulbs.

13 Ways to Sell a House in Poor Condition

Even if you’re trying to sell a dilapidated property, there are still ways to increase your chances of making a profit. The trick to selling a house in bad condition is to only make necessary renovations and then sell to a buyer who’s willing to fix the damage.

Sell As-Is

#1. Sell As-Is on the MLS: You can absolutely list your home in poor condition using the Multiple Listing Service. You will likely have to sell at a discount, but if you’re not in a hurry, this could be the best option.


#2. Sell FSBO: You can also try to sell your home without the help of a real estate agent. This could help you avoid paying a commission but may make it harder to sell.


#3. Sell to a Cash Home Buyer: There are companies that will buy your home as-is for cash within a short timeframe. This is a quick and easy way to sell but will likely mean selling your home at a discount.

Selling After Minor Repairs and Updates

If you’re unsure of whether you’ll be able to sell your worn down house, you could make a few basic repairs without it costing an arm and a leg. The following renovations should only cost a couple of hundred dollars rather than thousands and can be completed by anyone with a moderated level of handyman skills in a single weekend.


#4. Paint the Inside of Your House: According to market research, simply repainting your home’s interior can increase its resale value by about 5%, equating to roughly $2,110.


#5. Update Outdated and Ugly Faucets: You don’t have to tear out an entire bathroom or kitchen to make your home look renovated; simply replace the faucets and call it a day.


#6. Make the House Shine: We’re not talking about cleaning here—consider how you can add or replace lights to brighten the space and make it feel cozier.


“When it comes to minor upgrades my go to is painting the inside. Its fast, pretty cheap, and makes a world of difference”, said Jon Sanborn of Brotherly Love Real Estate. “As an investor I make money buying and selling houses ad to do this you have to spend more that you sell the house for. Interior paint always results in more cash in my pocket. I recommend using a neutral color. Take a look at warm white colors which will make a room feel clean and bigger.”

Moderate Home Improvements for More Cash When You Sell

If you have the budget to make more significant renovations, you could transform your run down home into something worth buying. It may cost as much as $5,000 and require a higher level of construction skills but the final result will earn a lot more cash when you sell. Just be aware that you’ll need a comprehensive set of tools and, without the proper training, it could get ugly.


#7. Paint the Kitchen Cabinets: This is a more involved project that can take a few weekends to complete but will give your kitchen an updated look.


#8. Replace the Bathroom Vanity: Tearing out and replacing an old or outdated vanity will instantly transform your bathroom into something a little more modern.


#9. Upgrade the Kitchen Appliances to Low-End Stainless Steel: This renovation will cost you around $3,000 but it’s a smart and easy way to make your kitchen look brand-new.


#10. Replace the Front Door: Your front door is the first thing a buyer will see when they visit your property so make it look as stately and new as possible.

Cash Intensive Upgrades

Last but not least, if you’re willing to put more than $10,000 into a property, you’ll have no problem selling it on the MLS. However, although these renovations can help to bump up the value of your home, they require a lot of skill and a major financial investment. Consider whether they’re worth it before you get started.


#11. Upgrade the Countertops to Solid Stone or Quartz: If you have an extra $5,000 to $10,000 laying around, upgrading your countertops to solid stone will make your kitchen look professionally renovated.


#12. Replace the Kitchen Cabinets: Depending on the size of your kitchen, this could cost as much as $10,000 and you’ll likely only see a 72% return on that investment.  


#13. Replace the Roof: If you’re trying to sell a house without a roof, it makes sense to replace it but be aware that this renovation could cost anywhere from $7,500 to $20,000.

Final Thoughts on Selling Houses in Disrepair

If you’re selling a property in poor condition, the best thing you can do is be honest about the state of the property and be prepared to sell at a discount. You can still make a profit by taking the right steps but, if you’re not careful, you could end up losing money. Be smart about which renovations you make and, most importantly, don’t overspend. If nothing else, you can always sell to a cash-home buyer.

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