How To Sell a House That Needs Repairs in Virginia [Advice &Tips]



Selling a damaged house that needs repairs, also known as a fixer-upper, can be tricky. Many potential buyers don’t want to deal with a place that requires a lot of work. Read on to learn how to sell a house that needs repairs. 

Typically, you have two options. You can invest in major repairs to make the house more attractive to home buyers, or skip the hassle by selling to house flippers who make you a cash offer. 

Defining the Types of Home Repairs

There are various types of repairs and home improvements homeowners should make on their homes before selling them. Costs vary greatly depending on your needs and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Generally, home repairs can be minor, major, or cosmetic. 

Minor Home Repairs To Make

When conducting a home inspection, you may discover that while there are no significant issues, your home needs minor repairs that cause your house to sell at a lower price. Due to the inconvenience of patching up these minor issues after purchasing your home, people at open houses will be less inclined to buy your house. 

You can significantly increase the value of your home by making these minor repairs so your realtor can focus on the positives of your home when selling it to a buyer. 

For example, while your plumbing system might be working correctly, your bathtubs and sinks might need new caulking. Your HVAC system might be working well for the most part, but you might need to replace the filters – a slight improvement that doesn’t cost much money or take a lot of time. However, failing to replace the filters could lead to poor air quality in your home. 

Any repair that doesn’t cost a lot of money and is non-intrusive falls into this category. If you can complete it within a few hours, it’s not a major repair. For example, if a lock on a door is broken, you can simply install a new lock, which should take less than an hour. 

Replacing hinges, door handles, window frames, cabinet handles, faucets, cabinet doors, single roof shingles, and other household items are all minor repairs. Replacing an old and outdated water heater shouldn’t take more than a few hours, either. Adding weatherstripping around your doors, replacing a shower head, or unclogging a toilet are also minor repairs. 

Major Home Repairs To Consider

On the other hand, any damage that can lead to the house collapsing or can make the home unfit or unsafe to live in requires a significant repair. 

If your basement has substantial water damage, you will need to replace drywall, flooring, ceiling, and pipes. Fire damage also requires major repairs; it can damage your home’s structure and cause your house to fall in on itself. 

If your home has foundational or structural issues, those will also require significant repairs. Examples include cracked beams or walls. 

Sell a house with a foundation problem!

Major plumbing issues, such as a burst pipe or any type of issue that requires you to replace significant parts of your home, are also major. An example would be if you need to replace your entire roof instead of just a single shingle, or if you need to replace your entire HVAC system. 

Does your basement have significant mold or mildew issues? Removing a little mold doesn’t take a lot of time. However, if mold is growing throughout your home or basement, you’ll need to hire a mold removal professional. Otherwise, it can lead to significant health problems

Cosmetic Home Pairs To Consider

In addition to minor and major repairs that affect the livability of your home, it’s critical to make your home more visually appealing by improving its curb appeal. Whether people visit your home in person or see it on Zillow, they will get a better first impression of your home if you improve its curb appeal. 

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one way to do that. You might also plant some bushes out front, mow your lawn, and plant grass in your yard in areas the grass has died. Redoing your driveway if it’s cracked can also help. 

Redoing the carpeting or flooring in your home is another example of a cosmetic repair. In short, any repair that doesn’t make the house safer or significantly improve your quality of life in a practical way is a cosmetic repair. 

Easy Upgrades To Improve Your Home

Do you want to improve your home’s value? By making minor, easy upgrades to your home that don’t cost a lot of money on your end, you can make your home significantly more attractive to buyers. Here are some examples of easy DIY upgrades to your home that won’t take long:

  • Give it a thorough cleaning. Never underestimate the importance of deep cleaning. 
  • Replace the light switch and outlet plates. They tend to get dirty over time. 
  • Repaint your cabinets. 
  • Replace or clean your mirrors. 
  • Replace your light bulbs and clean your light fixtures. 
  • Repaint your walls. If you have brightly-colored walls, use neutral colors instead. 
  • Get new carpeting for your living room and stairs. 
  • Get new wallpaper if your old one is cracked and faded. 
  • Replace the wooden flooring on your back porch. 
  • Add seating areas outside to make your backyard look homier. 

Should You Make Home Renovations Too?

Making home renovations isn’t a requirement, but it can help your home sell quicker. For example, if you’re in a competitive market, you might want to have an unfinished basement to keep up with the competition. 

You may also want to renovate your bathroom, kitchen, and master bedroom, as those are some of the most critical areas of the house to most buyers (or at least the areas they look at first). 

However, renovating your home isn’t always a good idea. In a seller’s market, it’s not necessary. Besides, you need to calculate the costs of the renovations and determine how much value they will add to your home’s sales price. Even if they provide an excellent return on investment, you need to ensure you have time and money to invest in those renovations. 

That’s what differentiates repairs from renovations. Even minor repairs, such as leaky faucets, a door that doesn’t close, a burnt-out light fixture, or a clogged toilet, interfere with the buyer’s ability to live in the home like any average person. 

However, renovations are usually up to the buyer’s preference. Some people don’t mind a kitchen that hasn’t been renovated in a few years. Adding a guest room in the basement or adding an in-suite bathroom to your existing guest room might be a lovely addition to your home, but not everyone plans on hosting guests. 

You may also need to get permits for certain renovations. What if you perform the renovations without a permit and then try to sell it? Selling a house with unpermitted work can be a legal nightmare. 

How To Sell a House That Needs Repairs

One option is selling to a cash buyer who is willing to shoulder the burden of paying for your home repairs. Cash home buyers in Virginia Beach frequently purchase homes that are damaged. Buying a home as-is means that they can afford to buy a nice house in a good neighborhood that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. 

Investing in repairs allows you to save on closing costs and sell your home at a higher resale value later on. While house flippers typically resell the house as quickly as possible for a fast profit, other real estate investors may hold onto the home for months or years until the property value goes up. 

Selling to a cash buyer is best if you have a lot of structural damage or your home requires significant repairs but you don’t have the money to pay for them. Major damages, such as water damage, will make it hard to find a buyer, and banks likely won’t approve your home for a mortgage. 

Similarly, if you can afford to pay for major repairs but don’t have the time to do so, it’s best to sell to a cash buyer. You can sell a house fast in Norfolk, regardless of your home’s condition. For example, if you just landed a new job in another state and need to go there ASAP, consider selling to a cash buyer. 

You can get your money within a few weeks – one of the benefits of home cash sales is that there are fewer bureaucratic obstacles. Most buyers have the cash on hand to go through with the deal right away without needing to get approval from a mortgage lender. 

If you inherited an old home from your grandparent or another elderly relative, it might require extensive repairs to make it livable. There may be multiple areas of the home that you need to completely renovate from scratch. 


Selling a home that requires repairs, whether major or minor, can be a hassle. If you’re looking for a hassle-free alternative to paying for renovations before selling your home, we can help. We buy houses in Virginia, allowing you to sell your damaged home without making any repairs and without paying any realtor fees. 

Our process is simple. After contacting us online or calling us for a quote, we’ll set an appointment so we can view your property. Alternatively, you can send us pictures. We’ll give you our fair cash offer, and we’ll close on your schedule. There’s no need for you to wait for months when we can get you can get started today!

Do you want to learn more about how to find buyers for your house in Norfolk? We can help! Give us a call or send us a message today! 866-833-5262