Can you sell a house that needs repairs?

Selling a home can be a truly daunting task, with an endless list of decisions that need to be made in order to walk away from your property with the highest possible payout. But when you are the owner of a home that has fallen into disrepair or is damaged in some way, the decisions on how to sell become more difficult and the prospective payout seems to dwindle. 

Selling a damaged house to a real estate investor for cash is the easiest and quickest way to offload a property in disrepair.
Sell a house fast in San Diego, even if it is in disrepair or rundown

The average home buyer is unlikely to purchase a home that has damage which could be a threat to either personal safety or building integrity. Some examples of damage that could impact the structural integrity of a home are roof damage, old leaky windows, structural damage or foundation damage, and termite infestation. Even more important to most potential buyers are damages that could impact the health and safety of themselves or their family such as mold due to water damage, electrical issues or potential fire damage, and asbestos which can lead to serious lung illness. Selling a home with any of these possible issues can be difficult and sellers may be responsible for sometimes extremely costly repairs. In addition, the State of California requires disclosure of all problems the seller is aware of that may not appear on a homeowners inspection report and if a seller isn’t truthful on the disclosure report, they can be liable for repairs up to three years after completion of a sale.

One quick and easy way to avoid the hassle and expense of selling a home that is showing the signs of age or the long term effects of damage or neglect is to contact a real estate investor like Trusted House Buyers San Diego. Home investors, like Trusted House Buyers, are all cash buyers which means that they don’t rely on the approval of a committee or underwriter who may be concerned with the current condition of a property when they are considering approval of a loan. The process of selling to a real estate investor in the San Diego area simply requires a quick phone call, an inspection of the property by Brian (one of the principal owners/operators of the family owned business) and a cash offer which can lead to closing in as little as a week. No inspections, no repairs, no long term liabilities for property owners who simply want to be divested from their current real estate. 

The alternative to selling to a local San Diego real estate investor is to list your damaged property with a conventional real estate professional. While oftentimes this is the first solution people consider when they are looking to sell a property, the majority of homes sold through a realtor are financed, and that means that not only does the house need to appeal to a prospective buyer but a financial institution as well. This can be the trickiest part of selling a house that may be damaged or in disrepair. There are any number of factors that may need to be fixed prior to closing at the expense of the homeowner in order for the property to qualify for financing. Alternatively, the damage may be so severe that a bank would not consent to underwriting under any circumstances in which case a seller would need to start the entire process over in search of another buyer.

What types of damage are most common among houses in the San Diego area?

Roof Damage

Damaged roof in Spring Valley resulting in a hole that must be repaired prior to conventional sale.
Extensive roof damage can take time and money to fix prior to a conventional sale.

Many buyers are reluctant to buy a home that needs a new roof because they feel that the condition of the roof may be indicative of the condition of the remainder of the home. The reality is that over time, the roof of a home is exposed to the elements and shingles tend to wear out. In addition, a leaky roof can cause signs of water damage within a home that are likely to turn a conventional buyer away from a property.

A thorough roof inspection is always part of a home inspection required by home finance companies. Failing this aspect of home inspection can be extremely costly for the current home owner, and the time required to replace a roof can be extensive. In the San Diego area, the average cost of replacing an architectural shingle roof can reach $12,000, a number that can dramatically impact the bottom line of a home sale.

Foundation/Structural Repairs

There are many signs of a damaged foundation or structural issues that homeowners in the San Diego area experience such as sloping floors, sticking windows and doors, misaligned trim and the most common cracks in the walls. While some normal settling in a home over time is expected, dramatic shifts in the San Diego area because of earthquakes and occasional drought conditions can be much more than the norm.

If left untreated long term, foundation damage can lead to broken pipes, doors and windows that will not open and extensive structural damage. If a homeowner is required to address foundation problems prior to closing on a home, the repair can often run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and may take weeks or even months to complete work. This delay could cause the potential sale to fall through, and the seller could be out a very large sum of money.

Old Leaky Windows

Damaged window in a home in Chula Vista where water has begun to seep into the dwelling and result in mold.
Damaged windows can be unsightly but they can also lead to worse long term problems like mold and mildew.

Older windows can often make a house less appealing to a buyer who walks through a property, but even more importantly windows over time can lose their structural integrity and have a tendency to allow water seepage into a property.  Water within a dwelling can lead to many more serious problems such as mildew or mold. In addition, windows that are no longer water tight can cause an issue with loan underwriting and can prevent a mortgage company from approving the financing on a home.

Another problem that can exist when considering the wear and tear on windows that can occur over time is the high price tag to replace any possible window damage. Depending on the number, size and customized features of windows in the home you would like to sell, a homeowner can pay anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands just to provide the homebuyer with windows that are secure and safe.

Termite Damage

One major concern of homebuyers that is always included in a presale inspection report required by most lenders is a termite inspection. Termite damage can go unnoticed for years, and can result in a property that is no longer stable or safe for habitation.Termites can gnaw their way through a home, without the owner even being aware of their presence. While some termite damage is minimal and may only require fumigation to mitigate, oftentimes the structural integrity of a home can be compromised and the replacement process to reframe any parts of the home that the termites ravaged can be extremely costly. Even the presence of termites on an inspection report can scare away a potential buyer or a lender, and then homeowners who were trying to quickly sell their property are stuck with a damaged structure.


Mold and mildew are of great concern to potential home buyers, particularly if the mold is found to be of a harmful variety. Extensive damage can be done to a home by water damage within the walls of the structure, but mold is one of the most damaging and expensive to mediate. Because you have to employ a professional to remove any toxic mold, and it may be required to replace any affected walls, cabinets or flooring, getting rid of mold in a home can be costly. Mold remediation in areas that are easily accessible, such as a crawl space, can cost up to $4000. But mold that has to be removed from the interior of walls, ductwork, and attics can double the price.


You need to be concerned about asbestos if the house you want to sell was built before the early 1980s. Undisturbed asbestos in your older house poses no health threat, but any airborne asbestos is a deadly toxin. There are three major lung diseases caused by exposure to asbestos: mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. If a home for sale is proven to have asbestos in walls or flooring, remediation of the product is required to ensure the safety of not only any potential buyer but current residents as well. That may mean encapsulation of the affected area like sealing of tile floors or popcorn ceiling or the disturbed asbestos may require removal from the structure. When asbestos must be removed from the house, expect to pay at least $60 an hour per person for an abatement crew. Set up and cleanup are a big part of the cost. For an accurate price, you must get a bid from an asbestos abatement contractor within the San Diego area.

Electrical issues/fire damage

An overloaded electrical panel in San Diego that could cause a fire. Trusted House Buyers will buy property in any condition.
A damaged or overloaded electrical panel in a home can be extremely dangerous.

Electrical damage to a home can be extremely expensive to fix, but is also of special interest to homebuyers because a faulty electrical system may someday lead to an electrical fire. Electrical panels and wiring that are not up to code and need to be repaired or replaced can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars. Many finance companies require that a home has a safe and effective electrical system prior to closing on a property, and if the work needs to be done by the current property owner the result can cost a lot of money.

Fire hazard and past fire damage are some of the scariest prospects that homebuyers are aware of, and may require extensive repairs before a house that poses a fire risk or has endured a fire could be deemed safe to sell. In the event of a previous fire, there may be structural damage or cosmetic repairs that could prevent the easy sale of the home. Even if a buyer looking for a low priced property would be willing to go under contract on a house with fire damage, the likelihood of a loan being approved on such a property would not be good. 

Throughout the life of a structure, there are many types of damage that can occur to lower the value of a property. In addition many of the property damages discussed in this article could either preclude a buyer from securing a loan on the potential property or require the current owner to fix the issues prior to sale at their own expense. A damaged property can be almost impossible to sell through a traditional realtor, and even if a contract is secured it may result in little to no profit for the seller.

Conversely, a homeowner with a damaged house can choose to sell their property to a real estate investor, like Brian from Trusted House Buyers. By selling to a private company, that can pay cash for the property, a homeowner can sell their house fast without the hassle of fixing any underlying issues themselves, dealing with home inspections, or paying steep fees for repairs. Contact Trusted House Buyers in the San Diego area and within just a few days your problem property will be a thing of the past.

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