Can I Sell an Ugly House?

The short answer to the question is: absolutely! However, in a time where instagram-worthy homes sell at a premium, it can be very difficult to catch the interest of buyers if you have an ugly house, much less convince them to buy it. That’s just the reality. The good news is that, yes it may be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible. Here, we will discuss a few tips on how you can sell an ugly house.


Repair or renovate it. 

Fixing up your ugly house sounds like the most obvious way to make it sell fast.  Here, you have the option to do a DIY repair or renovation or hire the services of professional contractors. Depending on the condition of your property, minor repairs may be needed or a full house makeover may be necessary. This is also a great opportunity to do upgrades, replacements, and restorations. These changes can significantly affect the value of your home in a positive way.

Now you don’t always need a full-on remodel or renovation, especially if you have a newer or well-maintained property. You may choose to work on the most important parts of the home, the basic ones that make the house comfortable, livable, and functional. Here is a simple list:

  • Make sure the roof is not leaking.
  • Check if the gutters are clean, not clogged, and are not broken.
  • Polish the flooring or repair or replace it if it is outdated or too damaged.
  • Repair the holes in the wall.
  • Add a fresh coat of paint to interior walls. Neutral hues are great when you are selling your home.
  • If your kitchen cabinets are falling apart, consider having them replaced. If you think they are still in great condition, give them a new look with a fresh coat of paint or finish.
  • Upgrade your kitchen appliances with energy-efficient ones.
  • If your bathroom is decades old, update the tiles and plumbing fixtures. Selecting water-efficient fixtures is a plus.
  • Consider cleaning and fixing up your basement to make it a functional storage space. 
  • Fix squeaky doors and broken locks.
  • Ensure that light switches work and replace light bulbs with new ones.

Curb appeal.

When it comes to selling a house, first impressions are everything. This is because people generally make decisions in the first few seconds of seeing something. Therefore, pay attention to the condition of your home’s exterior because it is what people see first.

If your budget allows you, hire a professional landscaping company to help you elevate your curb appeal. But if you do prefer the DIY route and don’t mind breaking a sweat, here are some things you can do to beautify your home’s exterior:

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to your exterior walls if necessary. (Pro tip: Go for neutral color palettes. Colors like gray, beige, and white appeal to more people than bold colors.)
  • Add color to your door. (Tip: choose a color that complements the exterior color palette).
  • Trim your shrubs and trees.
  • Remove the weeds.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Add more plants or groom your garden.
  • Put away your gardening tools, kids’ outdoor toys, etc.
  • Power wash your walkways, driveways, deck, or walls. 
  • Dress up your porch.
  • Upgrade your outdoor lights.
  • Make your windows sparkle.
  • Consider adding a fence, or if you already have it, repair and repaint if necessary.
  • Update your siding.
  • Add practical outdoor seating.
  • Upgrade your mailbox.
  • Polish your house number.

Price it accordingly.

In selling a house, be sure that the price is reasonable and realistic. A steep price tag will repel buyers fast. On the other hand, a house that’s priced lower will receive multiple offers fast, which will then drive the price up to the market. 

To make sure that your house is priced correctly, look at similar properties in your neighborhood over the last 6 months, and check how much they were sold for. Be sure to check properties with similar square footage (10% variance is allowed) and properties of similar ages. Remember that a house built in the 1940s is normally priced differently than a house from the 1990s.

Moreover, learn from withdrawn and expired listings. Look for patterns and common factors why they did not sell.

Flaunt your home’s best feature.

Another good news: every house has a great feature. It could be its elegant floors, a dreamy fireplace, or picturesque windows. Whatever it is, bank on it.  

If you are unable to have your property renovated or repaired, focus on its best features. Make the photos of these features the main photos in your listing so they can be seen first. By highlighting these interesting features, you’ll avoid your listing from being ignored completely. 

Clean and declutter.

Sometimes, a deep, thorough cleaning is just what a house needs to revive its beauty. 

Start by preparing boxes or bags and labeling them accordingly: donate, keep, and use. If you have not used an item for over two years, they go in the ‘donate’ box. Items with sentimental value go in the ‘keep’ box, and if the item is an everyday essential, they go in the ‘use’ box. Now, this is not prescriptive advice, but it’s a baby step especially if you are dealing with overwhelming clutter that has been building up for years. 

Once the clutter is cleared, make your home shine. If your budget does not permit you to hire a professional cleaning crew, prepare for some elbow grease. Sweep, vacuum, dust, mop, scrub, and rearrange. Be sure to also end this task with some styling. 

A clean house is an attractive house. In a similar way, a dirty and cluttered house is a major turnoff. You want your house to be as impressive as possible, and you can’t impress people (buyers or non-buyers alike) with a cluttered, disorganized home. Decluttering and cleaning your home will not only help you achieve fine photos for your listing but will also make sure that your house is ready for any showings. 

If you can, enlist the help of professional cleaners. This is the quickest way to make your house squeaky clean and attractive but will cost you some money. 

Be honest in your listing.

Honesty is the best policy, especially in real estate. While we do advise you to highlight your property’s best features as discussed in number 4, we do not advise that you hide its flaws. However, we suggest to not dwell on them or emphasize them. This means that you will still have to post pictures of the not-so-fab areas in your property but these images should not be the primary listing photos. These photos are important as they give the prospective buyers  an idea as to what needs to be worked on if they do decide to purchase your home, 


If you have inherited a decades-old house or are trying to sell a house that has not been maintained properly for years, the cost to fix it may be too steep. If you are unable to have the renovations or upgrades done, it’s not a lost cause. With our help, you can still sell your ugly house without the repairs, cleaning, and upgrades. Our real estate experts are here to assist you in selling your home quickly. Call us at 800-976-SOLD today to talk to us about selling your home as is for cash!


Photo Credits Roselyn Tirado, Avi Werde, and Mike Welch