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Convincing Home Buyers of the Potential in Undesirable, Underrated Houses

With a drop in Pending Home Sales in June 2022 (latest data) and fewer potential home buyers willing to pay high mortgage rates, you've got your work cut out for you when it comes to finding houses for your buyers. So, why not put your energy into finding your clients lower-priced homes that need some love and attention? Some diamonds in the rough can be transformed into their dream home with your guidance. Let's explore.

It is difficult for many clients to understand that they may not be able to afford a turn-key house in today's housing market, despite what they see on popular home-buying tv shows. Buyers envision finding a beautifully remodeled home in their favorite neighborhood that fits within their budget. Some give up when shown dilapidated houses because they can't imagine living in such a place. That's where you can make a difference as their real estate agent and gain a lifelong client.


Consider This HGTV Show


Your clients may think it's realistic to remodel 2 bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen for $60,000 because of home remodeling shows they've watched on tv. Recently, I watched "Steal This House" on HGTV for the first time and thought, "this is more aligned with today's market and what home buyers with low budgets can relate to." With over half a million people watching HGTV during the day and 919,000 during prime time, according to Nielson ratings, there's a strong chance your home buyers are watching it too. The show is geared towards finding lower-priced houses needing work and helping home buyers see the potential. Then, they use a small budget to renovate the home and ultimately transform it into the buyer's dream home. I highly recommend watching an episode and sharing it with clients who may need to consider purchasing a lower-priced home needing renovations.


Provide Solutions


  • Interior design rendering
  • Landscape ideas
  • Home inspector report
  • Virtual reality (yeah!)


Show clients the potential in lower-priced, less desirable homes that need some TLC. Have an inspector look at the property to determine if there are any significant problems with it (ex. foundation and overall condition). Share the cost of making repairs with potential buyers. If the house is priced right, the cost of repairs may fit neatly into their budget.


Have a landscaper share an example of what the home's outdoor spaces could look like with a makeover. You could also use a free computer landscaping app or create a collage of yard ideas using Pinterest. When your clients visualize the gardens full of flowers and shrubs along the driveway, they are more likely to fall in love with the home's potential.




Use home design software or an interior designer to provide a virtual makeover of the undesirable property, and you'll pique the interest of your home buyers. Ask for quotes to bring the property to its fullest potential and quotes for a lower, budget-friendly remodel. If it's a small home, get quotes for an addition and how it could best serve your clients (ex. 2 additional bedrooms and a bathroom for a growing family). A 3-D home design model can illustrate how an outdated kitchen can be remodeled into an entertaining space any buyer would find appealing. Show your clients a virtual living room with modern furniture, light fixtures, rugs, paintings, and more, so they can envision themselves in the space.  


If you really want to impress your clients, add virtual reality interior design. Especially popular with your clients under 50, virtual reality allows your clients to stand in an empty, out-of-date room and see the furniture in place while wearing special VR goggles. Talk about making an impression on your real estate clients!  




Tips Worth Considering


  • Share your professional contacts (contractors, designers, landscapers)
  • Find lower-priced homes in need of work by thinking outside the box
  • Help clients see how improvements can be made incrementally


Many of your home buyers won't have any contacts who could help renovate a home, so they'll rely on you and your contact list. Provide your clients with contact information for contractors you've worked with and interior designers to make it easier for them to decide to purchase a home needing a remodel.  


Think outside of the box to find low-priced homes in need of renovations:


  • FSBO
  • Craigslist
  • Outdated rental houses
  • Neglected homes that have sat on the market for too long
  • Expired, unfavorable listings from the last 2-4 years that never sold
  • Neglected homes that no one is living in, but you could potentially convince the seller to sell


If clients can't afford to make all the home improvements when they buy a dilapidated home, show them how they could budget for it over the next 2-5 years. Help them see how they can live with the outdated but well-maintained 1960s bathroom. Show them how they can gradually landscape the yard and stay within budget. As long as your clients can see the overall vision for the home and how they can ultimately remodel every room on their wishlist over time, you'll have a greater chance of them buying a home in need of work. Also, you'll have endless opportunities to contact them to provide information on remodeling and budgeting, increasing the chance of them becoming lifetime clients thanks to your nurturing.




The more information you can provide to your home buyers, the better chance you have of shifting their thinking toward purchasing an out-of-date house they can remodel and make their dream home. With housing supply limited, now is the time to put more effort into finding affordable homes for your clients and go out of your way to provide renovation solutions. Your efforts to serve the needs of struggling home buyers will make you the go-to agent and could generate repeat business.  


Janelle D.

I've worked in the real estate sector for more than a decade and enjoy sharing my knowledge on the subject and researching the latest trends. In my free time I like to craft, spend time with my family and dog, participate in outdoor activities like hiking, and I'm passionate about photography.

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