Most sellers know that buyers are attracted to homes that are spotlessly clean, well-maintained and tastefully decorated. Sometimes the seller can't make the extra effort to prepare the home for showing. Some real estate listings are being sold to settle estates or by someone who has been transferred unexpectedly and didn't have time to complete the necessary cosmetic repairs. Homes that need work are often exceptional values.
When a real estate agent shows you a house that needs help, try to imagine how it would look with new carpet, a fresh coat of paint and your furniture settled inside. Because the condition and overall appeal of a house have such an impact on the selling price, "fixer-uppers" are often priced lower than comparable homes. If the home is structurally sound and has updated systems, a small investment of "elbow grease" and paint could make it look fabulous.