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Creative Ways to Market a Fixer Upper

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Creative Ways to Market a Fixer Upper

Homes are more expensive than ever in 2022, and this (plus the increased interest rate) is making many potential buyers reluctant or unable to purchase a traditional home.

More and more people are considering fixer-uppers as a potential option, whether they're trying to flip a house or turn it into a home. However, buying a fixer-upper is tricky, and buyers are still hesitant.

Marketing a fixer-upper is a challenge for even the best real estate agent, but we're here with a few tips. Read on to learn all about marketing a house that needs some serious home updates.

What Qualifies as a Fixer-Upper? 

A fixer-upper is a home that needs some serious elbow grease to be livable again. It may not be a complete gut job (though some fixer-uppers are), but it requires more work and care than the average person is going to be willing to put in. This makes fixer-uppers difficult to sell unless you're willing to significantly cut the price (which may end up being necessary). 

Most fixer-uppers aren't tear-downs, but in some cases, they're only as good as the land that they're on. Keep this in mind when you're creating your marketing strategy. 

Fixer-uppers have more than just aesthetic issues. They may have floor or roof problems, plumbing issues, water damage, or even fire damage. Different "levels" of fixer-uppers will have different buyers and require different marketing strategies. 

Who Are Your Potential Buyers? 

The first step of developing any marketing strategy, regardless of what it is you're trying to sell, is identifying your target audience. Who are your potential buyers? What are they looking for in a home, and how can you let them know that you have it?

Finding your potential buyers for a fixer-upper is tricky. The average homebuyer isn't interested in a home that requires significant work. They want to be able to move in, perhaps paint the walls, and start living comfortably right away.

You're looking for unique buyers. Here are a few potential buyer profiles that you'll be targeting. 

House Flippers and Investors

Investing in real estate has become more popular over the past few years, and many wannabe investors don't have the funds for brand-new turnkey properties. Some of them have the money but believe that they'll get more bang for their buck if they buy a dilapidated property and make it look like new. 

Some investors want to rent out these fixer-uppers (after fixing them up, of course), while others intend to flip the homes after fixing them. Some of these buyers choose to live in the homes while they're being fixed up, while others have their first homes nearby.

These buyers prioritize their potential return on investment (or ROI). They're looking for good bones and potential features that will attract buyers after the house is complete.


DIY lovers with experience in plumbing, flooring, or construction may be interested in your fixer-upper as long as the damage isn't too severe. These people also see potential when they look at a potential project, and they're not afraid to roll their sleeves up and challenge themselves.

They tend to be interested in homes that are old but workable. They're willing to replace floors and fix minor structural problems, but they may shy away from more serious concerns (such as water damage or an old roof) unless they have specific experience in that area. 

People on a Budget

This is a larger group of people now than ever. 

Many first-time homebuyers are struggling to find homes. Because of this, they're starting to turn toward older homes as potential options. It's also become popular to look into "vintage" homes that need a bit of love before they're move-in ready (and you can use this to your advantage). 

These people want fixer-uppers that may require a professional to fix them but won't cost them enough money to make the "cheap" house more expensive than a livable house. 

First: Be Honest

When you're creating your listing for your fixer-upper, you're going to be tempted to fudge the truth. Don't do this. This will only waste your time in the long run when potential buyers view and inspect the home. 

Remember that many of your potential buyers are looking specifically for fixer-uppers. They know that the home won't be perfect (or even good) when they buy it. Some people may not even be looking for homes, and they're only intent on buying the land. 

There will be many people who are put off by an ad for a fixer-upper home, but those people would never have bought the home anyway. 

Find The Positives

When you look at the fixer-upper home you're responsible for selling; you might feel like there aren't any positives to feature. It's a home that needs work, often more work than people are willing to put in. Where's the bright side?

Learn to see the house with new eyes so you can market it effectively. Here are a few potential positive features that your home may or may not have. Use them to inspire you to find more. 

The Neighborhood

This is often one of the top things that investors and first-time homebuyers are looking for when they're willing to buy a fixer-upper. In many cities, being in a good neighborhood is worth putting some extra time and effort into a problematic home. 

If your home is in a good neighborhood, make sure that you mention that in the listing. Talk about the schools in the area, fun parks or other features, or access to public transportation.

The Lot Size

This is important for people who are thinking about tearing down the house, but it's also good information for any potential buyers. A large lot is a feature that many people want, and that's often inaccessible in cities or even suburbs. 

If the lot features off-street parking (or even room for a detached garage), that's even better. 

Aerial drone videos are great for this. You can truly show off how large the lot is from the sky. 

Vintage Construction

As we mentioned before, old homes are in vogue right now. There are entire Facebook and Instagram accounts devoted to "cheap old houses" that often require a lot of work to be livable again. 

Old homes often have good construction, even if they need an upgrade. Some of them have unique features, better materials, or unique styles. Victorian and craftsman houses, for example, are popular due to their style. 

The Cost

This is the biggest selling point of a fixer-upper. The price has to be right, or no one is going to buy it. Make sure that you highlight the low cost in comparison to other homes in the neighborhood. 

You can even refer to it as an investment opportunity and talk about the average rent in the area in comparison to the cost of the home. 

Talk About the Home's Potential

You want your buyers to see what the home could be, not just what it is right now. You're going to need to help them out. 

Look at the less problematic aspects of the home and consider how they could be fixed. Many problems that homebuyers see (especially the new homebuyers that are only interested in fixer-uppers because of the low cost) are more fixable than they think. 

If the yard looks overgrown and it's killing the curb appeal, talk to potential buyers about how nice a garden would look there and how gardening is a fun and relaxing DIY activity. Consider staging the backyard with patio furniture to show buyers how it could be a viable living space.

If the interior is dark and outdated, talk about how a fresh coat of paint will bring new light into the rooms. 

If the home's layout is less than ideal, try to get the buyers to imagine it if a few non-load-bearing walls were torn down. Wouldn't the house look great with an open-concept floorplan? 

All houses have potential, even if they need work. To get your buyers to see it, you're going to have to get creative. 

Get on Social Media

Your home is already on some of the best listing websites, but don't forget that social media is a fantastic resource.

As we mentioned, many people are following social media pages specifically for fixer-uppers and vintage homes. You can submit your listing to those pages to get a wider audience of people who are looking for homes just like the one you're selling.

You can also post on local marketplace pages. This will help you target a local audience and let them know that there's a house well below the market rate that's for sale. 

Make sure to learn all about how to use hashtags and various other social media marketing best practices. 

Spruce It Up for Photos and Showings

Sure, you might not be fixing up the home, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't spruce it up a bit before taking photos or doing walkthroughs. 

You don't have to do anything in-depth. Hiring a cleaner and someone to do some basic landscaping will make a huge difference. 

Consider staging the home if it's only a minor fixer-upper. Show the potential buyers how they could take advantage of the old-fashioned layout. Take advantage of natural light to make the home look larger and more welcoming.

On the topic of photos, make sure that you're taking high-quality photos. Buyers who are looking at your home from out-of-state appreciate virtual tours and photos that let them see the true condition of the home.  

It's Time to Sell That Fixer-Upper

There's no reason to despair over that fixer-upper you've been trying to sell. When you target the right audience and learn how to see the positives of the house, you'll have no problem finding a buyer who's willing to make the house fantastic again. 

Selling a fixer-upper is a challenge, but it's one that you can face.

At Hommati, we can help you sell even the most challenging of homes. From professional photography services to our Agent Advantage program, we have what you need to sell. 


See what we have to offer today.