10 Things That Make Your Home Unsellable–and How To Fix To Sell Your House Fast

house maintenance

Outside of dealing with closing costs or listing agent fees, before any potential buyer will even consider signing the dotted line of a contract, there are many things you should fix around your house before pricing your home for sale. No matter the local market, home sellers need to think of several small details ranging from how your home is staged to its curb appeal. 

Though many quick fixes may just involve a fresh coat of paint or deep cleaning and decluttering, there are a few frequent offenders that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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10 Home Repairs To Sell Your House Fast

When looking to sell your home fast in any particular real estate market, if you want the buyer to pay top dollar for your home there are a few things around your house that agents and experts will advise you to fix first before you even get to a real estate transaction.  Here are 10 ways to quickly turn your house from unsellable to a best seller in the housing market: 

  1. Add more natural light
  2. Get rid of bad odors or unpleasant smells
  3. Remove any mold
  4. Fix exterior maintenance or structural issues
  5. Spruce up your decor and design
  6. Swap out malfunctioning home systems
  7. Update your electrical system
  8. Repair any water damage 
  9. Improve your curb appeal
  10. Fix hidden hazards

1. Add More Natural Light 

Light, especially for smaller spaces, can really open a room up and make it feel bigger or more inviting. No one wants to live in a cave, so adding light where you can help up the resale potential. Methods you can use can include:

  • Painting rooms light colors with glossier, more reflective paint.
  • Make sure no furniture blocks windows.
  • Remove heavy curtains and replace them with sheerer ones. 
  • Add windows or skylights if you have the option or are planning a remodel anyway. 

2. Get Rid of Bad Odors or Unpleasant Smells 

Sometimes you may not notice less-than-desirable odors in your home as you’ve become used to them. Culprits for these unpleasant aromas can include cat litter boxes, residual smoke in curtains or couch cushions, or leftover cooking smells. Before showing your house, make sure to follow some of these suggestions:

  • Deep clean your whole house including curtains or fabrics that can absorb odors.
  • Rent a wet vac to get out the built-in stench of your carpet.  
  • Avoid frying food with strong smells before a showing and make sure no food or dishes are left out too long.
  • Clean up any pet accidents and take out trash immediately.
  • When showing your home, have a lightly scented candle burning or an air freshener going–a fresh scent, perhaps, and stay away from stronger perfumes. You don’t want to replace one strong odor with another. 

3. Remove Any Mold 

Mold can not only add to unpleasant odors in your home, but it can also be a health hazard. Though mold removal can be an undertaking, if it’s discovered your house has mold, it’ll be almost impossible to sell it without fixing that problem first. Though this may take an expert, if you catch the problem early here are some steps to take to rid your home of mold in the walls:

  • Step 1: Mix one part bleach to four parts water.
  • Step 2: Wipe and gently scrub the mold until it disappears.
  • Step 3: Wipe away the bleach mixture and dry the area well with a soft cloth first and then set up a fan to blow on it to dry the whole area out if possible.

4. Fix Exterior Maintenance or Structural Issues 

Just because major repairs aren’t cheap doesn’t mean neglecting them will save you money. In fact, not consistently seeing to general maintenance and upkeep leads to much bigger and more expensive problems and you’ll make less money, if any, when it comes time to sell your home. Here are a few suggestions to see to any exterior maintenance or structural issues in your home: 

  • Have an inspector check your foundation and work on any repairs there first. If you fix these after renovations, they could be affected by any shifting. 
  • Update any roofing issues for both function and visible appeal. 

5. Spruce Up Your Décor and Design 

Even though technically a new home is a blank slate for someone buying a house, you have to consider that someone looking at your home doesn’t have much of an imagination. Updating your décor into more modern or clean designs can help them see the space through unbiased lenses. Here are some home décor spruces you could try:

  • Hire a professional to stage your home for you before hosting an open house or listing it for sale.
  • Remove larger items or pieces of furniture to give the space more openness
  • Declutter any knickknacks or personal items from bookshelves or tables.
  • Have a yard sale or garage sale to get rid of any extra items you don’t want to take with you before just discarding them when you move.

6. Swap Out Malfunctioning Home Systems 

Nothing is more annoying than a faulty smoke detector that won’t stop beeping no matter how many times you swap the batteries with the new ones from your remote. Outside of that quick fix of getting new detectors, investing in other bigger ticket home systems can make you much more money on your asking price. Here are a few more home systems to have checked before you sell:

  • Furnace
  • AC unit
  • Hot water heater or tank

7. Update Your Electrical System 

Older or faulty electrical systems can wreak havoc on your house’s selling potential. Whether it’s poor aluminum wiring, pigtails or flickering lights, you don’t want your prospective buyers to think they are purchasing a hazardous, or even haunted house. Bad or old wiring can also be a fire hazard, which can up your insurance costs, so make sure to have an inspector come and flag what needs to be replaced so you can make the money you want on your home sale

8. Repair Any Water Damage 

Not only is water damage or general dampness a potential problem for mold, but it also weakens a lot of structures and is visually unappealing. Anytime you see water damage, it is often unfortunately indicative of a bigger problem. Here are some things to do if you spot any water damage that needs to be repaired:

  • Before fixing superficial stains or leaks, have your plumbing checked to fix the bigger problem otherwise you’ll have to fix the cosmetic damages multiple times.
  • Check to see if the leak is accessible or if it is an outer wall or foundational issue.
  • Make sure to get a plumbing consultation before repairing anything as the price to get leaks or water damage will vary greatly.

9. Improve Your Curb Appeal 

Much like you eat with your eyes first, potential buyers also shop real estate with their eyes first. If people don’t like the look of a damaged porch or patchy roof, you might not even get them through the door to make the sale. Any maintenance or foundational stuff should be seen to by a professional, but you can add value to your home’s appearance by doing some of the following:

  • Give the shutters, trim, front porch, and doors a new fresh coat of paint.
  • Plant flowers or have potted plants out front for a fresh and clean effect. 
  • Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed and weeded. 
  • Update your fence or give it a fresh coat of paint

10. Fix Hidden Hazards

Even if your house looks immaculate, hidden hazards out of view can lead to big problems when trying to sell your house, especially with inspections and insurance. Here are some signs you may have sneaky problems or unwanted house guests:

  • Piles of what looks like sawdust along your walls may be evidence you have termites.
  • Droppings that somewhat resemble flaxseeds found near food sources in your pantries or cupboards or along baseboards may be a sign you have rodents such as mice or rats.
  • Black stains that appear on window frames, in bathrooms or along wall seams could be telling you to check there for mold or mildew issues.

Final Take To GO 

The bottom line when it comes to selling your home quickly is to know the difference between polishing things up for profit and putting lipstick on a pig. Cutting corners on repairs can cost you more down the line, so before even getting the inspection and putting your house on the market know what buyers are looking for and what could be a red flag for them. A few fixes here and there can truly help you sell your house quickly and for the price you wanted, if not more.


Here are more answers to questions the different ways to make your home sales profitable.
  • What is the most profitable way to sell my house?
    • One of the best ways to make a profit when selling your home is to address and fix potential red flags that could put off buyers. Here are some examples of how to turn your house from unsellable to profitable real estate:
      • Swap out malfunctioning home systems
      • Update your electrical system
      • Repair any water damage
      • Improve your curb appeal
      • Fix hidden hazards
      • Add more natural light
      • Get rid of bad odors or unpleasant smells
      • Remove any mold
      • Fix exterior maintenance or structural issues
      • Spruce up your décor and design
  • What is the quickest you can sell a house?
    • Depending on where you live and the current housing market, selling your house can take between three and 12 months. In order to help expedite selling your home for your preferred asking price, remember some of these tips and tricks to fix around your home before selling, such as getting rid of bad odors, repairing water damage, and swapping out any home systems that don't work anymore, among many others.


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