no money for updates selling home

No Money For Updates: Should I Offer a Discount When Selling My Home?

The real estate market is more competitive than ever. If you want to sell your home fast, you’ve got to make it stand out. 

For some sellers, making a house stand out might be a matter of renovating, attending to necessary repairs, and generally putting in the work needed to make the space look appealing. But what if you don’t have the money or time to update your home? 

Don’t worry — a lack of funds to make repairs or renovate doesn’t rule out a successful sale. There are plenty of other ways to make your home appealing to potential buyers, including offering an allowance, trying your hand at DIY repairs, or even selling your home for cash. 

Let’s take a look at the different options so you can figure out the best solution for your situation:

What Does it Mean to Offer an Allowance?

Say that you put your house on the market, but it needs updating. If potential buyers seem to be disappointed with the amount of work that will be required of them, you can consider offering an allowance. In simple terms, this is a discount that you’re offering the buyer to deal with repairs themselves.

The dollar amount of the allowance will depend on what types of updates are necessary, and how costly they will be to complete. For instance, repairing a squeaky floorboard is far less labor-intensive than installing new siding. 

For that reason, it’s generally a smart idea to seek out estimates from professionals for the necessary updates and price your allowance accordingly. 

An allowance is also an opportunity to put a positive spin on the situation. As the seller, you can emphasize the fact that the buyer will have the freedom to complete the job as they see fit, with creative freedom and the ability to choose the professional for the job.

Offering an Allowance: The Disadvantages 

Offering an allowance might seem like an easy fix to help sell your home faster. However, there are some potential disadvantages.

Perhaps the main disadvantage is that many buyers prefer a house that’s move-in ready. They may not be excited about the hassle of dealing with home repairs themselves. 

For that reason, an allowance alone may not be enough enticement for potential buyers. 

However, this may not be an issue in super-hot markets. In a desirable neighborhood, it won’t be as much of a factor, because there’s more likely to be increased demand. 

Updates That Don’t Require a Big Investment 

You may not have money to invest in home repairs, but chances are you have a little time. Simply cleaning clutter and thoroughly cleaning your house can work wonders in terms of making it more appealing to potential buyers.

There are also some simple repairs that don’t require too much time or money that can increase the appeal of your house exponentially. For instance, painting the interior of your house with white paint makes your house look cleaner and more spacious. It gives potential buyers a fresh, clean canvas to imagine their life in the space.

Price Your House Appropriately

Instead of offering an allowance, some sellers choose to price their home at a lower amount based on how much work will be required.

Take into consideration factors like supply and demand in the current market and how much the potential buyer will need to do.

For instance, a house that requires a gut renovation will need to be priced lower than a house that just requires a new water heater. 

Skip the Hassle and Sell Your Home for Cash

Of course, if dealing with repairs or allowances seems like a huge hassle, there’s another option — consider selling your home for cash.

A cash buyer is a buyer who doesn’t require financing to purchase a house. They’re generally willing to deal with a home that requires updates, provided the price is right. 

Selling your house for cash can free you from the annoying back-and-forth process of haggling over price as well as saving you the time and money required to deal with the repairs yourself. 

Plus, the process of selling a home for cash is often a lot quicker than a traditional financed retail sale! 


If you want to sell a house that requires repairs you can’t afford, it’s not the end of the world. There are a number of ways to deal with it:

  • Consider offering an allowance
  • Clean up your home and do what you can do yourself without bringing the pros in
  • Adjust the price of your house accordingly
  • Consider selling for cash instead

There’s no right or wrong — it’s all about what works for you. Consider your budget, timeline, and unique situation before making a final decision about how to approach selling a home in need of updates! 

What method of selling a house that needs updates appeals most to you?

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