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What Are Your Options for Selling a House With Code Violations?

If one of your goals for the new year is selling your home, then it’s time to get your house in shape. An inspection is a necessary part of selling your home and it’s possible that you might find some unexpected issues like code violations as part of this process. Code violations can come in many forms from fire hazards to electrical issues. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to fix everything before selling, and you can consider your options to put your home on the market, even with code violations.

What are the common code violations to watch out for?

No one wants to find out that their home has code violations and the best way to know what you need to address is to hire an inspector to come out to your home. You can know what you’ll face ahead of time by knowing about a few of the common code violations. Those include smoke alarms, as they should be on each level of your home and outside every bedroom. Handrails need to turn and end into a wall to avoid falls. Bathroom exhaust fans need to vent into an attic instead of outside. Decks need flashing between the deck ledger board and your house, to prevent wood rot and keep the deck stable. Electrical systems need ground-fault circuit interrupters in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and outdoor circuits or outlets.

Fix it all and move on

If your budget allows, and you and your realtor agree that it’s a good idea, one of the easiest solutions might be to fix code violations before you sell your home. Whether or not this is the best solution depends on many factors and you’ll need to weigh all of the costs involved by consulting with your realtor. Some fixes are easy — like moving, or adding ceiling-mounted smoke alarms. Others, like fixing electrical issues, might be more complicated but will be almost essential to sell your home. However, in the current sellers’ market — where there is a lack of supply and high demand — buyers are willing to settle for homes that need fixes to get ahead of their competition.

Lower the price or give a credit

If you do decide to sell your home as-is, then you might need to offer a credit since the buyer will be paying to fix the code violations. Again, your agent can be your guide to handle the situation. The credit offered to buyers can be a credit at closing, taking into account the cost of making the repairs. Instead of credit, other sellers might lower the sale price as an incentive for buyers to take on a home that might need some work before move-in.

Find a cash buyer

When a home has major code violations, but you want to sell it, a cash buyer can be the way to go. Cash buyers are accustomed to buying houses “as-is” with code violation fixes. There are different types of cash buyers, some that are buying a house to fix up and live in, and others that are buying the house to fix and then sell for a profit. One cash buyer to know about is an iBuyer. iBuyers will purchase your home quickly from an online site. After receiving the description of your home, an iBuyer might make you an offer in a couple of days. Of course with scams out there, you’ll want to get your agent involved in every step of the process. To get an idea of how much a cash buyer might offer you, you can do your research on HomeLight’s Simple Sale Platform, which partners with over 100 nationwide pre-approved iBuyers to connect sellers with cash buyers. You’ll want to keep in mind that you are likely to get less for your home if you sell it for cash to an iBuyer or other buyer — but the advantage is that you can sell your home quickly, and without having to worry about fixing those code violations.

Just because you find out that your house had code violations, doesn’t mean you have to start a long process of fixing them. Some code violations might be worth it to fix, especially if it’s a change that doesn’t require major construction. In other cases, you can sell your house without making any fixes at all. Your agent can be your guide to decide what’s best for your home.