Q: I live in a house that is in desperate need of repair. My ex moved out and the money wasn’t available to fix it. I have remarried, but we want to move.
We need to redo the bathroom, the kitchen, either refinish the hardwood floors or carpet the first floor, replace the basement ceiling (tiles are falling down), not to mention paint the inside of the whole house.
I would like to just put the house on the market as a handy man’s special. We live in an older suburb of Chicago where a lot of people do rehabs.
Would we be better off trying to fix everything in the house? It could take a year or two of saving to swing it financially. Or, should we just list the house as a fixer-upper and hope someone wants to buy it because interest rates are low.
A: I think when you sell a home as a fixer-upper, you are possibly leaving cash on the table. On the other hand, if you don’t have the time, interest or cash to fix up the home, then taking whatever cash you can out of the house may be a good solution.
Here’s how to decide: Invite a real estate agent over to inspect your home. Ask how much he or she thinks you could get for your property today, without doing anything. Then, ask how much you could get if you fixed everything up. If the difference between the “before” and “after” price is more than you’ll pay to do the work, then consider doing the project.
Current tax law permits you to take up to $250,000 if you’re single and up to $500,000 in profits tax free when you sell your home. That’s a lot of cash you may be able to get out of your home.