Tips for Selling a Home, Even in a Bad Neighborhood

While your home’s neighborhood may not be in demand, there’s bound to be a buyer for every property. To help your home find its new owner, play up your area’s inherent charms while drawing attention away from its less desirable qualities.

That old location, location, location adage is all well and good when you’re selling in a desirable locale, but factors like living in a less sought-after school district, near train tracks or on a busy street can make a good sale feel unattainable. But don’t despair, here are a few ways to make the most of your situation and sell your home.

Price Accordingly

The question you should be asking yourself: what are houses selling for in my neighborhood? Appeal to the starter-home buyer with a competitive price that enables their entry into the real estate market. When marketing your home towards first-time homebuyers or buyers on a tighter budget, avoid overspending on renovations in an attempt to up the value of your home. Doing so can lose you money in the long run if your home ends up selling for less than the asking price. If you save your pennies, then your buyers can too.

If you’ve already spent time and money renovating the property, make those new high points of your home the focus. For the right buyer, a turnkey home is more valuable than a prime zip code. Call out that renovated kitchen, spa bathroom and refinished hardwood floors high up in the copy of the listing to highlight the inherent value of your home.

Play To Your Audience

Just because your property isn’t located in a blue-chip neighborhood doesn’t mean that the area doesn’t have its charms. A neighborhood with amenities like grocery stores, shopping malls and restaurants with a high Walkability Score can be highly attractive to a buyer who prefers hustle-bustle over peace and quiet.

One person’s drawback – such as proximity to a school – may well be another’s positive, in this case, for a family with small children. Alternatively, a neighborhood with a lower-ranking school district might mean proportionally lower property taxes, and would be a boon for a childfree buyer. A nearby railroad track might mean noise to one buyer but mean proximity to public transportation for another. Whatever the character of your neighborhood, play to its strengths, rather than attempting to cover up its weaknesses.

Enhance The Experience

Set yourself up for success from the beginning – make sure that photos on your listing are professional and well-lit to set a positive expectation before potential buyers even see your home in person. Guide prospective buyers with step-by-step directions to your home that take them along the most desirable route: the one with the quaint lawns and coffee shop as opposed to the one with overgrown yards or otherwise unseemly elements. Up the good vibes even further by staging the interior to help prospective buyers fall in love at first sight.

Amping up your own property’s curb appeal (and paying to clean up your neighbor’s yard, if necessary) will help add to buyers’ perceptions of the place. (Read: How to Attract More Buyers by Increasing Curb Appeal.)

Even if your home isn’t likely to inspire bidding wars, there are still buyers in the market looking exactly for what you’ve got. Do what you can to highlight the best parts of your property and then set a reasonable price, temper your expectations and be willing to be flexible as you wait for the right buyer to come along.