Emergency Home Repairs Before Selling A Home (How To Pay)

Wouldn’t it be great if we would’ve known ahead of time that the air conditioning was going to go out, oh and we’re in Florida so when temperatures are reaching 100 degrees plus that awful August humidity it doesn’t matter how much the new HVAC system costs we need it!

Well according to Homeadvisor.com, the average cost to replace an HVAC is a whopping $7,000. This emergency home repair and others like it make it difficult when 40% of Americans do not have the money for unplanned repairs of $400 or more, let alone a $7,000 emergency repair, as quoted from the Federal Reserve 2019 Economic Well Being Report.

However, don’t worry there are options out there and which one could be best for you will depend on your situation.

How much should you have in savings for home repairs?

Well, like any discussion about savings and how much there’s always a practical answer and then there’s the reality of what is actually possible.

Instead I’ll explain how we calculate the home repairs savings for our rental properties and they fall into 2 categories (1) the newer ones (2) the older ones.

Over the years, we have seen that for the average Florida rental property we own (fully remodeled recently) runs us about $2,400 per year in repairs /renovations/ house calls/ etc. But the older ones, these are the real cash eaters. They run us about $6,300 per year in repairs/ renovations/ maintenance/ etc. I think these numbers can apply to you as well depending on when the last time a full renovation was done to the home you’re living in.

What To Do With A House You Cannot Afford to Fix? (but need to sell)

Don’t worry if this is you, 40% of Americans are exactly like you if the fixing will cost more than $400 and I can imagine if we bump that amount up to $5,000 there would likely be about 50%+ of Americans who would not be able to do the fixing without choosing one of the 8 options below. However, more generally you’re essentially left with 2 options (1) do the fixing of the house (2) Sell the house “as is”. As discussed in the How to get the top dollar when selling as is article which option you choose will depend on what will get you the most cash in your pocket in the end.

Repairs It Pays to Make Before Selling a Home (if you have the money)

First off, it’s important to differentiate between repairs and upgrades. Repairs are necessary fixes to the house that will prevent the value from being less than the fair market value, things that are required to pass an ordinary home inspection. Upgrades on the other hand are optional fixes that can increase the value of the home and end up selling higher than the fair market value because those upgrades were unique.

  1. Patching holes and cracks in the walls and ceiling: This one is ultra important, think first impressions you want the Buyer to envision themselves moving right in and just putting their furniture. The average cost for a repair like this according to Homeadvisor.com will run between $200-$2,000 and about $6,000 if you’re painting the exterior.
  2. Replacing or fixing broken appliances: Self explanatory here, all appliances will need to be in working order to pass an inspection so you might as well repair them ahead of time it will need to be replaced before closing unless you decide to force the Buyer to replace them (not a good idea!).
  3. HVAC systems: Similar to the appliances, this will need to be in working order to pass inspections, but also imagine trying to sell a house here in Florida in August with no air conditioning. Replace this immediately if its an issue and it should run you about $7,000.
  4. Repair leaky faucets or pipes: Keep it simple here, try not to replace these if you’re selling but they will need to be functional and not leaking to pass the inspection. A plumber should run you about $50-$200 per hour for labor.
  5. Replace any code violations (broken glass window, electrical outlets). Seems basic and straightforward but these are must do if you want to sell to an individual who is getting a loan for the purchase.
  6. Replace worn or stained carpeting
  7. Repaint dark or scuffed walls with neutral non white paint. Easy enough and should run between about $200-$2,000 for the interior stuff.

How To Negotiate Repairs When Selling A Home

Selling a home and finally getting that sold home closed are two different things. (1) Getting the home “sold” and (2) getting the same home “closed”. What I mean by that is all the above stuff is how to get your home sold but that’s when the inspection period begins and until that concludes the Buyer still has the right to make unreasonable requests after inspection, by asking for a lot of repairs to be done that we didn’t discuss above. Now, getting this “sold” home to the finish line and “closing” will take some expert negotiation but that takes years of experience and tons of transactions to navigate so we’ll just leave it at that it is possible to negotiate with the Buyer to receive repairs credits for those repairs they are requesting and you do not need to do the repairs yourself. We do represent sellers all across Florida, who our cash offer does not work for and they want to get top dollar using a special agreement where we guarantee a sales price in exchange for taking responsibility for the sale, negotiation and any repairs that might be requested or required by the buyer. We act in the best interests of you to get you your price while we use our expertise to take it through the finish line. If interested in this program submit a form and tell our team you’d like to discuss Homeowner Name Your Price Program.

How to pay for (unplanned) emergency repairs without savings

  1. Home equity line of credit (HELOC): So this one is probably the most common but will require a good credit score, verification of certain income, and processing paperwork and time. However, if all is passed it’s probably the way to tap into the most amount of cash. It’s a step by step process you can do with most banks. 
  2. Insurance claim: Another one of the more common ways to get some money for repairs but the damage will need to be within your policy limits. Some of the most common repairs for insurance claims would be your roof or flooding. Most likely you’ll also need to pay for the deductible, so that should be less than the repairs itself or else you’re better off paying for the repairs. This is the process we follow for any of our home insurance claims
  3. Government home repair assistance: There are programs that you may qualify for to obtain a loan to make necessary repairs and even grants that do not need to be repaid. Check out if you would qualify for either of these.
  4. Credit card: This one is straightforward but based on the research is the #1 choice for homeowners to make repairs when they range from $400-$10,000. 
  5. Community development programs & Disaster relief

How can I get free money to fix my house

There are a few ways where if you qualify you might even be able to get money for the repairs and never have to pay it back. They are what would be called grants and may include: 

(1) federal government assistance for emergency repairs

(2) local county assistance for home repairs

(3) charities that help with home repairs

(4) low-income home repair programs

Like any program the borrower must meet the qualifications for each individual program.

Alternate Option: Find the right buyer & Sell The Home As Is

Luckily there’s also an option if all of that above seems a bit too complicated and may take just a little too long to go through that whole process all to sell the house anyway. So you’re thinking, what can I do if I don’t want to stress out about (1) securing money and owing someone else all while (2) trying to manage contractors to get the work done properly ? Or even thinking how much repairs are needed that you just don’t have the time to manage that project. Well, that’s where a trusted home buying company like us comes in because we’ll buy it even if it’s a house that’s falling apart


Hopefully you got what you came here for and you have hope that even if you don’t have the cash right now that making emergency home repairs is possible. Ultimately, there are 3 possible solutions we discussed: (1) secure money from one of the many loan options (2) sell the house as is for cash to a home buying company (3) Our Homeowner Name Your Price Program. With either option just fill out a form below and someone from our team will reach out to you within the same day and just tell them which option you think is the best fit for you. We are an investment company but more than that we look to help people get their home closed not just sold and we rely on our 11 years of experience and 600+ transactions to ALWAYS get the house to the finish line.

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