Selling your house fast
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If you’re trying to sell your home, you’re probably anxious to seal the deal as quickly as possible. But on average, it takes 65 days to sell a house from listing to closing: two weeks on the market (according to the “2022 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report”) and 51 days for the buyer to secure financing (as of November 2022, according to ICE Mortgage Technology, a finance-industry platform). Of course, it could go longer, if you count the time to get the place in show-ready condition — and then inevitable bumps and delays after it’s in contract.
But if you’re on a tight timeline — you’re moving and don’t want to deal with a long-distance sale, or need the proceeds to buy a new property — two-to-three months can be too many.
Luckily, it’s possible to speed up the frequently slow real estate process. Here’s a guide to selling your house fast.
How to sell your house fast for more money
There are a few things you can do to hurry things along if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible:
- Selling your house to a cash buyer
- Selling to an iBuyer
- Hiring the right real estate agent
You can list your home for sale as-is — meaning you aren’t going to do repairs or updates on it, even if it’s not in the greatest condition. In return, you ask for less money for the home.
Obviously, selling as-is saves you time in getting the home listed. But also, the lower price tag on an as-in home tends to attract people who can pay in cash: Not just flush individuals, but real estate investors and professional flippers looking to buy a fixer-upper. All-cash offers save a considerable amount of time, because the buyer doesn’t have to go through the whole mortgage approval process — one of the key factors that makes closings take so long.
Along with individuals, there are home buying companies — they often have names like “Cash for Homes” and “We Buy Homes” — that specialize in snapping up such properties. (They’ll purchase homes that aren’t “as-is,” too.) With them, you’ll generally close in just a few weeks. There’s little back-and-forth negotiating on price (if any), and you don’t pay any agent’s commission, either.
On the downside, these firms tend not to make the highest offers in town. After all, they want to turn a profit when they sell your home. Their big pluses as buyers are the fact that they move fast and they’re a sure thing.
And you might not be leaving lots of money on the table, depending on the current local real estate scene. If it’s a strong sellers market, that means less inventory, so you’re not likely to lose as much as you would in a buyer’s market with lots of properties to choose from. The same applies to homes in desirable neighborhoods with infrequent listings. Cash buyers may be willing to pay a higher price, even for as-is properties, if it’s a rare opportunity.
iBuyers are a digital variety of the local cash-for-home company; they are real estate firms that purchase homes online sight unseen. You provide the iBuyer with your property information, and it uses an algorithm to make an offer — often within 48 hours — that you can either accept or decline.
With an iBuyer, you might not get as high of a price as you would with a traditional listing, especially if there are competing offers. But the process is usually smooth and fast. Selling with to an iBuyer can take as little as a few weeks, start to finish.
As for net proceeds: You’ll make probably make more on the sale of your home with an iBuyer than you would with one of the local home-flipping firms. Again, you won’t have any real estate agent commissions to pay. However, iBuyers typically assess service fees between 6 and 8 percent of the purchase price, and may deduct the cost of repairs that are needed from the offer amount.
You should also know that iBuyers only purchase homes in select geographical areas that meet certain criteria. And as the housing market slows, many of the big players are dropping out of the game.
Use a trusted real estate agent
If you choose to hire a real estate agent, be sure to put in the effort to find the right one for your situation — that is, who appreciates your need for speed. An experienced agent can help you secure the best price for your home (within your timeframe) and make sure the sale goes smoothly but quickly. An inexperienced one may slow down the process.
One good practice to help find the right agent, according to Kevin Bazazzadeh, founder of Houston-based homebuying firm Brilliant Day Homes, is to ask for references and their track record — in particular, in how many days their listings tend to spend on the market. “Knowing their work history will tell you about their work ethic, and how they communicate and negotiate with clients,” he says.
Remember that you’ll be on the hook for real estate commissions when you hire an agent. This amount is typically between 5 and 6 percent of the sales price; while it’s split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents, it all comes out of your net proceeds.
But hiring an agent is well worth the investment. In 2021, the average for sale by owner (FSBO) home sold for $225,000, but agent-assisted home sales commanded an average price of $330,000, according to the “2022 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report.”
Other tips to sell your house fast
After hiring an agent, sound them out on these actions to quickly attract good offers:
- Price your home to sell: Try to price your home at or just below its value. That will get people interested in making offers right away — and may even help you get a better price by starting a bidding war.
- Offer seller concessions: These incentives are an ideal way to attract potential buyers, especially if you’re in a rush to sell. Consider offering to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs to make the deal more affordable. Or you could include a home warranty to give the buyer peace of mind knowing certain repair costs will be covered if issues arise in the near future.
- Deep-clean your home: A deep cleaning can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Hiring a cleaning company can give it that extra boost to help you get more offers, faster.
- Make minor repairs: Many buyers are looking for a turnkey home that has few issues that need fixing. If there are minor repairs that need to be made or small updates that you can do to make your home more appealing, getting them done before you list can help you sell more quickly.
- Boost the curb appeal: The exterior is the first thing that buyers will see, so don’t neglect it. Instead, you can improve the curb appeal by mowing the lawn, adding foliage and flowers, and pressure washing the walkway, driveway and front porch. Also, consider applying a fresh coat of paint on the front door if needed and cleaning the windows. Most of these fixes only take a day or so to do.
- Consider home staging: Effective staging helps buyers see themselves living in your home and can help you earn more money on the sale. The average cost of an extensive staging (cleaning, re-decorating and renting furniture) is $1,743, according to HomeAdvisor. But it could pay for itself: In 2021, many agents reported that sale prices of staged homes rose by 1 to 5 percent, and more than 53 percent also noticed that staged homes stayed on the market for shorter periods, leading to faster sales, notes the National Association of Realtors “2021 Profile of Home Staging” report.
If you’re in a hot market, listing your home on a Wednesday or Thursday can help you sell quickly, according to Redfin data. It gives people time to find your listing and add it to the list of homes to view over the weekend. You can then request offers early in the next week, meaning you would ideally move from listing to accepting an offer in as little as a week. In terms of seasons, spring and summer are traditionally the best times of year to sell a house. However, if you really have to move fast, don’t write off mid-winter: You’ll find fewer, but often more motivated, buyers wanting to come in out of the cold.
It depends on market conditions and where the home is located. Sometimes the difference is minimal; just 5 to 15 percent less. It also depends on the type of buyer. Some “cash for homes” firms, a common type of as-is house buyer, pay as little as only 50–70 percent of a home’s after-repair value.
An iBuyer is the fastest way to sell your home. Many provide cash offers in as soon as 24 hours and fast closing times, but you’ll likely receive less than your home’s fair market value on the sale since the iBuyer’s aim is to maximize profits from fixing and flipping the property.
Avoid overpricing it, which can cause buyers to delay offers — or not make them at all. If you want to sell your home quickly, you should also try to limit the number of contingencies on the sale, both from your side and the buyer’s side, to reduce the grounds that would let a buyer back out of the deal.