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How to sell your house fast

how to sell your house fast - red and white "sold" sign with yellow smiley face in front of suburban house
Tetra Images/Getty Images
how to sell your house fast - red and white "sold" sign with yellow smiley face in front of suburban house
Tetra Images/Getty Images

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If you’re trying to sell your home, you’re probably anxious to seal the deal as quickly as possible. Whether you’re moving and trying to avoid dealing with a long-distance sale, or need the proceeds to buy a new property, the faster you can sell, the sooner you’ll be able to move on to the next stage of your life. Luckily, it’s possible to speed up the frequently slow real estate process.

How to sell your home fast

There are a few things you can do to hurry things along if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible. Here are some quick-sale strategies and options to consider.

Find the best 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. A good agent will give you valuable advice that can help you secure the best price for your home and make sure the sale goes smoothly — and 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. This will help you find someone you can work with easily. “Knowing their work history will tell you about their work ethic, and how they communicate and negotiate with clients,” he says.

It can take about 76 days from listing to closing if you work with an agent, according to data from Redfin and Ellie Mae. On average, it takes 18 days to receive and accept an offer after listing and then another 58 days from the time of accepting the offer to close on the deal.

Sell to an iBuyer

iBuyers are real estate technology companies that purchase homes online. You provide the iBuyer with your property information, and it uses an algorithm to make an offer 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.

FSBO

If you want to avoid paying fees to an agent or getting a low offer from an iBuyer, you can list your home for sale by owner (FSBO). If you know what you’re doing, this can speed up the sale process because it eliminates waiting on someone else to get things done.

However, this process involves significantly more legwork, because you won’t have the helping hand of an agent. In most cases, working with an agent is worth it. They can help you get a higher price for your home while also keeping things moving at a faster clip than you might be able to manage on your own.

Price to sell

If you’re truly pressed for time — or cash — and need to sell ASAP, there are a few things you can do when pricing and listing your home to help draw in offers. Here are some aspects to consider.

Fair market value

One thing that’s very important to know before listing your home is its fair market value. Your agent can help you look at comps of similar homes in your area to get a sense for what your home might be worth.

If you’re looking to sell quickly, 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.

Selling as-is

If your home isn’t in great condition and you don’t have time to do repairs or updates that might help you net a higher price, you can list your home for sale as-is. You’ll likely have to accept a lower price for an as-is sale, but this can draw interest from real estate investors and others looking to buy a fixer-upper, which means it might get snapped up fast.

Consider your local market

To sell your home quickly, it’s important to figure out whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, you won’t have to make many concessions because buyers are at a disadvantage. This is where most of the country stands at the moment, considering today’s low housing inventory. In a buyer’s market, though, you may have to give something up to make sure your home gets purchased quickly. That can mean listing it for a lower price or taking other steps to garner interest.

Consider sales incentives

Sales incentives are a good way to draw in more potential buyers, especially if you’re in a rush. For example, you may offer a credit toward paying the buyer’s closing costs to help make the deal more affordable. You could also offer to sell free of contingencies on your end, such as a contingency that you find a new home before completing the sale. If your house is on the older side, you can also offer to include a home warranty, which covers certain repair costs if issues pop up within a particular time frame.

Staging

Staging your home is important both for selling your home quickly and for getting higher offers. Effective staging helps buyers see themselves living in your home, and how they can utilize the space. While staging can cost money and take time, it’s well worth the effort.

According to data from the National Association of Realtors, the average cost of a staging service in 2021 was $1,500. But many agents reported that sale prices of staged homes rose by 1 to 5 percent. On a $250,000 home, a 3 percent increase is $7,500, earning the seller a huge return on that investment. On top of getting a better price, more than 53% of Realtors noticed that staged homes stayed on the market for less time as well, which equates to faster sales.

Don’t discount the value of a good, informative listing description and professional online photos, either. These are also essential tools — the more info potential buyers have, the better.

Be aware of these tactics and scams

Selling a home can be stressful, and if you’re really in a hurry, it’s all too easy to fall prey to real estate scams. Scammers use the promise of quick and easy cash to find marks, targeting those who may be desperate and emotional.

One common thing to look out for is “we buy homes for cash” signs posted around the neighborhood. There are many legitimate businesses that do buy homes for cash, usually fixing them up to flip or rent out, but they typically won’t be advertising with a cheap sign posted on a street sign or telephone pole.

It’s important to do your due diligence on any potential buyer, particularly if there is no real estate agent involved. Listen to your gut and don’t sign any paperwork until you’ve had a chance to review it with a lawyer.

More tips to sell a home faster

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, consider these tactics as well.

Deep cleaning

A deep cleaning can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Hiring a cleaning company before you get your home staged can give it that extra boost to help you get more offers, faster.

Quick renovations

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.

Curb appeal

Don’t neglect the outside of the house! The exterior is the first thing that buyers will see, so you want it to look welcoming and have nice curb appeal. Even small things like mowing the lawn or planting some flowers can have a huge impact on how someone views your home — and how many offers you receive. Here are a few other easy and affordable things you can do to boost curb appeal:

  • Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door
  • Clean the windows
  • Upgrade the mailbox or light fixture
  • Tidy up the front porch and walkway

FAQs

Bottom line

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, it’s important to be realistic. You will likely have to trade something in exchange for speed. However, if you follow the best practices listed here, you can help make your home appealing to buyers, speeding up the sale process and (hopefully) helping you net a higher price, too.

Written by
TJ Porter
Contributing writer
TJ Porter is a contributing writer for Bankrate. TJ writes about a range of subjects, from budgeting tips to bank account reviews.
Edited by
Senior real estate editor