How to Sell Your House Fast
When you need to sell your house quickly, there are some steps you can take to maximize the potential of your sales price as well as the speed at which your home sells.
Asking yourself the critical question, “How can I sell my house quickly”, typically means that there is a motivating factor that can be driving you towards a faster home sale, such as upsizing/downsizing, dealing with a divorce, or having to relocate for work.
There are other situations, such as having a parent move to assisted living or one who has passed and you’ve now inherited the property, which is more a burden than anything and you want to offload the property before it starts to take a toll on your time or your wallet.
What we want to cover here are the most important factors to sell your house. First, we’ll go over ways to sell your house. Then, we’ll go over what you’ll need to do to prepare your home for a quick house sale.
Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about selling a home fast. In this guide, you will see comparisons of three different options and the pros and cons of each.
Choose A Method To Sell Your House
Typically, there are three ways to sell your home, and we’re going to talk a little about what each of those is and how they work.
Real Estate Agents
This is the traditional way to sell your home and the way that is currently most familiar to people. As reported at Kaplan Real Estate Education, are professionals that are specifically trained to arrange the renting or selling of homes (in this context we’re just going to be talking about residential properties).
The advantage of hiring a real estate agent to sell your home is that they are likely to have helpful tools and market information that you would not have, such as access to the MLS, knowledge of where to get market research, being personally familiar with the areas, and other real estate trends.
A knowledgeable agent can save you time and prevent you from having to do the research yourself with less effective tools.
The disadvantage of a real estate agent is that you have to pay a commission, typically six percent, and an inexperienced agent may cause more harm than good.
Your goal is to sell your home fast, but that is not guaranteed with a real estate agent. An agent has to go through a phase of preparation and then apply a series of marketing strategies to get your home in front of potential buyers. Additionally, open houses and showings can be a disruption to your life.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
With “for sale by owner” or FSBO, you don’t have an agent or broker. You are attempting to sell the home yourself.
There’s one significant advantage of this kind of sale: You don’t have to pay an agent a commission.
The disadvantage of this kind of sale is that you don’t have an agent doing anything for you. You will be responsible for marketing your home, working with potential buyers, negotiating offers, transaction paperwork, etc.
Another disadvantage of this kind of sale is the seller’s responsibilities. As the seller, you are responsible for fees and any legal risks involved in the transaction of the sale.
There are some specific cases where selling the home yourself can be a good option in terms of speed, such as if you already know how to market properties, if your neighborhood is in very high demand, or if you are pricing the home low enough that buyers will consider it a steal.
If you are pricing the home low, you still need to put together a decent amount of marketing to get it in front of the right buyers.
More on marketing soon
With FSBO, there is still no guarantee that the home can sell quickly, and if you are indeed on a tight timeline, then this can still be risky.
Selling To Home Investors
Reaching out to a cash home buyer is probably the fastest way to sell your house. Normally, when considering an investor as the main option, a homeowner is in a more motivated position and thinking “I need to sell my house asap”! As with the other methods, there are pros and cons to this.
Home-buying companies are typically looking to purchase homes so that they can make a profit on them, most commonly in the form of putting money into the repairs, renovating them, and putting them back on the market.
The difference between an investor and a real estate agent is that an agent is a middleman between the seller and buyer, but an investor is a buyer and one that normally uses cash.
The advantage is that the investor uses their own money or other private money to purchase, so they don’t have to go through the normal institution approval process for financing.
They can normally deploy the cash in a matter of days, which makes them the best option when selling a house quickly.
The second advantage is that, although they typically start with a cash offer, experienced investors know how to use other methods to purchase a home. This is good news if you’re trying to sell a house that has little to no equity
The third advantage is that you won’t have to make any repairs to the property or pay any fees out of pocket, such as closing costs, commissions, etc.
The cons to investors are that, with a cash offer, you’re going to get a reduced amount from market value for the home than you would on a sale through the MLS or an FSBO.
Because an investor is looking to make a profit on a home, they have a maximum amount they can pay for a property to cover repairs, closing costs, and any additional fees, and make room for a profit.
In some cases, with the right real estate investors, you can get more money for your home if you take an alternative route to cash.
This usually occurs if you’re willing to have a delay in payment or if you’re willing to finance part of the sales price.
It’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of each option and determine if a cash offer is right for you.
You would have to factor in your timeline, costs for commissions, closing costs, the money needed for repairs, and holding costs (the amount of money you pay each month for the mortgage, home, bills, insurance, etc) (the amount of money you pay each month for the mortgage, home, bills, insurance, etc).
Sometimes it makes more sense to sell to an investor faster to keep from spending additional money.
Get Your House Ready To Sell
If you are selling your home for cash to an investor, you don’t need to do anything to your home in most cases. A buyer looks at your home and makes you an offer, and that’s it.
However, the other methods of selling a home will require some preparation.
Ideally, preparations for selling a house quickly should only focus on what is necessary for a fast sale. So, you don’t want to make significant improvements, such as renovating a kitchen or renovating a bathroom, unless necessary.
Major improvements will take time and will defeat the concept of a quick sale.
The first thing you want to do is clean your home. This includes tasks such as sweeping and mopping every room, cleaning the windows and mirrors, cleaning and sanitizing the bathrooms, cleaning the yard, etc.
This isn’t your basic cleaning, but your more in-depth cleaning that will make every part of your house look as close to new as possible.
You can do this yourself, or if you can afford it, you can hire a professional. A professional cleaning company can get the job done faster and more effectively in most cases, but be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars.
After the house is clean, start packing and getting rid of things you don’t need or want. A decluttered home sells faster than a cluttered home, and it makes it a lot easier on you later on.
Inside the house, stage, or arrange the furniture in the home in an attractive manner. Watch this video on home staging fast on a $200 budget.
Outside the house, make sure it has curb appeal. Get rid of weeds and place inexpensive plants where needed, if necessary. Even something as simple as pressure washing can make the exterior look different.
The second thing you want to do is easy repairs. This would include making sure the kitchen appliances work, checking that the drawers, doors, and cabinets close correctly, checking the water heater, AC, and furnace, repairing holes in the drywall, etc.
Touch-ups aren’t so much about raising your property value, but they’re more about preventing the perceived value from dropping.
One top tip is to paint your walls a neutral color to brighten them up and to cover any colors that may be objectionable to a buyer such as purple, pink, or blue. Walls in a neutral color, such as white, off-white, cream, or soft grey, are more appealing to home buyers.
Marketing Your Home
Traditional forms of selling a house – going with a real estate agent or for sale by owner (FSBO) – mean that you will need to put your house on the market in some way. Aside from just a For Sale sign in the yard, it would otherwise be difficult to market the home.
Real Estate Agents
If you have a real estate agent, he or she will do a lot of this for you. Real estate agents are connected to the tools needed to sell your home.
The most important thing about agents is that you want to make sure they are doing the job competently.
This means that your agent should be taking professional photos of your home, and not just with their phone camera. They should have proper lighting, angles, and plenty of photos that they can market with.
If you have a large yard or extras like a pool, then they should be taking aerial shots of your property via drone to enhance the allure. All of these photos should be professionally edited, and the MLS listing should have a professional and full description.
Most agents will advertise the property on the MLS, Zillow, Redfin, and other online properties, but top agents will know how to use social media to share the home and run paid ads for it.
If you are selling the property yourself, you’ll need to do what is necessary to effectively advertise your home.
Selling the home on your own or FSBO means that you’ll have to do your research. You’ll need to do market research to know what the current pricing trends are. This is a serious step that should not be skipped.
The top cause for a home not selling is most often the property is priced too high (this is also true for the agent route) (this is also true for the agent route).
You’ll want to ensure that you’re selling your home at the most advantageous price before you put your house on the market.
The best thing to do is search for the median home price for your zip code, and then cross-reference that with homes that have sold recently in your area (ideally your neighborhood if there is data on that) (ideally your neighborhood if there is data on that).
The days on the market or DOM for the average home is 58 days. With that in mind, the question of how to sell a house fast by owner needs to take into account the days on the market for your area.
You should be able to find the average DOM for your area by using the same resources that will help you determine the median price for homes.
As for marketing, you can create your listings on places such as zillow.com, craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and several other websites if you look for them on search engines.
Closing the Deal
You are the homeowner until all aspects of the closing are complete. There is no guarantee that every closing will flow smoothly. Closings can fall through for a variety of reasons: the buyer may have changed his or her mind; the buyer’s financing may have fallen through; there may be issues with the title, and more.
You are also responsible for closing costs. These include the transfer of the property or deed, repairs after a home inspection, title insurance, real estate commissions, etc.
Also, if you hire a real estate attorney to go over closing papers with you, you will need to cover their fee as well.
Of these three options to sell your home, selling your house for cash and selling it to an investor is the fastest way. You say, “I want to sell my house fast for cash.” Great! Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on the subject.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I SELL MY HOUSE IN SEVEN DAYS?
As we’ve described earlier, the fastest way to sell your house in seven days is to sell it for cash or with an investor. If you’re selling to an investor, you won’t need to do the suggestions below. The investor will pay for your home with cash, and you can move on with your life.
If you are not working with an investor, follow these tips on what to do if you’re selling your property on your own for cash:
- Remove the listing for five days.
- Use the time to touch up your ad and make it more attractive to buyers.
- Real estate experts agree that the best way to get your house to move is to price your home less than the market value for selling fast.
How do you do that? First, determine the last sale in your neighborhood. Again, as described earlier, all of that information is available for free online. You’ll need to do your research. Then, when you know this information, price your house less than five percent than that price.
Going with less than five percent of the price is a realistic price, and it protects your interest at the same time.
- Consider a one-day-only sale. Limited sales can help to build enthusiasm even more.
- As ABC News encourages, get creative. What does that mean? It means thinking outside the box. For example, you can add an incentive to your sale.
Let’s say you live in Florida, where riding a golf cart on roads and not only on golf courses is common. One of the things you can do if you are selling a house in Florida is to include a golf cart.
That doesn’t mean that you have to buy a new golf cart to couple with the house. You can include a golf cart that you already own.
- Of course, make sure your house is clean and deodorized. Also, make sure your yard is cleaned up. All of this helps for a quicker sale.
- After you’ve done all of this, put your listing back online and active.
IF I SELL MY HOUSE FAST FOR CASH, IS THAT A GOOD IDEA?
You may be asking, “If I sell my house for cash, is that a good idea?” Yes, selling your house fast for cash is an excellent idea for several reasons.
It can get your home sold fast, and it can get money in your bank account quickly, within days or weeks. You also have less of a chance of losing a sale due to a buyer backing out of the offer due to lack of financing, etc.
Also, typically, your house will be sold “as is.” Therefore, renovations and repairs are not necessary. Additionally, you can save $5,000 to $6000 in closing costs on a $200,000 home, for example.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely get less money than in a traditional way of sale, but it’s a great idea if you do it right.
When working with an investment company, they typically have quick-sale agents to help with the paperwork.
ARE THERE CLOSING COSTS WITH A CASH SALE?
The fastest way to sell a house is with cash. However, if you’re selling your home on your own for cash, it doesn’t end there. Yes, as reported at SFGate, there are closing costs with a cash sale depending on where the cash sale is taking place and how it is taking place.
If you worked with an agent, you’d need to pay the agent’s fee. You may have a transfer tax, homeowner’s association fees that you need to bring up to date, and water or energy conservation fees. You may need to get current on your property taxes.
There may also be things that are not required in cash payment transactions. These include actions such as an appraisal or a property inspection to help with the sale.
Selling your home to an investor can alleviate many, or all, of these costs.
Who pays closing costs in a cash sale?
Typically, in most real estate sales, the seller is responsible for the closing costs.
Most of the time, the closing costs are negotiated, and sellers ask the buyers if they are willing to pay half of the closing costs. If the buyer has asked you to come down on your price, then you can counter by having them pay all of the closing costs.
If you’re working with an investor, the investor will normally pay all of the closing costs by default. If the investor IS NOT covering the closing costs, then you should probably find another investor.
How long does a cash sale on a house take?
If you choose to sell a house the traditional way, such as with a real estate agent, a house with a standard mortgage can take approximately 48 days for closing. This period does not represent a fast sale.
The period changes when a buyer pays cash for your home. Steps such as a mortgage, home appraisal, income verification, and more can be skipped.
However, as stated above, there can still be paperwork. Therefore, it typically takes two days to up to two weeks to close a cash sale.
If you are working with an investor, the closing can occur much more quickly. In cases where a property is facing foreclosure and the auction is days away, investors can push to close on a home in as little as 3 days.
What if I can’t afford closing costs?
In traditional ways of selling a home, as we’ve described, closing costs are typically unavoidable. So what do you do if you can’t afford closing costs?
There are two options:
Sell the home to an investor who will cover ALL of the costs related to it.
Negotiate that your buyer pays all of the closing costs (typically in exchange for dropping the purchase price) (typically in exchange for dropping the purchase price).
As you can see, a quick house sale is possible; it can save you closing costs and it can save you time.
Follow the tips in this article to prepare your house, put it on the market, and get it sold fast. You don’t have to do every recommendation we have mentioned, but you’ll want to pick the ones that will help you out the most. Also, strongly consider going with a method that offers a quick sale.
Therefore, keep in mind that the fastest way to sell your home is to sell it to an investor. An investor can not only save you closing costs but also save you the most amount of time.
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