Not everyone can afford the luxury of selling a house on the market for top dollar. On average, it takes 68 days from when you list a home to closing. And that's not counting the weeks of costly repairs and renovations you may need to make to sell your house for the best price.
If you need to sell a house fast, you might want to consider using a company that buys properties for cash. You won't make as much money as you could by listing your home with a top licensed real estate agent, but with a “we buy houses for cash” company, you can sell an unwanted property quickly and conveniently, without the need to schedule repairs, host open houses, or pay closing costs.
In this guide to the best “we buy houses for cash” companies, we'll break down how the process works, what the top companies are, and some alternatives that could help you sell your house just as quickly and for more money.
The pros & cons of selling to a we buy houses for cash company
Selling your house to a “we buy houses for cash company” could be a good or bad idea, depending on your goals and situation. Here are the pros and cons to consider:
- Faster speed. With a “we buy houses for cash” company, you may close significantly faster than you would with an open-market sale. In the companies we reviewed below, the average time to close was just 7-14 days, compared to 68 days for the average sale on-market.
- Higher certainty. With a “we buy houses for cash” company, the likelihood of your sale falling through is lower; you don't need to worry about your buyer failing to qualify for a mortgage, changing their mind, or arguing with you over repairs.
- Lower fees. With the companies we reviewed below, you don't have to pay any real estate commissions or closing costs.
- No repairs. Most “we buy houses for cash” companies will purchase your home “as-is.” You don't need to make any costly and time-consuming repairs.
- Lower price. With a “we buy houses for cash” company, it's highly unlikely you'll receive the fair market valuation for your home. Instead, expect a discount of as much as 30-50%. It's a costly tradeoff for the convenience and speed of these no-hassle sales.
- Predatory tactics. Some cash buyers are “opportunity investors,” meaning that they prey on vulnerable people with distressed properties or who are facing life challenges such as divorce, bankruptcy, death of a loved one, etc. They may use aggressive tactics to pressure you into a sale.
If you're thinking about selling to a “we buy houses for cash” company, above all, it pays to compare alternatives.
To understand your options, interview 1-3 local real estate agents. Ask them how they would price your home to sell fast, and how long they've seen similar homes take to sell.
If a realtor understands your goals, they may be able to help you overcome the downsides of a “traditional” on-market sale by setting a lower price and marketing your home specifically to investors or other buyers who won't turn away if your home needs repairs.
With a few pricing estimates from agents in-hand, you can then contact a “we buy houses for cash” company to get an offer and make an informed decision.
How do we buy houses for cash companies work?
In general, “we buy houses for cash” companies are real estate investing businesses that buy properties for a cheap price, fix them up if necessary, and resell them on the open market. Typically, they buy properties as-is, so as a seller, there's no need for you to put in any work.
And because these companies are out for quick profits, the sale can take only a few days, rather than months.
There are three types of companies that buy houses for cash:
- Local Cash Buyers: These can be small companies or even individual real estate investors that pay cash for homes. Often, they'll “fix and flip” a house for resale, although sometimes they might rent out the property instead.
- Investor Networks: Companies such as We Buy Ugly Houses and Express Homebuyers have been around for years. They conduct marketing campaigns on behalf of local franchisees, who buy houses as-is for cash and then flip or redevelop them.
- iBuyers: These are venture capital-backed companies that buy and sell homes on the internet. They use computer algorithms to determine the value of your property and may even purchase it sight unseen.
Although each type of company works a bit differently, the process of selling your home to one is generally the same.
Here's how a typical cash-for-houses transaction works:
- You contact a real estate investing company by phone or via the internet. The company will ask you some questions about your house, its specifications, and its condition.
- A local representative from the company will complete an onsite inspection and then present you with an offer. You may have some room to negotiate this offer, but don't expect the amount of back-and-forth that you'll find with a traditional home sale.
- Once you accept the revised offer, you'll sign a purchase agreement and schedule the sale's closing date. Because the buyer is using cash, there's no need to wait around for a bank to underwrite a mortgage. Plus, many companies handle title and escrow clearance in-house. This usually means a much faster closing timeline.
In a traditional home sale, the seller usually expects to pay the closing costs, which can range from 8-10% of the sale price (including realtor fees). However, many cash-for-houses companies and iBuyers cover the closing costs for you.
The biggest advantage of selling to a “we buy houses for cash” company is the speed in which the deals are finished. Many iBuyers will close on a sale in as soon as 10-14 days. If you use We Buy Ugly Houses, you can expect to wait for a little longer: from two to five weeks.
If your home is distressed or in a bad location, it could sit on the market for months or even years. Using one of these companies could help you get an unwanted property off your hands in a much shorter time frame.
The tradeoff comes with the price you'll receive for your house. Cash buyers and investing companies usually pay well below market value for your home — sometimes by as much as 20-50%. That's to ensure they profit from the purchase of your home, even in the event of an unexpected market downturn.
When is selling your home to a cash buyer a good idea?
There are scenarios in which selling your house to a “we buy houses for cash” or iBuyer company might be a good option:
- If you need to unload a property in a hurry — say, due to a divorce or an urgent move — cash buyers could help you sell faster and with greater certainty.
- It might also be a good choice if you've inherited a property and don't have any interest in working on it or even traveling to visit it. If you don't particularly care about getting top dollar for the house, selling via a cash-for-homes company could be an effortless way to turn an unwanted property into cash.
- If you're facing foreclosure and don't wish to retain the home, selling to a cash buyer might allow you to avoid a devastating hit to your credit without losing 100% of your equity, as in a short sale.
- If your house is in very bad condition, using a “we buy houses for cash” company could help you sell the property without making repairs.
It's important to remember that, if you sell your house to either a cash-for-houses company or an iBuyer, you should not expect to get the fair market value. In fact, in most cases, you'll receive significantly less. That's because the business model of these companies depends on their turning around the properties for a profit.
To determine the amount to pay for a house, “we buy houses for cash” companies often use the chief tenet of house flipping: the 70% rule. This rule states that to make a decent profit, a buyer should pay no more than 70% of a home's after repair value (ARV) — the amount for which they'd like to ultimately sell the house — minus the cost of any repair needed.
Say your house would have a value of $200,000 in pristine condition, but it needs about $20,000 in repairs. You should expect a houses-for-cash company to pay about only $120,000 ($200,000 times 70%, minus $20,000).
If you have the capital to handle those $20,000 in repairs yourself, you could hold out and list your home on the MLS with a licensed real estate agent and make as much as — or more than — the market value of $200,000 (keeping in mind you'll need to pay commissions and closing costs).
Some cash buyers will pay even less than 70% of your home's ARV. It pays to check out all of your options before committing.
That said, when you sell your property to a “we buy houses for cash” company, you won't have to hassle with fixing up a house or negotiating repairs with prospective buyers. It's important to weigh the benefits of selling for cash (speed and convenience) against the equity you'll give up.
The best companies that buy houses for cash in 2020
The home buyers on this list are nationwide real estate investor networks. When you request a cash offer from one of these companies, you will likely be connected to a local affiliate. Your experience may vary, depending on your specific connection.
In addition to the national companies listed below, there are many more cash buyers that only operate locally.
1. We Buy Ugly Houses
We Buy Ugly Houses, originally HomeVestors of America, is a house-buying franchisor with headquarters in Dallas. There are currently more than 1,100 franchisees serving 45 states, and the company counts more than 100,000 bought since its founding in 1996.
How We Buy Ugly Houses works
Once you call the toll-free number or fill out an online form, We Buy Ugly Houses will send out a local franchisee for an inspection. This can happen in as soon as 24 hours.
The representative will inspect the condition of the property and use property valuation models to make you a cash offer. We Buy Ugly Houses claims that the original cash offer is always firm, so you don't have to worry about it changing during the transaction. Once you've agreed to a deal, you'll schedule a closing date, which is typically three to four weeks out.
We Buy Ugly Houses pros
- We Buy Ugly Houses covers normal closing costs for sellers, which are usually between 1-3% of the home's sale price.
- True to its name, We Buy Ugly Houses will purchase a property even if it's in poor condition.
- A We Buy Ugly Houses representative will likely make you an offer during the inspection, so there's no waiting around.
We Buy Ugly Houses cons
- We Buy Ugly Houses will likely make you a lowball offer — maybe even as much as 30-50% below your home's fair market value.
- You might have to wait a month for your closing date, which means your sale could take longer than if you had sold your property on the MLS.
2. Fast Home Offer
Fast Home Offer is based in Texas but buys properties in Canada, Australia, and Mexico, as well as the U.S. Like most of the “we buy houses for cash” companies on this list, it's a network of local real estate investors.
How Fast Home Offer works
Once you've filled out a quick online questionnaire, a local investor will contact you to gather additional information. The investor may be able to make an initial offer to you over the phone, or they will schedule a property viewing.
Once you have an offer, there's no obligation to sign. You can shop around for a better deal, if you like. However, once you have agreed to a term, Fast Home Offer might schedule a closing date within 7-14 days.
Fast Home Offer pros
- Fast Home Offer could schedule a closing date within 7-14 days of your offer.
- Depending on your home's location and condition, you might receive an initial offer over the phone.
- Fast Home Offer will buy houses in all conditions.
- Fast Home Offer buys commercial properties and raw land, as well as all kinds of homes.
Fast Home Offer cons
- As with all “we buy houses for cash” companies, your offer will be significantly less than what you might be able to realize on the open market.
WeBuyHouses.com is a nationwide network of real estate investors founded in 1997. Its headquarters are located in Dallas.
How WeBuyHouses.com works
If you're interested in selling your home for cash, you can fill out a quick form on the company's website or call a toll-free number. A local representative will collect some more information about your property and start building an offer.
Within 24-48 hours, that representative will visit your property and may make you an on-the-spot offer. You're under no obligation to accept the offer, and you can think about it for up to 30 days. Depending on your circumstances, WeBuyHouses.com might be able to schedule a closing date in as few as 7 days.
- WeBuyHouses.com representatives can make a cash offer in as little as 24-48 hours of your first contacting the company.
- Your offer is guaranteed for 30 days. That means you'll have a month to shop around for a better deal.
- The company reports that most home deals are closed in 7-14 days of the offer.
- Although WeBuyHouses.com claims to make competitive cash offers, it will likely be well below your fair market value. Keep in mind that 70% of your home's value is the most you can expect from a “we buy houses for cash” company.
4. Express Homebuyers
Headquartered in Springfield, Virginia, Express Homebuyers is a network of real estate investors who buy houses in 27 states, plus the District of Columbia. The company was founded in 2003.
How Express Homebuyers works
Fill out the brief questionnaire on the Express Homebuyers website, and a “Home Buying Specialist” will contact you within a few minutes. They'll be able to give you a valuation range for your property right there and then.
A company representative will then visit your home for an inspection and make a final offer. If your title is clear and there are no complications, you might be able to close the sale in as few as 7 days. In fact, the company reports that it has finalized a sale in only 24 hours.
Express Homebuyers pros
- You'll receive a valuation range within a few minutes. This can help you decide if you'd like to continue with the Express Homebuyers process.
- Most offers are good for 30 days, so you can take time to consider the deal and shop around for a better price.
- Express Homebuyers can set a closing date in as few as 7 days of your offer.
Express Homebuyers cons
- Unlike some of the other companies on this list, Express Homebuyers might not purchase your home if it is in poor condition.
- It's likely the cash offer you'll receive from Express Homebuyers will be well below your home's fair market value.
You'll notice that the “we buy houses for cash” companies listed above were founded in the 1990s or early 2000s. In more recent years, an updated version of the concept, the iBuyer, has burst onto the scene.
Instead of sending out representatives with local market expertise, iBuyers use advanced computer algorithms that analyze home sale data to value homes in a way that generates profit. The name of the game is volume — iBuyers buy large quantities of homes and resell them. That means they can offer somewhat higher prices for homes. You might even receive as much as 98% of your home's fair market value.
How do iBuyers work?
To initiate an iBuyer sale, visit the website of the company you'd like to use and submit basic information about your home. You'll receive an initial offer. The company will then send a representative to your home for an inspection and submit a revised offer.
iBuyers might not accept homes in all conditions. In fact, they're not necessarily a good option for you if you want to sell your home as-is and hassle-free. iBuyers also take more time to reach closing. You may have to wait as many as 30 days.
What's the deal With iBuyer fees?
iBuyers such as Opendoor, OfferPad, and Zillow Offers pay more for houses than traditional “we buy houses for cash” companies — as much as 98%. But they make up for their narrow profit margins by charging service fees of 6-15%. How much you'll be charged depends on the property's condition and location. The service fee is to offset the costs the company assumes during the time it owns the house before reselling it (taxes, utilities, HOA fees, etc.).
Opendoor is an iBuyer founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco. The company reports that it has served more than 75,000 customers in 21 U.S. markets.
How Opendoor works
If you want to use Opendoor to sell your home, you can start by visiting its website and completing an online request form to receive your offer. According to the company, it can provide sellers with an initial cash offer within 24 hours of completing the application. Opendoor also reports that the closing can occur within 10-60 days.
Opendoor will buy homes as-is, but the cost of any repair work needed will be deducted from the initial offer. Or you can choose to make the repairs yourself. There's also an average service charge of 7.1% due at closing. However, this can be as high as 14% in some areas.
Opendoor will purchase houses only if they're valued between $100k and $500k, depending on the market. It won't consider houses that are located on more than a half-acre. Opendoor also won't accept houses located in a flood zone, with leased solar panels, or built before 1960.
- Opendoor will make you an initial offer within 24 hours of filling out the online form.
- Although Opendoor's representative will present you with a list of requested repairs, you don't need to make them yourself. If you'd prefer to avoid the hassle, Opendoor will complete them and charge you for them.
- You can choose your own closing date when you've accepted an Opendoor offer. There's no need to negotiate with a real estate agent.
- Opendoor charges a service fee between 6-14%. In addition, you'll have to pay typical seller closing costs, which are usually between 1-3%.
- Opendoor is currently not available in all markets in the U.S.
- Opendoor has strict criteria about the houses it buys. For example, houses must be valued between $100k-$500k and be on a lot under a half-acre in size.
Based in Arizona, Offerpad was founded in 2015 and currently buys and sells homes in 830 cities across the U.S.
How Offerpad works
Offerpad has a similar iBuyer business model to Opendoor. Like the other company, it prefers homes that are in good condition with minimal repairs needed.
You can visit Offerpad's website and provide the company with some basic details about your property. Although not necessary, you're encouraged to supply pictures, as well.
Offerpad's algorithms will evaluate your home's market value and typically present you with a cash offer in about 24 hours. Like Opendoor, Offerpad charges a service fee — between 7-10%, depending on the location of your home.
- When you use Offerpad, you'll likely receive an offer within 24 hours, and you can choose your own closing and move-out date. Closing could occur in as soon as 10 days.
- Offerpad partners with local moving companies to provide you with free moving services within a 50-mile radius.
- Offerpad's offer may be as much as 10-20% below your home's market value.
- Offerpad isn't available in all U.S. markets.
- It's not cheap to use Offerpad. Sellers will be charged a service fee of 6-10% and be responsible for closing costs and repair credits.
- Offerpad may make you an initial offer within 24 hours, but your final price will likely be lower. The company will send out an inspector who will determine a new offer based on needed repairs.
- Offerpad is restrictive about what homes it will purchase. Homes must be on a lot of one acre or less, have been built after 1960, and be worth $100k-$500k.
3. Zillow Offers
Zillow is the most extensive real estate platform in the U.S. It provides users with real-time data on property prices, as well as its infamous “Zestimate” valuation tool.
The company's new Zillow Offers iBuyer program gives homeowners the option to sell their homes quickly for cash.
How Zillow Offers works
You can request a free offer on the Zillow website. You'll be assigned a Zillow Offers Advisor who will be your point of contact throughout the transaction.
Zillow will make you a preliminary offer within 2 business days. You'll have 3 more business days to accept it. However, then Zillow will conduct an on-site inspection, after which your price will likely come down further. You'll be able to set your own closing date.
Zillow Offers pros
- Zillow Offers reportedly pays very close to your home's fair market value.
- You can choose to schedule your closing date in as little as 7 days from when you sign your sale contract. This makes Zillow Offers one of the quickest iBuyers.
- Zillow Offers will give you a near-instant, non-binding initial offer when you first enter your property's info. This can give you a good idea if you'd rather continue with the service.
Zillow Offers cons
- When you use Zillow Offers, you'll have to pay a service fee (typically 6-9%), as well as seller's closing costs.
- It's likely Zillow Offers will deduct money from your initial offer following your inspection.
- Zillow Offers is available only in select markets.
RedfinNow is Redfin's iBuyer service for people who want to sell their homes for cash. Similar to other iBuyers, RedfinNow offers sellers the opportunity to receive a cash offer for their home by completing an online form with basic details of the property.
How RedfinNow works
Once you've received an initial offer from RedfinNow, you can choose to have a local representative visit your home for an evaluation. The iBuyer will give you the option to make necessary repairs yourself or to direct Redfin to do them instead — the cost of which will be deducted from your final sale price.
With RedfinNow, you can close within 7-60 days after agreeing on terms.
- Instead of allowing Redfin to deduct money from your sale price for repairs, you can choose to complete them yourself and potentially save money.
- RedfinNow lets you select your own closing date. You can finalize the deal in as soon as 7 days, so the unwanted property is off your hands in just a week. Or you can choose to schedule the closing out as many as 60 days if you're waiting on your home purchase to close.
- RedfinNow charges a service fee of 7%. That's higher than the 6% you can expect to pay agents in a traditional home sale.
- Redfin's charges for required repairs are non-negotiable.
- RedfinNow is not available in all U.S. markets.
Knock is an innovative real estate platform that helps homeowners “trade-in” their home while assisting them in buying a new one.
How Knock works
The first step in the Knock process is to complete an offer request form on the company's website. The online valuation service will let you know how much you can expect Knock to pay for your current house.
If you're pleased with your initial offer, Knock will then pair you with a local expert who will help you find and finance your new home. Once you find the house you wish to purchase, Knock will buy it on your behalf, in cash, after a satisfactory home inspection.
While your old home is waiting to sell, you'll continue to pay your mortgage. When someone closes on your old property, Knock will settle any costs covered on your new home. It will then transfer your new house into your name.
- Knock's trade-in business model helps you move into your new home before you worry about selling your old home.
- With Knock, you don't have to worry about paying for more than one mortgage at a time.
- Knock won't allow you to negotiate fees, repair charges, closing costs, etc. You'll also be responsible for paying for inspections, appraisals, and other sale-related costs.
- Knock operates only in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Durham, N.C.; Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas; and Phoenix. So the house you want to sell and the house you want to buy must both be located in those markets.
- The combined value of your old and new home must be at least $350,000-$400,000.
Orchard — formerly called Perch — is a real estate platform that enables homeowners to buy their new home before selling their current one. The company provides sellers with a guaranteed sale price on their existing home to ensure they're confident about exactly how much they can afford.
How Orchard works
Once you've completed an online quote request on the Orchard website, the company will provide you with a cursory estimate of your home's value based on basic information. You can then schedule a complimentary home inspection. Depending on that visit's outcome, Orchard will present you with a final guaranteed sale price.
Once you've accepted an Orchard offer, the company will connect you with a representative in the market where you'd like to buy a new home. Once the offer on your new home is accepted, Orchard will list your current home and give you the net proceeds upon its sale.
- If your old home doesn't sell within 90 days on the market, Orchard will let you keep your guaranteed sale proceeds.
- To be eligible for the trade-in program, the home you want to sell must have been built between 1978 and 2014 and have a valuation of between $125,000 and $400,000.
- Orchard offers are limited to San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Denver, and Atlanta.
If you'd like to find a “we buy houses for cash” company in your local market, we've put together comprehensive guides to assist you. Select your location from the listings below:
"We buy houses for cash” companies can be a good choice for homeowners who need to sell their properties in a matter of weeks. And iBuyers can be ideal if you have a property in great condition.
However, if you have more time, you'd be better off connecting with a highly rated local realtor and pricing your home aggressively.
Clever co-founder Ben Mizes said, "I would recommend you speak with a great agent and explain your needs. If you really need to sell fast, you can price your house a bit under market value and mention you're looking for cash offers in the listing. That will increase your chances of getting a fair offer. At the same time, you can get quotes from we buy houses companies to make sure you have a backup plan!”
Connecting with a top realtor in your area and letting them know that you need to sell your home quickly will likely let you keep more of your home's equity. An experienced realtor will know how to price your home to get as much for it as possible while ensuring you can close in your given time frame.