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How to Sell Your House Fast (A Comprehensive Guide)

The two best options for selling a house fast are listing with a top agent and selling to a cash buyer or iBuyer — but both offer unique benefits and drawbacks that you'll want to consider before deciding. Read on for an in-depth overview of each approach, pros and cons, and tips on how to get the most value out of a fast sale.

The two best options for selling a house fast are listing with a top agent and selling to a cash buyer or iBuyer — but both offer unique benefits and drawbacks that you'll want to consider before deciding. Read on for an in-depth overview of each approach, pros and cons, and tips on how to get the most value out of a fast sale.

Updated November 19, 2019

Situations often arise that require people to sell their homes quickly: moving for a new job, avoiding foreclosure, debt-related issues, divorce, property inheritance, and more.

When speed is your top priority, the three best options are:

  1. Selling to a cash buyer (e.g., We Buy Ugly Houses, property flippers, etc.)
  2. Selling to an iBuyer (e.g., Opendoor, Zillow Offers, etc.)
  3. Listing with a top-rated, local real estate agent

Importantly, each of these choices comes with a unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

Traditional cash buyers like We Buy Ugly Houses buy homes in any condition and offer speedy closing timelines (typically 2-4 weeks). However, you'll likely take a hit on price. Expect offers anywhere from 10-50% below your home's fair market value. 

Tech-forward iBuyers like Opendoor offer unparalleled speed and convenience — many will make an offer on qualifying homes within 24 hours and you can typically close within 10-14 days. That said, most will only buy specific types of homes in a handful of major U.S. cities. You'll also be on the hook for a service fee, typically between 6-15%. 

Listing with a realtor won’t get you an “instant” cash offer; however, the best real estate agents will leverage aggressive pricing and marketing tactics to help you sell quickly and for a respectable price — often at or above market value. As a seller, you'll be on the hook for a commission fee, which is typically 5-6% of the home's sale price. 

> Learn how to save up to 50% on realtor commission WITHOUT sacrificing service!

In this post, we’ll provide an in-depth assessment and comparison of each approach, overviews of top cash buyer companies, tips on how to sell a house quickly for a good price, and actionable next steps for prepping your home for a fast sale.

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What’s the Fastest Way to Sell a House?

Comparison chart of options for selling a home fast

* Selling a house on the open market is the only option that offers the chance to get above fair market value for your home.

As of 2019, selling a house in the United States takes an average of 68 days— approximately 35 days to get an offer, then another 35 to 45 days to close (sometimes longer, depending on the buyer’s financing method).

By the numbers, an iBuyer is the fastest way to sell a house. Many companies will make a cash offer within three days or less and offer flexible closing dates — some in as few as seven or eight days after you accept their final offer.

Of course, the tradeoff for this speed and convenience usually comes in the form of high fees, a lower offer price, or both (we’ll cover this in-depth in the next section).

Selling with a top real estate agent offers the best overall value. Experienced, full-service agents will price your home aggressively and leverage their local networks and resources to find buyers quickly and bring in the best possible offer given the circumstances — often more than market value.

Sellers who list with agents in the top 5% of their local markets get offers in an average of 13 days — nearly 2.8x faster than the national average. What’s more, these sellers typically get market value or better for their homes, compared to the 20-50% hit homeowners typically take when selling to traditional cash buyers.

Home auctions are another popular option for sellers who need to move quickly; however, while this approach does offer some advantages, speed and price aren’t necessarily among them.

According to the experts, auction sales can take anywhere between 45 to 60 days from listing to close and typically bring in offers 10-15% below market value— or lower, if the house doesn’t get any bids

If you need to sell your house fast and are thinking about attempting to go it alone, think again. Not only do FSBO sellers get lower offers than those who work with agents — they’re also notorious for taking a long time or falling through altogether.

Back in 2011, the owner of ForSaleByOwner.com infamously had to hire a real estate agent after failing to sell his NYC loft himself. His luxury Chelsea apartment sat on the market for six months without selling before he turned to a professional for help.

The key takeaway? 36% of U.S. sellers attempt FSBO sales each year, but only 11% are successful (note: more than two-thirdsof successful FSBO sellers know the buyers) — the rest end up listing with an agent instead.

What’s the best time of year to sell a house fast?

Best month to sell a house in 2019

Best Month to Sell for Speed
June
35 days to offer
9 days faster than the annual average
Best Month to Sell for Price
June
$311,000
4.8% higher than the annual average

As of November 2019, if you’re listing on the open market, the best month to sell a house in terms of speed is June — the median time on market for June listings is 35 days, which is 9 days faster than the annual average. 

Keep in mind this means 35 days to get an offer — this doesn't account for closing timelines. If you're selling to a buyer with traditional financing, typical closing timelines are between 30-40 days. That means you're looking at a sale timeline of approximately 65-75 days in total. 

Happily enough, the best month to list a house in terms of selling price is also June — seller’s who list in June typically net approximately 4.8% more than the annual median figure, nationwide.

Selling to We Buy Ugly Houses, Cash Buyers, or iBuyers

So who are these cash buyers, anyway?

Put simply, cash buyers are individual investors or companies that will make an instant — or near-instant — cash offer on your home, often sight unseen, based on a proprietary real estate valuation model.

iBuyers (short for “instant buyers”) are essentially the 21st-century update of traditional cash buyers — i.e., high-tech, venture-backed companies that leverage advanced data analytics and marketing tactics to operate on a much larger scale.

Though they come in many different shapes and sizes, most cash buyers (with the exception of buy-and-hold investors and some iBuyers) are operating on the same basic business model: buy homes and resell them for a profit.

House Flippers

House flippers offer two primary benefits: speed and convenience. Many — particularly the larger operations like We Buy Ugly Houses — will make an all-cash offer in a matter of days. Most will also purchase your home “as is,” regardless of its condition, size, location, or age.

Of course, as you may have already guessed, there’s usually a catch: all that speed and convenience can come at a steep price. Most cash buyers pay well-below fair market value for the homes they purchase — sometimes by as much as 30-50%. Remember, their goal is to turn around and resell for a profit, so they have to maintain a decent margin on your home (especially if it requires repairs or renovations).

Pros

  • You’ll receive a quick cash offer, often on the same day as the on-site appraisal
  • Will purchase your home “as is,” even if it needs major repairs
  • You avoid contingencies, buyer financing issues, realtor fees, etc.
  • Is an option for sellers nationwide

Cons

  • Offers are typically low — up to 50% below a property’s fair market value
  • Can take up to a month or more to close, which isn’t much faster than selling with an agent
  • Not much room for negotiation — offer is typically take it or leave it
Editor's Take
If you’re absolutely desperate to sell, an established, reputable house flipper is worth considering. However, if you’d like to avoid leaving a bundle of cash on the table (and your timeline is somewhat flexible), you may want to explore a few other options before pulling the trigger, including selling with a realtor. The best realtors can get you offers close to your home’s fair market value (or higher) in a matter of days — sometimes even hours.

Buy-and-Hold Investors

Buy-and-hold investors are individuals and/or companies that purchase properties for cash, then rent them out to generate passive income. The largest buy-and-hold investors, like Invitation Homes, do this on a huge scale, purchasing hundreds — even thousands — of properties per year.

These investors are primarily looking for properties that are more or less ready to rent. In other words, they’ll likely be looking for relatively recent recent homes in good condition — not major fixer uppers.

The good news is that because buy-and-holders are playing the long game, they’ll likely be willing to pay fair market value (or close to it) for ideal properties in desirable areas. That said, they’ve got a bottom line to look out for, so expect them to drive a hard bargain.

Pros

  • Fast timelines — you may be able to close in as few as two to four weeks
  • Will likely pay closer to fair market value than other cash buyers
  • You don’t have to deal with buyer financing issues, listing expenses, etc.
  • Widespread availability — these companies exist all over the country

Cons

  • Will be less willing to purchase properties in poor condition or low-demand areas
  • You’ll likely still take a hit on price compared to listing on the open market
  • Not much room for negotiation — offer is typically take it or leave it
  • Can take up to a month or more to close, which isn’t much faster than selling with an agent
Editor's Take
If you need to sell quickly — or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of the traditional listing process — a credible buy-and-hold investor will probably get you a better price than a house flipper like We Buy Ugly Houses. That said, this may not be a viable option for those selling distressed properties, or houses in areas with low demand for rentals.

iBuyers

The biggest (and newest) players in the cash buying marketplace are the iBuyers. These companies use algorithmic valuation modeling and massive amounts of venture capital to buy homes on a vast scale — and incredibly quickly. Out of all the cash buyers, iBuyers offer the speediest sale timelines. Most of these companies make preliminary offers within 24-48 hours. Closing typically takes between 10 and 30 days, though many offer extended timelines for up to 60+ days to those who need it.

Of course, there are a few downsides worth mentioning: iBuyers charge service fees ranging from 6-15% (averages are typically in the 7-10% range) and have strict criteria for the types of homes they buy (for example, post-1960s construction, lots must be less than half an acre, price range between $200-500k, etc.). Moreover, because these services are relatively new, most companies are only active in a handful of major cities across the U.S.

Pros

  • Unparalleled speed and convenience (some iBuyers allow you to close in as few as 10 days)
  • Some (though not all) pay fair market value for the homes they buy — regardless, you'll likely get a better price than selling to a flipper
  • No hidden costs — iBuyers typically lay out all of the costs and fees up front
  • You don’t have to deal with contingencies, negotiations, buyer financing issues, etc.

Cons

  • You’ll pay a service fee between 6-15%
  • Some iBuyers will pay slightly below market value for the homes they buy — though in these cases, we're typically talking between 1-3%
  • Not much room for negotiation — it’s usually take it or leave it
  • Limited market coverage and strict criteria for the types of homes they buy
Editor's Take
If your number-one priority is speed, iBuyers are the fastest option by far. If you qualify, there’s no harm in requesting an offer, as doing so free and comes with no obligation. Once you know you qualify, try your hand listing on the open market. If your house doesn’t sell in your required timeline, simply request a fresh offer (they’ll typically expire within a week or so) and pull the trigger.

Top 5 iBuyers and Cash Buyers in 2019: Reviews, Pros & Cons

Below we’ve outlined some key details about five of the most popular iBuyer companies in 2019. Get a general overview of each service, pros and cons, and information on customer ratings and reviews.

Opendoor

Opendoor makes cash offers for eligible homes within 1-2 business days. If the seller accepts the offer, Opendoor sends a representative for an on-site inspection. Pending that inspection, Opendoor may require repairs or improvements, which are deducted from the seller’s profits. After accepting the offer and contingencies of the on-site inspection, sellers may be able to close in as few as 14 days. With an average service fee of 6.4%, Opendoor's service is arguably the most affordable of any iBuyer.

> Learn more about Opendoor here.

Pros

  • Get a cash offer within 1-2 business days if your home is eligible
  • Closing can be fast and flexible — 14 to 60 days, depending on your needs
  • The fees are high (see below), but there are few surprises — Opendoor lays out the costs up front (with the exception of repair fees, if applicable)

Cons

  • Limited coverage — Opendoor is currently only available in 20 U.S. cities
  • Service fee: average is 6.4% — thought it can be up to 15%
  • Opendoor may require home repairs, which are paid for by the seller
  • Sellers still pay closing costs — transfer fees, taxes, etc. — an additional 1-3% of the final sale price
Reviews
As of November 19, 2019, Opendoor has a 4.31-out-of-5-star rating on Reviews.io (560 reviews), and a 3.8-out-of-5-star rating on Highya.com (216 reviews).

Visit Opendoor’s Better Business Bureau profile here.

Offerpad

Offerpad makes cash offers for eligible homes (with photos) within 24 hours. Once an initial offer is accepted, Offerpad sends a representative for an on-site inspection. Offerpad may require repairs or improvements, which are paid for by the seller. You can hire a contractor yourself pre-sale, or Offerpad will handle after closing and deduct the cost from the final sale price. After the inspection, closing speed will depend on the specific market and property, but can be as fast as 8 to 15 days.

> Learn more about Offerpad here.

Pros

  • Get a cash offer in 24 hours if your home is eligible
  • Some sellers will be able to close in as little as 8 days — most transactions close within 30

Cons

  • Limited coverage — Offerpad is currently only available in 12 U.S. cities
  • Service fee: average is 7%, but ranges from 6-10%
  • Offerpad may require pricey repairs, which comes out of the sellers pocket
  • You’ll still pay typical closing costs and transfer fees — an additional 1-3%
Reviews
Offerpad reviews on third-party sites are limited. As of November 19, 2019, Offerpad’s own website boasts a 94% customer satisfaction rating based on "the last 30 days of [its] survey data."

Visit Offerpad’s Better Business Bureau profile here.

We Buy Ugly Houses

We Buy Ugly Houses, a subsidiary of HomeVestors of America, Inc., doesn’t buy your house itself — it’s a franchise. That means the company acts as an intermediary between sellers and franchisees (i.e., investors) who make cash offers for properties. In a nutshell, you submit a request for an offer and HomeVestors will connect you with a local cash buyer, who will come inspect your home, then make an offer. Sale timelines will vary on a case by case basis, but according to the HomeVestors website, most sales take less than 30 days.

> Learn more about We Buy Ugly Houses here.

Pros

  • HomeVestors is large — 1,100 franchisees across 45 states
  • Buy homes “as is” — sellers don’t have to deal with repairs (note: this will impact offer price)
  • HomeVestors says it covers typical seller closing costs
  • No fee or obligation to sell, some negotiation may be possible

Cons

  • Slower than iBuyers: you won’t get an offer until after the on-site assessment
  • Expect a lowball offer — often 30 to 50% below market value
  • Longer total timeline than typical iBuyer sales — likely 3 to 4 weeks+
Reviews
Because We Buy Ugly Houses/HomeVestors is a franchise, you’ll need to look up reviews for franchisees in your local market.

Visit HomeVestors' Better Business Bureau profile here.

Zillow Offers

Zillow Offers will make cash offers for eligible homes within two business days. Once the seller accepts the initial offer, Zillow Offers sends an “evaluator” to do an on-site inspection to confirm the offer value and assess any necessary repairs or contingencies. Required repairs, along with Zillow Offers’ service fee (up to 9% of home value) will be deducted from the cash offer. Once the offer has been finalized and accepted, sellers can close in as few as 7 or as many as 90 days, depending on their needs.

> Learn more about Zillow Offers here.

Pros

  • Get a cash offer in two business days if your home is eligible
  • Closing timelines are flexible — between 7 and 90 days

Cons

  • Limited availability — Zillow Offers is currently only available in 11 U.S. cities
  • High service fee: expect to pay between 6% and 9%, which is deducted from your offer
  • You’ll be on the hook for required repairs and improvements — these costs can be substantial and are generally non-negotiable
  • You’ll still pay closing costs and transfer fees — an additional 1-3%
Reviews
Zillow Offers is still a relatively new service. As of November 19, 2019, no credible third-party sites have aggregated Zillow Offers customer reviews data. Zillow Offers has compiled approximately 20 customer reviews on its own site, all of which are positive. In other words, it's more accurate to call these curated testimonials than reviews. We will add objective, third-party reviews links and data as soon as it becomes available.

RedfinNow

RedfinNow has a two-step offer process: upon filling out some basic information and inputting their home’s address, sellers will receive an instant “offer range” — this range is then refined to a specific price following a 30-minute on-site inspection. Sellers will be on the hook for RedfinNow’s 7% service fee, plus any repairs deemed necessary during the inspection (0-2%) and typical costs associated with closing (1-3%). If the seller accepts RedfinNow’s offer, closing can be scheduled within a 7-to-60-day window.

> Learn more about RedfinNow here.

Pros

Cons

  • Limited coverage — RedfinNow is currently available in 10 U.S. cities
  • High service fee: expect to pay 7%
  • You’ll have to pay for repairs assessed during the inspection — up to 2%
  • You’ll cover any additional closing costs — typically 1-3%
Reviews
RedfinNow is a relatively new program — as of November 19, 2019, we were unable to locate any verified customer reviews on third-party review sites. We will update this post with information and links as they become available.

Perch

Perch offers two primary services: a sell-only cash offer program, or a buy-and-sell program. If you're just interested in selling, Perch will buy qualifying homes for a 6.9% service fee, operating much like a typical iBuyer, offering many of the same services and stipulations. For buy-and-sell customers, Perch reduces its service fee to 6%, offering sellers hard cash to purchase their next home contingency-free, while Perch re-lists and sells the property. To sweeten the deal, if Perch sells your old home for more than it paid you for it, the company will pay you the difference. 

> Learn more about Perch here.

Pros

  • Lower fees than some other iBuyers for buy-and-sell customers
  • Buy-and-sell option allows you to purchase next home contingency free
  • You get the upside if your home sells for more than Perch paid for it
  • Flexible closing timelines, ranging from 14-60 days

Cons

  • Limited availability — as of this writing, only an option for sellers in Austin, TX; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; San Antonio, TX; Denver, CO
  • Like others in the space, Perch has strict criteria for the types of homes it will buy
  • No room for negotiation on offer price
  • You’ll have to pay for repairs assessed during the inspection — though it's worth mentioning unlike some other iBuyers, Perch uses third-party home inspectors
  • Seller is responsible for typical closing costs — usually between 1-3%
Reviews
As of November 19, 2019, Perch has a 4.4-out-of-5-star rating on Trustpilot (26 reviews) and a 4.9-out-of-5-star rating on its own website (75 reviews).

Visit Perch's Better Business Bureau Profile here.

Knock

Importantly, Knock is not actually a cash buyer or iBuyer. Knock offers an end-to-end home trade-in service, however, as the company explains, it never actually buys your home. Instead, Knock pays for your new home in cash (which gives you a significant advantage when house hunting), then, once you've already moved, it turns around and sells your old home on your behalf. Once your old home is sold, Knock will settle up with you for any costs incurred throughout the process (e.g., taxes, insurance, financing expenses, HOA fees, listing and marketing expenses, etc.) Knock customers pay a 6% commission fee (plus any of the aforementioned costs) — equivalent to the standard realtor commission rate when listing on the open market.

> Learn more about Knock here.

Pros

  • Avoid carrying two mortgages at once
  • Knock buys your next home for cash, which could give you an advantage over other home buyers and help you negotiate a better for yourself
  • Knock covers up to $10,000 for repairs and listing prep on your old home to help ensure it sells

Cons

  • Not much room for negotiation on home valuations
  • Limited service areas: As of this writing, Knock is only available in 7 U.S. markets — Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Phoenix — though it plans to expand to 10 markets by the end of 2020
Reviews
As of November 19, 2019, Knock has a 4.8-out-of-5 star rating on Zillow (559 reviews), and 5-out-of-5-star rating on Trulia (558 reviews).

Visit Knock's Better Business Bureau Profile.

Selling Your House Fast With a Realtor

While traditional real estate agents can’t always match iBuyers and cash buyers on speed, top agents can typically get fair value (or better) offers in a matter of days, if not faster.

Top agents are able to accomplish this feat through aggressive pricing and marketing tactics.

A speed-centric pricing strategy is all about gauging the level of demand for real estate in a given market.

Home Pricing Curve

A competitively priced property attracts more buyers, which means more competition, higher offers, and a faster sale timeline.

How to price a home competitively graphic

The best agents have the requisite expertise and resources to assess a property’s appeal (attractive features vs physical condition vs local market conditions) and set a price that will garner the best possible offer, given the seller’s required timeline.

Obviously, the lower the listing price, the more attention the property’s going to get. The key for an optimal outcome in a fast sale is striking a balance that attracts enough attention to get an offer quickly while allowing the seller to hold onto as much of their equity as possible.

How list price influences the level of buyer interest

How list price influences the level of buyer interest in a property graphic

When you’re in a hot market, a competitive price — relative to the condition and type of property you’re selling — can fetch you a qualified offer in a matter of hours.

The real roadblock in an agent-assisted sale is the closing process, which is often dependent on the buyer’s lender and/or financing situation.

For example, many first-time home buyer programs — in particular, those offering down payment assistance — will take up to 45 days to close, as they require approval from two different underwriting processes.

In contrast, buyers with mortgage pre-approval, excellent credit scores, and the ability to make 20% down payments will likely close a whole lot faster.

When an agent prices your home competitively, the goal will be to bring in multiple offers. If speed is your primary goal, your agent can help you assess which prospective buyer is a) most qualified and b) most likely able to close within the desired timeframe.

3 Ways to Find a Top Agent Who Can Sell Your House Fast

The truth is that if you need to sell quickly, any old real estate agent isn’t going to do the trick — you need a specialist.

Here are three (free!) ways to find agents who can sell your property fast for a good price:

1. The Traditional Approach

Ask around! Get in touch with family, friends, coworkers, etc. who recently sold properties in your area and ask about their experience with their agent. Email or call agents who seem like they might be well-suited to help you sell fast and ask for their sales stats and customer reviews.

This is also an opportunity to ask some upfront questions about their experience in your area, listing properties like yours, and selling homes quickly. The best agents will be honest about whether they think they’re a good match for your specific needs and, if not, will recommend someone else in the area.

2. The DIY Approach

Look up recently sold properties, similar to your own, on Zillow (you’ll need to navigate to the “Home Buying” section of the site for this data). Click on a listing, scroll down, and click on “Price/Tax History.”

Assuming the data is up-to-date, you can view listing and sale price information, including the dates of both (and any price cuts along the way), and oftentimes the listing agent who handled the sale. While this is, admittedly, a pretty onerous way to go about tracking down an agent, it can be a useful starting point or supplemental tactic to help speed up the process.

3. The Easy Approach

By far, the easiest and fastest way to connect with a top local agent who can sell your house fast is to work with a trusted agent referral network, like Clever.

Clever partners with thousands of full-service agents across the country who specialize in selling homes quickly for a fair market price. There’s no fee for the referral or obligation to sign. Interview multiple agents and choose the one you feel is best-suited to your specific needs and situation.

> Interview top agents near you.

5 Steps to Selling a House Quickly for a Good Price

1. Find a top agent

Selling a home is a difficult thing to do. Selling fast is even harder. Getting a good price to boot? That’s harder still. There’s a reason 91% of home sellers list with a realtor — they have the resources and local market expertise to ensure you get the best possible outcome on you sale, regardless of your situation or needs.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median final sales price for sellers who list with an agent is 99% of the final listing price. Agents will evaluate your property, assess current market demand, then set an aggressive price, market your home, and leverage their professional network to bring in more offers, more quickly.

2. Make impactful repairs or improvements

When it comes to selling a house, first impressions matter. If time and budget allows, making a few strategic repairs and improvements can go a very long way in helping you attract offers quickly.

Here are a few low-cost, high-impact repairs that can help speed up your time to offer and bring in a higher price:

  • Repaint your home’s interior (and exterior, if possible)
  • Replace your carpets (or pay to have them professionally cleaned)
  • Get a landscaper to clean up the yard (or do it yourself)
  • If your budget allows, replace outdated appliances (e.g., dishwasher, fridge, washer/dryer, etc.)
  • Hire a handyman to make small repairs to visibly damaged parts of your home (cabinet doors, doorknobs, window frames, broken floorboards, cracked trim or baseboard, etc.)

> Learn more about smart pre-listing renovations and repairs here.

3. Clean and declutter

If you need to get an offer fast, it’s vital that you clean and declutter. Buyers are looking visualize themselves living in your home — that’ll be difficult to do if there’s rotten food on the counter and mountains of clothes spilling out drawers and closets. If possible, try to remove up to 75% of the items in your home before listing to give it a fresh and clean look.

On a related note, properly staging a home can make a huge impact on offer speed and price. Oftentimes, working with a professional home stager — particularly if your home is vacant — can be well-worth the investment. In fact, 95% of staged homes sell within 11 days, and for 17% more than non-staged homes.

> Learn more about how to prepare a house for sale.

4. Set a competitive listing price

Listing price is one of the most important factors in quick sale. The fact is that if you want to attract offers quickly, you’ll have to price your home a bit lower than you might like. That said, if you price too low, you’re going to lose a huge chunk of your equity on the sale. In that case, it arguably makes more sense to go with an iBuyer and avoid the hassle that comes with a traditional real estate transaction.

When it comes to pricing strategy, your agent is your secret weapon. Top agents have their fingers on the pulse in terms of supply and demand in your local market. They’ll know exactly how to price your property to attract offers right out the gate while ensuring you hold onto as much of your hard-earned equity as possible.

> Learn more about pricing strategy.

5. Be flexible (open houses, showings, etc.)

Selling a house with a top agent is by far your best bet for walking away on a quick sale without taking a major loss on the transaction. That said, if you’re serious about selling fast, you’ll need to be flexible and willing to live by some new — sometimes inconvenient — rules.

If you’re still living in the property, you’ll need to keep it as clean and decluttered as possible at all times. You should also be ready to take off for a few hours at a moment’s notice, in the event of an impromptu showing. Whether you’ve already moved your not, you’ll need to be available to your agent at all times so you can jump on a great offer the moment it comes through the door; etc.

While it can be a serious pain, remember that the inconvenience is temporary — if all goes according to plan, it’ll be over in a matter of days.

> Learn more about showings and open houses.

Key Takeaways: Selling Fast with Agents vs Cash Buyers

At the end of the day, each approach offers its own advantages and disadvantages.

If your primary concern is speed and convenience, an iBuyer is probably the best choice for you. That said, it’s still early days for iBuyers and as of July 2019, coverage remains limited. Most only operate in a handful of large U.S. markets, so you’ll need to do some research and find out if any iBuyers are active in your area.

Unless your property has zero chance of selling on the open market, a traditional cash buyer probably isn’t the way to go. You’re going to sacrifice a ton of your equity and with an average closing time frame of 30 to 40 days, the speed-related benefits compared to working with a top agent are negligible.

When it comes to selling fast, a top-rated, local agent offers the best all-around value. They’ll assess your property and current local housing market conditions, then tailor a pricing and marketing strategy to your specific needs and/or timeline.

Of course, while selling with a traditional real estate agent over a traditional cash will likely allow you to preserve more of your equity; however, chances are you’re still going to take a hit, thanks to the competitive listing price and realtor commission fees— typically 6%, which is split between the two agents involved in the sale.

When you list with Clever, you get the best of both worlds: full service from a top-rated, local real estate agent for a fraction of the typical cost.

Clever partners with thousands of full-service agents across the country from major brands and brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more. Our agents are all top performers in their local markets, and many are experts at selling properties fast for fair market value.

As of 2019, U.S. home sellers who listed with Clever got an offer in an average of 13 days. Keep in mind that these metrics reflect all home sales — not just those sellers who were on a tight timeline.

What’s more, we pre-negotiate reduced listing commission fees on your behalf. When you list with a Clever Partner Agent, you pay a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000.

Here's how the savings look in practice.

Clever savings breakdown for home sellers

That means not only will you get all of the expert support with pricing, staging, marketing, negotiations, etc. you’d expect from a top-rated agent — you’ll also save thousands on commission (on average, sellers who list with Clever save $9,000 per sale), which means you hang onto more of your equity — or even turn a sizable profit — on your quick sale.

> Get in touch to learn more and connect with top-rated, low-commission agents near you.

Top FAQs for Selling a House Fast

Does staging help sell a house?

Yes. Most of the latest data suggests that proper home staging has a substantial impact on the outcome of a sale, both in terms of speed and price. According to the National Association for Realtors (NAR), for every $100 sellers invest into staging, the potential return is $400 on the home price. What’s more, properly staged homes typically net 17% more and sell 87% faster than similar, nearby properties that weren’t staged.

> Learn more about why staged homes sell faster.

How do I sell my house without a real estate agent?

Sellers who are looking to avoid listing commission fees will often attempt to sell their homes on their own — what’s known as a For Sale By Owner, or FSBO, listing. This is generally not recommended, particularly if you’re trying to sell your house quickly.

Approximately 36% of sellers attempt a FSBO listing each year — only about 11% of these sales are successful, and two-thirds of these sellers personally knew their buyer. The reality is that most FSBO sales either fall through or sit on the market for months and months.

If you’re trying to sell your home quickly, your best bet is to work with an agent. Agents will leverage aggressive pricing and marketing tactics to get you a fair value offer in a matter of days — even hours. If you’re interested in selling with a full-service agent but want to save on commission, Clever can help. Clever partners with top agents across the country who will provide full service for a fraction of the typical cost.

> Learn more about low commission agents here.

How do I sell a house fast in a slow market?

If you’re looking to sell a house fast in a slow market, there are five things you can do:

  1. Find a top-rated local agent with a proven track record of selling homes quickly in your area
  2. Set a competitive listing price that attracts the maximum amount of offers without forcing you to give up more equity than you’re comfortable with — in hot markets, you may be able to still turn a nice profit; in slow ones, you may have to make some sacrifices to get a decent offer quickly
  3. Make strategic repairs and improvements that increase your homes visual appeal — and avoid overly expensive and/or unimpactful ones!
  4. Leverage your social media and your personal networks to spread the word and boost your listing’s visibility — your agent will obviously be marketing your home aggressively, but the more you pitch in yourself, the better your chances are of getting a decent offer within your desired timeframe
  5. Don’t make your agent’s job difficult! Be communicative, accommodating, flexible — your agent’s goal is to get you the best possible outcome, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to help make that happen

> Get more tips on how to sell a house fast in a slow market.

Should I sell my house to an investor?

That all depends on your specific goals and needs. If your back’s against the wall and you really need to sell immediately, an investor like a cash buyer, iBuyer, or individual house flipper could be best-case option for you.

That said, expect your equity to take a sizeable hit in the transaction. Investors have to make lowball offers and/or charge high services fees to offset the risk they take on by purchasing your home outright. If they offer you fair market value, there’s almost no way they can turn around and resell it for a profit.

The real benefit of working with an agent is that they’re not buying your home — they’re simply representing you in the sale. Agents work off of commission, which means that they’re incentivized to get you the best possible price, regardless of the circumstances.

Are cash buyers a scam?

Not necessarily — there are plenty of legitimate cash buyers out there, but there are plenty of scam artists as well. For example, those hand-written “We Pay Cash for Houses” signs you see around town with just a phone number and no company name or any other details? Probably a good idea to steer clear of these offers. Most legit operations don’t intentionally make it difficult to find information about their business.

If you’re considering requesting an offer from a cash buyer, be sure to do your due diligence before pulling the trigger. Visit the company’s website, read customer reviews, ask around, etc. In this day and age, any legitimate company should have a well-established online presence.

> Learn more about companies that buy houses for cash.

What is an iBuyer?

An iBuyer is a company that leverages technology to make near-instant cash offers on homes. These companies rely on advanced data analytics engines and other digital technologies to evaluate the earning potential of specific homes based on key attributes — property type, size, condition, market temperature, etc. — in order to minimize their risk when purchasing homes at a high volume, often sight unseen.

iBuying is a still a relatively new concept and only available to sellers in a relatively small number of U.S. cities. Most iBuyers only buy relatively new homes within a specific price range. If your home qualifies, this option can be an incredibly fast and convenient alternative to selling a home on the open market. That said, you should always explore all of your options for selling before making a final decision to ensure you get the best outcome.

> Learn more about iBuyers.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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