How to Sell Your House Fast (A Comprehensive Guide)

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

November 19th, 2019

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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.

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-thirds of 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.

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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 7 iBuyers and Cash Buyers in 2020: Reviews, Pros & Cons

Below we've outlined some key details about seven of the most popular iBuyer companies in 2020. Get a general overview of each service, pros and cons, and information on customer ratings and reviews.

Opendoor

Opendoor

Opendoor

Service Fee

5%

Min. Time to Close

14 days

Average Rating

3.79/5 (962 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • Opendoor is an iBuyer currently buying homes that meet their requirements in 21 markets.
  • Get an instant offer range by filling out Opendoor’s online seller questionnaire.
  • Receive a final cash offer 2-3 days after completing an in-person exterior tour and remote interior assessment.


Opendoor is live (currently purchasing and selling homes) in 21 markets:

Phoenix, AZTucson, AZDallas-Fort Worth, TX
Nashville, TNAtlanta, GACharlotte, NC
Raleigh-Durham, NCAustin, TX
Denver, CO
Houston, TX
Jacksonville, FLLas Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
Minneapolis, MN
St. Paul, MN
Orlando, FL
Portland, OR
Riverside, CA
Sacramento, CA
San Antonio, TX
Tampa, FL
Salt Lake City, UT



Due to COVID-19, Opendoor is not offering all of its services in every location. Check here for a list of current services provided in each location. 


Pros

  • Receive an offer within 24 hours
  • Choose your own closing date, as soon as 14 days from offer acceptance
  • Service is all-inclusive: Opendoor conducts their own inspection and will handle repairs if you choose not to hire contractors yourself

Cons

  • Opendoor does not buy all home types 
  • Services are not available everywhere — some markets have you selling to a third party, while others are handled entirely in-house
  • In addition to the service fee, sellers can expect to pay repair costs and closing costs


As of October 20, 2020, Opendoor's average customer rating is 3.79/5 based on 962 reviews.

SHOW MORE

» LEARN: More about Opendoor

Offerpad

Offerpad

Offerpad

Service Fee

6-10%

Min. Time to Close

10 days

Average Rating

2.1/5 (53 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • Offerpad is an iBuyer buying homes that meet their requirements in 14 cities across the southern United States.
  • To receive a cash offer, complete their online questionnaire. You can choose to add a virtual tour or pictures for additional value.
  • Once the offer is received, you can choose to accept or decline — there's no negotiation.
  • If you accept the offer, you select the closing date.


Offerpad is currently purchasing homes in 14 locations.

Atlanta, GAAustin, TXBirmingham, AL
Charlotte, NCDallas-FW, TXHouston, TX
Jacksonville, FLLas Vegas, NVOrlando, FL
Phoenix, AZRaleigh, NCSan Antonio, TX
Tampa, FLTucson, AZCharlotte, SC


Click here for a specific list of sub-locations.

Pros

  • No need to prep, market, or list your home
  • Close on your timeline
  • Free local moves


Cons

  • Service fee does not include closing or repair fees
  • No negotiations for sellers
  • The repair deductions may be more expensive


As of October 20, 2020, Offerpad's average customer rating is 2.1/5 based on 53 reviews.

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» LEARN: More about Offerpad

We Buy Ugly Houses

We Buy Ugly Houses

We Buy Ugly Houses

Phone Number

866-200-6475

Time to Offer

Varies - pending home evaluation

Minimum Time to Sell

Close in as few as 30 days

Description
Locations
Reviews

We Buy Ugly Houses is a national franchise owned by Homevestors. Franchises are independently run by local investors who use the We Buy Ugly Houses brand to advertise their services. 


Steps to sell with We Buy Ugly Houses:

  1. Call We Buy Ugly Houses and speak to a representative about your home, or fill out the form on their website.
  2. Schedule a visit for a local franchisee to view your home. They will answer any questions you may have and evaluate you home. If the franchisee thinks your home is worth investing in, you will receive a cash offer on the home.
  3. Set up a time to close on the sale if you choose to accept the deal. This can happen as fast as three weeks after accepting the cash offer.


As a franchise, experiences with We Buy Ugly Houses will vary from region to region, based on the local investor you're paired with.

As of May 22, 2020, We Buy Ugly Houses's parent company, Homevestors, has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. No other third-party reviews are available at this time.


This rating is based on overall national data. Research local franchises for specific reviews that reflect their quality of service. 

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» LEARN: More about We Buy Ugly Houses

Zillow Offers

Zillow Offers

Zillow Offers

Service Fee

6% + 1.5-7.9%

Min. Time to Close

7 days

Average Rating

N/A

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • Zillow Offers is an iBuying branch of Zillow, one of the most popular real estate listing and pricing marketplaces.
  • Fill out an application to receive an offer within 3 days.
  • Schedule an in-person evaluation and inspection to receive a final cash offer.
  • Close on your own schedule — from 7-90 days after taking the offer.


Zillow Offers currently purchases homes in 25 locations.

Atlanta, GAAustin, TXCharlotte, NC
Cincinnati, OHColorado Springs, CODallas, TX
Denver, COFort Collins, COHouston, TX
Jacksonville, FLLas Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Nashville, TN
Orlando, FL
Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR
Raleigh, NC
Riverside, CA
Sacramento, CA
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
Tampa, FL
Tucson, AZ


Pros

  • Offers are valid for 3 days
  • Set your own closing and move-out date
  • Offers are typically within 1-2% of fair market value

Cons

  • Could pay as high as 13.9% (6% selling fees and up to 7.9% in service fees)
  • Not all homes are eligible for purchase


As of October 20, 2020, Zillow Offers does not have any verified customer reviews on reputable third-party review sites.

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» LEARN: More about Zillow Offers

RedfinNow

RedfinNow

RedfinNow

Service Fee

6-12%

Min. Time to Close

10 days

Average Rating

3.8/5 (3 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • RedfinNow is the iBuying part of Redfin, a national real estate brokerage offering a variety of services.
  • Request an online offer to receive an initial assessment and offer
  • If you accept, there's an inspection and appraisal to calculate service and repair fees
  • You must close 10-30 days from offer acceptance


RedfinNow is currently available in California, Colorado and Texas. The list of serviced cities is currently in flux due to COVID-19, so check their website for an up-to-date list. 

Pros

  • Quick and reasonable cash offer
  • No additional work needed
  • Choose your own closing date

Cons

  • High service fee
  • Additional nonnegotiable repair costs
  • Limited availability


As of October 20, 2020, RedfinNow's average customer rating is 3.8/5 based on 3 reviews.

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» LEARN: More about RedfinNow

Orchard

Orchard

Orchard

Service Fee

6-6.9%

Min. Time to Close

30 days

Average Rating

4.6/5 (97 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • Orchard (formerly Perch) is an iBuyer and home exchange company, focused on providing "hassle-free" home sale and purchase services.
  • Use the Move First program to purchase a new home before selling you old one.
  • Fill out an online form and receive an offer on your home to fall back on if your home doesn't sell in 120 days.


Orchard is available in five major Metro areas across the country:

AustinDallas-Fort WorthSan Antonio
AtlantaDenver


Orchard's services appear to be consistent across all their areas, but check their website for specific details on what they offer.


Pros

  • Pay only one mortgage at a time 
  • Move into a new home while your previous home sells
  • Orchard's agents provide the same services as traditional agents do
  • You'll always have a cash offer to fall back on if your home doesn't sell in 120 days

Cons

  • Offers will be below home's value to benefit Orchard
  • Taxes, fees, and closing costs are not included
  • Offerings limited to limited metro areas
  • Orchard's 6% fee is more costly than a traditional agent's fee


As of October 20, 2020, Orchard's average customer rating is 4.6/5 based on 97 reviews.

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» LEARN: More about Orchard

Knock

Knock

Knock

Service Fee

1.25%

Min. Time to Sell

N/A

Average Rating

4.8/5 (710 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews


  • As a variation of an iBuyer, Knock operates on a trade-in model, consolidating the buying and selling process into one package.
  • Once you sign onto Knock's contract, Knock will buy you a home for cash before listing your current home, ensuring a clean and easy move


Knock currently operates in Phoenix, Denver, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.


Pros

  • Knock won't list your home until they've bought you a new one — no overlapping mortgages or payments
  • Applies to more homes than competitors - you can upsize or downsize
  • Guaranteed new home


Cons

  • Repair costs may be higher than doing repairs independently
  • No negotiations on fees
  • If you have already bought a second house (or intend to rent) the Knock model does not apply to you


As of October 20, 2020, Knock's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 710 reviews.

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» LEARN: More about Knock

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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