What's the Best Way to Sell My House Fast for Cash?

Michelle Delgado

By 

Michelle Delgado

May 19th, 2021
Updated May 19th, 2021

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Finding a fast cash offer | iBuyers | Cash buyer companies | Hiring a real estate agent

🔑 Key Takeaways
  • If you need to sell your home fast, a cash offer can speed up the process by allowing you to bypass steps required by traditional lenders.
  • Cash offers come at a cost: they're typically 50-70% of your home's fair market value.
  • You can receive a cash offer from an individual buyer or real estate investor, or you can work with a company that specializes in purchasing homes for cash.
  • Don't write off the idea of listing on the open market — under the right conditions, a real estate agent may be able to help you secure a fast cash offer from a real estate investor in your area.

How to find a cash buyer — fast

If you need to sell fast, we recommend taking three steps.

First, identify all the iBuyers and cash buyer companies in your area, then submit your information to each to see how much cash they'll offer.

Both iBuyers and cash buyer companies typically provide free, no-obligation cash offers and give homeowners a grace period to think things over before committing.

Next, arrange listing presentations with several real estate agents in your area to discuss your home's fair market value and how quickly it might sell on the open market. A real estate agent can also help you decide whether the offers from cash buyers or iBuyers are fair.

Once you have all of your options in front of you, choose the one that offers the best combination of speed and profit for your specific home selling goals.

🔎 Why can an all-cash offer speed up your sale?

Although we often talk about home selling as one event, the process actually encompasses two distinct stages:
  • Finding a buyer
  • Closing
If you need to sell fast, changing your approach to one or both stages can help you speed things up.

iBuyers and cash buyers can help you get a firm cash offer in as little as 1-2 days — much quicker than the 1-8 weeks homes typically spend on the open market.

Once you find a buyer, closing can add 30-45 days to your timeline — unless your buyer pays cash. Because cash buyers don't need traditional financing, they can skip the steps lenders require and close in as little as seven days.

Selling to an iBuyer

✍️ Editor's Take: iBuyers can buy your home for cash in as little as 10 days, but they only purchase homes in relatively good condition and may not be available in all locations.

» COMPARE IBUYER COMPANIES: Opendoor | Zillow Offers | Offerpad | RedfinNow | Knock | Orchard

If your home is in good condition and you live within an eligible service area, iBuyers can provide a fast way to sell your home for cash.

Though iBuyers vary in their specific approaches, they all follow the same general model. Homeowners complete an online application and quickly receive a preliminary cash offer.

For example, you can get an initial cash offer from Opendoor within 24-48 hours of applying.

Most iBuyer companies then complete a home inspection and deduct the estimated costs of repairs from your final proceeds.

Compared to other cash buyers, iBuyers typically offer close to fair market value for the homes they purchase. iBuyers also allow homeowners to set their own closing dates, which can be especially helpful if you're trying to coordinate a move or the purchase of a new home.

However, iBuyers are only available in approximately 30-40 cities across the country — and most of them have strict buying criteria.

If your home is in poor condition, RedfinNow has the most lenient criteria but is only available in limited markets.

Working with a cash buyer company

✍️ Editor's Take: Cash buyer companies have a nationwide presence and can close in as little as 2-4 weeks. But you should expect a lower offer, potentially as little as 50% of your home's fair market value.

» COMPARE CASH BUYER COMPANIES: We Buy Houses | We Buy Ugly Houses| HomeVestors

You've probably seen telephone pole fliers claiming "We Buy Houses for Cash!" Although these offers may seem too good to be true, we found that some nationwide brands — such as We Buy Ugly Houses— have proven business models that fulfill the promise of a fast, all-cash sale.

If you need to sell fast for cash, cash buyer companies can close in as little as 7-14 days and provide greater certainty that the deal won't fall through. You won't have to make any repairs or worry about fees, either.

But this convenience comes at a steep cost. It's rare to receive fair market value for your home and more common to receive as little as 50% of what your home is worth.

Fair Market Value
$200,000
Cash Buyer Offer
$100,000 to $170,000

That's a lot of money to leave on the table, especially if your home is in an attractive location or a competitive real estate market.

Worse, it can be tricky for homeowners to vet which companies are legitimate — and which are bad actors that prey on your financial troubles or desperation to sell fast.

In general, we recommend sticking with a nationwide brand rather than a local or boutique cash buyer company. If you're not sure where to start, Clever recently published a collection of in-depth, balanced reviews that will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about cash buyer companies.

Hiring a real estate agent

✍️ Editor's Take: With the right market conditions an experienced agent may be able to help you find the right buyer quickly and get the best price — but in general, selling on the open market takes the most time.

Most homeowners who want to sell fast for cash assume that a real estate agent won't be able to offer a solution. After all, listing on the open market can be a lengthy process, and most buyers are unprepared to make cash offers.

But there are some exceptions to these rules.

Speed varies by market. If you live in a seller's market, you might be able to find a buyer much more quickly than the national average. For example, as of April 2021, homes spend an average of 54 days on the market — but in Seattle, homes typically sell just seven days after listing.

When connecting with potential real estate agents, make sure they know that selling fast is a priority for you. They can walk you through your local market conditions and offer a rough estimate of how much time it might take to find a buyer for a home like yours.

Some agents know cash buyers. If you're certain that you want a cash offer, a real estate agent may still be able to help. Many real estate agents have personal connections with local flippers and real estate investors — and if your home is in poor condition, selling your home as is can signal a good deal.

🏃 Sell fast and save money!

A Clever partner agent can help you list your home quickly and ensure that you get the most possible money on the open market — all for just a flat fee of just $3,000 or 1%!

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