A Complete Guide to Sell Your Home Fast
Table of Contents
- Why Sell Your Home Fast?
- How Much Money Can You Get from Fast Sales?
- Ways to Sell Your Home Faster
- If You Want to Sell Your Home Fast, Avoid These!
- Things You Can Do Right Now to Speed Up the Process
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions and Resources
One of the most common things a real estate professional hears is, “I want to sell my home fast.”
Everyone wants to sell their home fast, but homeowners rarely ask themselves how quickly they need to sell it. In the real estate industry, there are countless ways to put your home on the market and even more ways to drive buyer interest. Choosing which method is right for you is essential if you need a specific outcome, such as a fast sale, a high market value, high buyer competition, or any combination of the above!
We at Property Spot spoke with industry experts and complied this complete guide that lists the most popular ways to sell your home fast while maximizing its value!
Why Sell Your Home Fast?
Every homeowner has different reasons for moving. The most common two reasons we hear is “I need to sell my home fast to downsize,” or relocate closer to work or family. Some others need a fast sale to avoid foreclosure and costly repairs. These reasons change the best method you should use to sell your home and how quickly you need to sell it.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why a homeowner needs to sell their home quickly, as explained by Braden Kusay, our Business Operations Manager here at Property Spot.
Many homeowners want to sell their home fast for cash is to avoid foreclosure. While there was a drop in foreclosures in 2020, the rates are quickly rising again. The number of U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in July 2021 was 12,483 according to ATTOM Data Solutions. This is up roughly 40% from July 2020.
Here is how every state stacks up, via data from SoFi (as of August 2021).
To avoid foreclosure and protect their credit score, many sellers turn to quick sale options.
“No one wants to foreclose on their home,” Kusay explained. “They don’t want to hurt their credit and, more often than not, they don’t want to just give their home to the bank. They want a viable method that will pay off their mortgage and help get them back on their feet.”
Why Sell Fast:
- Avoid foreclosure
- Protect your credit score
- End maintenance expenses
- Pay off mortgage
Some people inherit homes after losing a family member. Many of these homes, while they hold great memories for the family, can be liabilities to their new owner. In most cases, the inheritor already has a home and doesn’t want to take care of, pay off, or renovate the inherited property.
“They turn to fast sale options to cover the remainder of the mortgage and put the money toward their family,” Kusay added.
A Fast Sale Can:
- Avoid a second mortgage
- Dodge costly repairs and renovations
- Quickly take the home off your hands
Depending on the company, the condition of your home does not matter with fast sales. Here are some of the homes we purchased in the past year!
How Much Money Can You Get from Fast Sales?
How much money you can get from a quick sale depends on how you sell your home.
The good news is that home prices are at an all-time high. Home prices nationwide grew by 17.2% in June 2021 compared to June 2020. The market also saw more than 50% of homes sell for over asking price. This means you’re likely to get a higher fair market value for your home, regardless of how you sell it.
Josh Maurer, with Property Spot, explained that most professionals can quickly appraise the value of your home based on the square footage, condition, the year built, lot size, and the floorplan.
Maurer added that you want to look for a company or real estate agent who is willing to go the extra mile.
“Any homeowner right now wants the maximum amount,” Maurer said. “That’s their reason for selling. Foreclosure, death in family, vacant property; the reason why is more important than what the price is. The price is going to be the same regardless, so it’s more of what can we do more for them.”
“Can we hold the property for them?” Maurer continued. “Can we build a home for them? There are other options we can offer other than price? That’s what’s important when you’re choosing a company. Ask them what they can do to help you.”
Why you need to sell a home is the most important factor when you try to sell a home. It determines how quickly you need to sell. The market value of the home will likely be the same, but the extra benefits you receive (from the way you choose to list your home) will not be.
How Long Does It Take To Sell A Home?
In 2020, homes spent an average of just 25 days on the market before going under contract. After an offer is accepted, home sales typically require an additional 30- to 45-day closing period before they are officially sold. Therefore, the average time it takes to sell a house the traditional way is 55-70 days.
It does vary by state. The average time it takes to sell a house in Arizona in 2021 is 72 days — 37 days to get an offer and 35 days to close.
Under three months is fast, but it can be an eternity depending on your situation. Thankfully, there are faster ways to sell your home.
Ways to Sell Your Home Faster
We’re going to go over the five ways to sell a home — outside of listing it on the traditional market — and rank each of them based on how quickly they can get your home sold.
Fastest Option: Sell Your Home For Cash
Nearly 30% of U.S. home purchases (between January-July 2021) were paid for with all cash, and for good reason. Selling your home for cash, whether to a buyer or a reputable cash for homes company, is the fastest and simplest way to sell a home.
When an individual buyer purchases your home for cash, you don’t have to worry about mortgages and loan approval. When a cash for home company like us buys your house, you don’t have to worry about repairs and renovations, showings, closing times, and so much more.
“Property Spot simplifies real estate. We cater to the seller’s needs, whatever it is,” Kusay said. They can give the homeowner an offer in 24 hours or less and close on the home in less than 14 days. No other method of sale can compete with that speed.
Maurer added that not every sale needs to be that fast either. We are extremely flexible and allows you to set your own closing date, meaning the sale can be completed in 14 days, or 120+ days. Not every cash for home company offers this, so be sure to do your research when you’re looking into this option.
How Selling to a Cash for Home Company Works
Selling your house to a cash for home company is very different from selling your home for cash on the traditional market. Sellers don’t need to worry about home repairs and renovations, inspections, or the fees that come with using a real estate agent.
Instead, the company may send an evaluator out to inspect the condition of your home. These evaluations aren’t the same as an inspection — they don’t look for things that the seller needs to fix.
“It’s really simple and transactional,” Maurer said about our process here at Property Spot. “We’re just going to walk through the house. If the seller lets us, we take photos and videos for our records. It’s nothing too serious — basically just a walk through the home.”
Kusay added there aren’t red flags, suits, or ties — they’re just looking around to get an idea of the layout of the home and its base condition. After the evaluation is complete, cash for home companies will send you an offer. Some companies, like us at Property Spot, will get your offer out in 24 hours or less.
Benefits of Selling to a Cash for Homes Company
In addition to being one of the fastest ways to sell your home, using this method of sale is also one of the easiest. When using a reputable company, you don’t have to jump through hoops to complete the sale and, in our case at Property Spot, we do most of the paperwork for you.
It’s also more affordable for you to sell your home this way. You don’t have to make any repairs — including fixing structural or roof damage — and there are no additional agency fees, photoshoot expenses, or staging costs.
Disadvantages of Selling to a Cash for Homes Company
No method of sale is perfect. If you need a quick sale, there may be some trade-offs to consider. When selling your home for cash, it is unlikely you will receive the full market value of your home, though you will receive a fair offer. Some companies may only offer what you still owe on your mortgage, while others will go above and beyond.
The other disadvantage is navigating through the scams. While this is an established industry, there are still things you want to avoid, such as trusting a “Cash for Homes” sign on the corner of the road. You will need to do plenty of research to find a trustworthy company who will work with you.
Fast Option: Work with a Top REALTOR®
Not all real estate agents are top REALTORs®. Top agents are the ones who are thriving in the industry, those that know it inside and out and have the experience to back it up. They boast a strong number of transactions in your area for high market values and low days on market.
Using this method of sale lists your home on the traditional market, but with the best-of-the-best leading the sale. When you choose the right agent and when it’s done correctly in the right market, you could sell your home within days.
“Top REALTORs® have a network of buyers,” Kusay explained. “You can sell your home fast with a realtor too, it can go quick. The issue isn’t the realtor, it’s the market.”
How It Works
The traditional market has a lot of different steps that lead from preparing your house all the way to the sale. A top agent will oversee all of this and will help you get your home picture-perfect before it’s listed or marketed to their network of buyers. Once it’s listed, the agent will show your home to prospective buyers and negotiate the sale. Finally, when an offer is made, they will communicate between the buyer and you so you both can get a deal you’re happy with.
Then it’s a matter of closing the home and transferring ownership — all of which the agent will assist with.
Benefits of Using a Top Agent
The biggest benefit is that you’re not alone. Top REALTORs® know exactly how to sell a home in your area, including all of the paperwork, laws, and inspection processes. They can guide you through everything to make the process easier on you.
Using a top agent also increases your chances of selling your home above market value. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2020 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers, homes recently sold with the assistance of an agent went for 35% more than homes sold by owner.
Disadvantages of Using a Top Agent
While working with a top agent is generally a safe and quick way to sell your home, it’s not guaranteed. The time at which your home sells relies on the economy. For example, your home will sell faster if there is a surplus of buyers, but will likely linger on the market if there is a surplus of sellers. A top agent can reduce the market time, but there is no guarantee that your home will be sold quickly.
You also have to consider closing periods. If you sell your home in 3 days, it will take about 33-48 total days to finalize the sale.
On top of that, top agents can be expensive to work with. You will have to consider all of the additional out-of-pocket expenses, including (but not limited to):
- Professional photography
- Professional cleaners
- Home repairs and renovations
- Closing Fees
- Agent Fees
“You’re going to lose about 4-6% of the sale on agent fees alone,” Maurer said. “It’s not a deal breaker, but it is something to consider if you want to use an agent.”
These fees can make or break the sale — consider this: you can sell your home for cash at 3% below the market value, or use a top realtor, who will take 4-6% of the sale as their commission. In this instance, selling your home for cash is more profitable!
If You Want to Sell Your Home Fast, Avoid These!
While these methods of sale are perfectly viable, they are not designed to sell your home fast. If your priority is a fast sale, we recommend avoiding these methods entirely.
For Sale By Owner
As the name implies, For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is when you sell your home yourself without an agent. Only 8% of recent sellers went the FSBO route. Of those who did it alone, 51% already knew the buyer of their home before the transaction.
Why You Should Avoid FSBO
FSBO is extremely slow in generating buyer interest. You are in charge of all of the marketing, the paperwork, and generating buyer interest.
“You don’t have someone double checking the paperwork. You’re on your own. If you’re not an expert, that might be tough,” Kusay said.
A short sale is anything but. The “short” in the name does not refer to the time it takes to sell your home, but rather the money you’ll get for it.
A short sale is when your lender agrees to let you sell your home for less than you owe on your mortgage. It is usually used as a last resort to avoid foreclosure. The owner doesn’t get the money from the sale — the lender does.
They’re not common either. Short sales make up only 1% of total home sales in 2018.
Why to Avoid Short Sales
Short sales are a last resort option. They’re not fast and you won’t see a cent from the sale. The only benefit from them is you avoid foreclosure, thus you avoid decreasing your credit score.
A home auction is perhaps one of the slowest ways to sell your home. While it can save luxury properties from lingering on the market for years, auctions are not ideal for the average family home. The benefits of selling your home at auction include the potential of a high sale, a known selling date, and the potential of setting the minimum bid to avoid any low ball offers.
Why You Should Avoid Selling at Auction
For the average home, the disadvantages of an auction far outweigh the benefits. Firstly, auctions have a negative stigma attached to them. Many potential buyers believe homes at auction are foreclosed and in horrible condition. This will lower buyer interest and the potential perceived market value.
You also have to do everything you would if you listed your home with an agent and would still have the same 30- to 45-day closing period.
“It’s just slow,” Maurer said. “It’s difficult. You have to market it too. All the things that you’re going to do in the process of selling your home in the first place, you have to do all of that, then wait to have the auction, then the inspection — it’s a really slow process.“
Some methods of selling your home, such as auctions, listing it For Sale By Owner (FSBO), and short sales, are not designed for fast sales. The exception is if you have a buyer already lined up with FSBO.
Things You Can Do Right Now to Speed Up the Process
When you want to sell your home quickly, every little thing helps. No matter what option you choose, moving and selling is always easier when you declutter, clean your home, spruce up your yard, open up your schedule as much as you can, and have moving plans ready to go.
Declutter and Clean
If you are selling your home with a top agent, you will want to declutter and clean your home before listing photos are taken. That means taking down family photos, vacuuming the floors and furniture, decluttering, and generally making every room as “bare bones” as possible to help potential buyers visualize themselves living there.
Don’t forget to spruce up your yard and outdoor living spaces as well! Weed, pick up any toys, stage the patio and deck furniture, and make sure everything is trimmed and the lawn is mowed.
You can skip this step if you’re selling your home for cash.
Open Your Schedule
You will need to leave your home for showings and pictures, and be available for inspections and evaluations, as well as to complete any necessary paperwork. Most of these don’t take long, but they can add a lot of time to the sale if you’re not prepared to open up your schedule.
Have Moving Plans Ready to Go
One of the biggest things that slows down a move is not having anything else lined up after you sell your home. Have a plan and the next steps ready to go — you never know when you’ll need to jump into action!
When it comes to selling your home, you often have to choose between a higher profit or a faster sale. If you want to sell your home fast, stick to cash for homes companies or working with a top agent. Those are the only two methods that will increase your chances of both a fast sale and getting a fair price for your home.
If you’re in need of more resources or are looking for more information about selling your home quickly, please refer to the below our FAQs and Helpful Homeowner Resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Selling My Home Fast Hurt My Credit?
As long as your home is not foreclosed, selling your home for cash, using a top agent, by owner, or at an auction will not hurt your credit.
Is One Method Better Than the Other?
There isn’t a universal “best” method for selling your home. Each has their pros and cons — it all depends on your situation. For example, selling to a cash for home company may be better for you if you need to close within 20 days. On the other hand, if getting more money for your home is your priority, then a top agent may work best for you.
Can Selling My Home Fast Help Me Avoid Foreclosure?
Yes! Most cash for homes companies can get you the money you need quickly enough to help you avoid foreclosure. Top agents can do this as well, though the timeline may be longer.
Can I Trust These Methods of Sale?
There is a lot of mistrust around selling homes if you don’t use a real estate agent. However, if you work with a reputable company, then all of the methods listed in this article are viable and trustworthy.
How Do I Find a Trustworthy Cash for Home Buyer?
The number one thing to look for is an established company. If you can’t find a website or reviews, then they’re likely not a good fit for you. Set up a phone call and talk with them to learn who sounds trustworthy, who respects your house and your time, and who has good references to share.
Helpful Homeowner Resources
We compiled a short list of resources to help homeowners who may need to sell their home fast or are looking for other ways to stay in their home.
How to Find Reputable Cash Buyers