Complete Guide to Safely Selling a House for Cash

Selling your house to a cash buyer doesn’t have to be risky. This 7-step guide will show you how to get the best offer and complete the sale as quickly and as safely as possible.

Whether you have an immediate need for funds or simply want to offload a house quickly, selling a house for cash can be a great option. But how exactly do you go about it, without risking scams or other pitfalls? Here’s everything you need to know:

What does it mean to sell your house for cash?

When you sell your house for cash, you are selling it to a buyer who is paying the full price upfront without taking out a mortgage. Since you’re skipping the whole mortgage process, the biggest perks are speed and convenience. Cash sales can close in as little as 10 days compared to the average 49 days of a conventional sale.

Should you sell your house for cash?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to sell your house for cash:

  • The house is in need of repairs that you don’t have the time or money to fix
  • Financial difficulties
  • You’ve inherited a property that you can’t keep
  • Downsizing or relocation
  • Sudden or unexpected life events

Risks and downsides of selling your house for cash

While selling your house for cash has some clear advantages, there can be downsides. One of the biggest is that the price you get for a cash sale is often lower than what you’d get on the market. There can also be a risk of shady buyers and scams.

What is an all-cash offer?

An all-cash offer is an offer to purchase a property in which the buyer agrees to pay the full purchase price without financing. All-cash offers are typically made by investors who are looking to quickly and efficiently close on a property off-market – these are called cash buyers. But anyone who has the funds to cover the cost of buying a home can make an all-cash offer.

What value does a cash buyer provide?

A cash buyer provides plenty of benefits for those looking to sell their home quickly and hassle-free:

  • A much faster closing
  • No need for repairs or home staging, as cash buyers are usually willing to buy a property as-is
  • No financing contingency or appraisal requirements means the entire process is simpler and smoother overall

Why is cash better when selling a house?

Selling a house for cash takes a lot of uncertainty out of the process. There’s no waiting on mortgage approval, no need to make any repairs or get the home market ready, and when a buyer has the cash in hand, the deal can be closed very quickly. Plus, many home-buying companies will also cover closing costs for the seller, meaning the offered price is what you get, no strings attached.

How is the selling process different with a cash offer?

In a traditional sale, the bank or lender needs to verify the buyer’s financial situation, order an appraisal and do its due diligence to make sure that the home is worth the loan amount before approving the loan. Selling to a cash buyer eliminates that entire process, meaning you can go straight from offer to closing much faster.

Do you still need a real estate agent?

The answer is: it depends. If you’re not familiar with the selling process, traditional real estate agents can be a valuable resource. They can help you determine a fair price for your home, handle the negotiation process and take care of the paperwork. An alternative is to work with a selling marketplace like Sundae, that handles the details like finding trusted investors and getting the best available offer.

How to sell your house for cash

If you need to sell your house fast, there are a few options available to you:

  • You can work with a traditional real estate agent
  • You can try listing the home on your own (FSBO or for sale by owner)
  • You can work with an as-is cash marketplace, like Sundae, that connects sellers with trusted local cash buyers and handles the details of the transaction

Marketing your property to cash buyers

If you’re listing your home yourself, there are a few things you can do to help market your property to cash buyers. Make sure to list your home as “for sale by owner” (FSBO) and include the words “cash only” in the title. This will help attract buyers who are specifically looking for homes that they can pay for in cash.

7 steps to safely selling your home for cash

  1. Determine the fair market value of your home. If you’re working with a traditional real estate agent, they can run a comparative market analysis. Or you can hire an appraiser.
  2. Find a reputable cash buyer. Do some research and make sure you find a reputable buyer who has a good track record. A marketplace like Sundae will save you this step, as we find trusted local real estate investors for you.
  3. Review the terms of the cash offer and proof of funds. A buyer’s written offer (or purchase agreement) should include the sale price, contingencies, earnest money deposit, and the closing date. They should also include proof of funds to verify they have the money to buy the house. To get the best available price, seek out competing offers.
  4. Complete home inspection. Cash buyers will typically still perform an inspection, even if you’re selling as-is.
  5. Title search. The buyer will schedule a title search to make sure that you have a clear title, meaning you can hand over the property free of any claims or judgments against it.
  6. Closing time. This is when you sign all the final paperwork and the buyer takes ownership of the property with the transfer of title.
  7. Get paid. A cash buyer will either bring a cashier’s check to the closing or wire the money to your account electronically.

Evaluating offers and choosing a buyer

When selling your house for cash on your own, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re working with a reputable buyer. There are many scammers out there who will try to take advantage of desperate sellers. Be sure to ask for references and check online reviews before agreeing to work with any cash buyer.

No matter which route you take, carefully consider the terms of any cash offers you receive and make sure everything is in writing.

Differences in process and timeline for selling for cash

Step in the process Timeline for cash sale Timeline for traditional sale
Prepping house for sale None – most cash buyers are interested in as-is sales It depends on how many repairs you need to make and how much you need to clean, but you should allow for about 30 days
Receiving an offer Varies; with Sundae, you’ll typically receive vetted offers within 4 business days A house spends an average of 21 days on the market (depending on location)
Negotiations As-is buyers rarely ask to renegotiate after the offer Days to weeks, depending on issues
Closing Can be as fast as a week or two, depending on the buyer Traditionally 30–45 days (or longer) from accepted offer to close

Legal considerations for selling a home for cash

There is quite a bit of paperwork involved in any home sale, so hiring an attorney to help make sure everything is in order is always a good idea, especially when it comes to making sure you have clear title. Another thing to keep in mind? Depending on your situation, your sale could be subject to a capital gains tax, especially if you’ve owned the home for less than two years.

Conclusion and tips for a successful cash sale

A cash sale can be a great option for sellers looking for a quick turn-around. You may get a lower price, but the speed and convenience may be well worth it depending on your goals. If you do decide to sell for cash, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Do your research to find a reputable buyer
  • Remember that you won’t be getting top dollar for your sale – but it will be fast
  • Get everything in writing

Selling for cash FAQs

Are companies that buy houses for cash legit?

Short answer: Yes, there are a number of legit home-buying companies, but you should always be mindful of scams. We’ve all seen those “We buy ugly houses” signs, and it’s important to do your due diligence no matter who you’re working with. Reputable companies like Sundae can be a great resource for helping you sell your house to a fully trusted marketplace of investors.

Who will purchase your home for cash?

Cash buyers are usually businesses or investors looking to flip or rent a home, but anyone with enough funds can purchase a home for cash.

What else should I consider when selling a house for cash?

If you have any complex financial issues or if your house needs a lot of repairs, selling for cash can bring some peace of mind. It gets money in your pocket faster and you won’t have to worry about investing any more into something you’re going to sell.

Are there closing costs associated with cash offers?

Yes, but cash homebuyers will typically cover all closing costs for the seller in their offer.

When you sell a house for cash do you get it all at once?

Sometimes cash home buyers will bring a cashier’s check to closing, but the total sale amount will often be wired to your account via electronic transfer. This can sometimes take a few days, depending on the buyer. Sellers using the Sundae marketplace may also be eligible for up to a $10,000 cash advance if immediate funds are needed.

Why would a house be cash only?

People sell their houses for cash only if they are looking for a quick, hassle-free sale. This could be because the house is dated, needs repairs or the seller just needs to get rid of the house quickly.

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