I need to sell my home fast, what do I do?

Sometimes life hits you with the unexpected. If you find you have to sell your house fast, there are ways to do it wisely. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Slow and steady wins the race, but sometimes you have to sprint. For any number of reasons, be it an illness, job loss, new career opportunity in another city, divorce, or just being ready to move on, selling a house fast may be a priority. You might assume selling always takes a long time, but selling quickly — even while getting a good selling price — is possible if you know how to navigate the process.

If you’re eager to pull out of that driveway for the last time, you’re probably asking, “I need to sell my house fast, what do I do?” We can help you answer that.

How long do most houses stay on the market?

When it comes to real estate, how long a house stays on the market varies, it depends if you’re in a hot market or a soft one. Every housing market is unique, and the time horizon can be impacted by price, condition of the home, and neighborhood, to name a few factors.

As of March of 2023, homes spent an average of 54 days on the market, (the time between when a home is listed on the market and goes under contract with a buyer), according to HomeLight. If you’re in a hurry, that might seem like a lifetime. You have options.

What is the quickest you can sell a house?

The answer varies, but if you go with a cash sale, it may be quicker than you think. Cash is king. With a cash buyer you avoid the time-consuming hoops you would jump over if a lender was involved. Your home sale and even your closing process becomes markedly simpler.

There are fewer steps and paperwork in a cash sale than with buyer financing. You don’t strictly need to do a pre-sale inspection, which can cost a few hundred dollars (though many cash sellers do them anyway, for peace of mind). Either way, you can likely sell your home as-is, avoiding the potential of a buyer backing out if he or she doesn’t like what the report reveals.

You also won’t have to worry about the cost and time to do significant repairs or major renovations. With a cash offer you can sell quickly, potentially changing your address in a week or two, compared to two or three months, or even longer, with a traditionally financed buyer.

How do I get rid of my house fast?

We’ll go into various strategies you can use for selling your house fast below, but before you even choose one, it’s smart to do bit of work to get prepared. Here are some quick and easy steps you can take to make any home-selling process go more smoothly.

Declutter

Your treasures are priceless to you but to potential buyers they may just look like stuff that overwhelm the space and may spoil the prospect’s ability to see their things in the home. Think minimal personal effects. With fewer things rooms look orderly and bigger, which may entice a buyer.

Beautify

Although you may not spend the time and resources to do major rehab, do minor repairs and go for spit-polish-sparkle inside and out. Pay attention to details, big and small, like having as much light as possible. Rooms should be bright, airy and feel roomy. Paint inside if needed, a fresh coat does wonders. Deep clean carpets, get rid of pet stains. Depending on the condition of your house and the time you have, it might be worth it to you to hire a professional cleaner. Clean spaces will help appeal to buyers and sell your house quickly.

Similarly, you might want to “stage” your home, so it looks like something in a magazine. Doing so can help your home sale. According to StagedHomes.com, the average staged home sells 5 to 11 times faster than the average unstaged home.

Outside, make sure the lawn is mowed and the yard otherwise well-groomed. Curb appeal counts. Do pressure washing if needed. Keep in mind if the outside isn’t inviting people may just assume the inside is in the same state. A positive first impression, especially when trying to sell quickly, can help your house stand out from others in your local market so you get more money.

Understand timing is everything

You have your reasons for wanting to sell fast, but if you have some wiggle room, choose carefully when you want to put your house on the market.

Markets will vary, some will be active a certain time of the year, be it when the weather is ideal or because kids are out of school. If you hit the market at a time when many folks are looking, you can come out ahead. So if you have flexibility, do some research on local market data to determine the best time to sell in your area.

Set the price right

When it comes to setting the price on your home you don’t want to go too high or low. Get it right by doing some research. Look at recent comparable sales of similar homes in your area to come up with the best price that’s attractive to many buyers and make your house sell faster. The local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a great place to cull that information. A traditional real estate agent can help with this too.

How can I sell my house full of stuff fast?

If you can, get rid of anything you don’t need. Not only will your house look more inviting to home buyers when there are less things around, they’ll be less to carry to the next place, reducing your moving costs. Hold a garage sale or sell stuff online on Craigslist and elsewhere. The proceeds mean more money for moving and other expenses related to selling your home.

If you really don’t have the time or wherewithal to clean out unwanted belongings from the space, you might want to consider a as-is selling situation — like one through the Sundae marketplace — where you can simply sign and walk away.

Decide on a strategy to sell quickly

Once you’ve done the prep work and are ready to jump into the home selling process and sell your home quickly, there are several routes to take. Examine the pros and cons of each.

Seek a cash buyer

There’s a lot of upside to cash offers. When you’re dealing with a cash buyer you avoid the lending process. That’s going to save you time and money.

Explore options among cash home buyers, like working with companies that purchase homes for cash, real estate investors who are house flippers, iBuyers (instant buyers) such as companies like Offerpad and Opendoor that purchase homes from private sellers and resell them. iBuyers often charge a 5-12% (of the total offer value) service fee.

You can also sell as-is, for cash, through a marketplace like Sundae. We’ll connect you with prospective buyers who will compete to offer you the best price available, and you won’t owe us any fees or closing costs.

The entire process with cash deals is faster than other selling methods. Depending on buyer interest, you could have your money within about ten days or up to a few weeks at most. It’s simpler and more convenient than a traditional sale.

There is one major drawback with cash buyers. When doing a cash deal, it is likely that the selling price you receive may be a bit below market value. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a little profit for the sake of speed and convenience, consider cash buyers.

Hire a traditional real estate agent

There’s something to be said for having the right real estate agent when you want to sell your house fast. An experienced real estate agent is a pro. Go on the hunt for a top real estate agent with a proven track record of selling homes quickly. A real estate agent is also a skilled negotiator who knows how to handle potential buyers and buyer’s agents and how to price your home right and market it.

Real estate agent commissions are typically 5-6% of the home sale price and may be as high as 8% for a top performer in their market. That extra fee may be a good investment it if that experienced agent sells your house fast, at or above market value, and you maximize profits. In the right circumstances — especially if you’re willing and able to invest a bit more time and effort to get the best price — traditional real estate agents can be worth their weight in gold.

Sell your house yourself

Sure, it’s the era of DIY, but For Sale By Owner (FSBO) may be less attractive when you’re looking to sell your house fast. For one thing, with the FSBO route you’re doing all the heavy lifting.

It’s on you to generate interest and find potential buyers for your quick sale. If you have a friend or relative who you already know wants to buy your home, then selling FSBO can be fast. In most cases, however, it can take longer — especially if you don’t have a lot of free time to devote to vetting potential buyers, preparing for and hosting showings of your home, and other aspects of the home selling process. Decide whether you would be better served by using a traditional real estate agent who would do all that heavy lifting, or working with a cash-sale marketplace to sell your house fast.

Another downside, you may not get top dollar for your home sale when you sell yourself. According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBOs accounted for 10% of home sales in 2021. The typical FSBO home sold for $225,000 compared to $330,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

Real estate is not for the faint of heart. A home sale is an adventure, period. Trying to sell your house fast ups the ante. But when you know what to expect from the home selling process with a transaction like this, you can get the sale done and move forward.

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Composed by a team of experienced content, marketing, and real estate professionals, the Sundae Blog is a go-to authority for tips, instructions, and data-driven insights aimed at helping homeowners maintain, renovate, sell, and buy homes, while navigating a complex real estate market.

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