In a big hurry to sell your home? No matter what your motivation to sell, you should know that even in today’s hot seller’s market where homes attract offers in as little as a couple of weeks, it still takes around 2-plus months, an average of 66 days, to sell a house from list to close (Source: Homelight, 2022). And that doesn’t account for the weeks needed to clean, paint, and tidy up the property for its market debut. If you don’t have the patience for this timeline, you’ll need to get creative with your plans. Luckily, you do have options.
With this guide, you’ll get a complete overview of the top ways to get a quick offer, sign that deal — and get on with your life and feel the relief of having your house sale complete.
Common Reasons Homeowners Need To Sell Fast
Life happens and it can throw some crazy, unexpected things at you sometimes. Indeed, as someone who needs to sell your house fast, you could be facing any one of these common scenarios where a lengthy sale process would cause enormous stress and financial strain. Here are some of the most common ones we’ve seen:
Foreclosure or Bankruptcy: Financial distress situations can occur for many reasons ranging from job loss to poor financial decisions such as taking on too much debt, many times credit card-related debt as it is so easy to obtain unsecured debt these days. When the financial situation escalates where it is unmanageable, foreclosure or bankruptcy come into play. In the case of a foreclosure, even if your mortgage company has initiated the foreclosure process, you can still sell your home independently before your scheduled auction date. But depending on how behind you are on payments, you may only have a month or two to get the job done before the house goes to the courthouse steps. As for bankruptcy, if you can pay down your debt, you may not have to file bankruptcy. Even if a cash sale only covers your mortgage, you’ve still reduced your debt substantially, making it more manageable.
Inherited Home: It often doesn’t make sense and/or is challenging to hold onto a property you inherited, especially if you don’t live in the area. When you add up the costs of maintenance, utilities, insurance, and property taxes, the sooner you can sell this home, the better in many cases as the ongoing costs add up quickly.
New Job: An exciting new job opportunity opens up but there’s only one problem — it’s across the country and you’ve got this ball-and-chain called a house weighing down your flexibility. Even as remote work increases post-pandemic, many companies are still asking their workers to come into the office part-time. When you need to sell your house fast for a job relocation, the pressure of a start date and straddling two locations can make the process tricky.
Divorce: Selling your house can help you get a fresh start after a divorce. However, until the home is sold, at least one party will need to pay the mortgage and keep up with the lawn, which can cause additional tension and financial strain. As such, many people going through a divorce are looking for a fast way to sell their home and move on to the next chapter.
Downsizing or Retirement: When homeowners get to be empty nesters or are at retirement age, they often want to move forward, faster to get on with their next chapter. Oftentimes, in these cases, speed takes priority over all the work and time it takes to sell through a traditional listing.
Health-Related: Unexpected life events can create challenges that are difficult to overcome. In situations such as a decline in physical health, you may be faced with the need to sell your house. This can be an emotional decision to make, especially when you are already dealing with an illness.
You may fall into one of these categories or perhaps you need to sell quickly for another reason entirely. Whatever the case, you can either pursue an off-market sale with a cash buyer or, depending on your level of flexibility, sell on the open market with a few shortcuts worked in. Let’s explore each avenue.
Option 1: Work With A Top Real Estate Agent To Speed Up Your Sale
If you choose to work with an agent and head down the path of a traditional real estate listing, the fastest transaction will come from a buyer who is making a cash offer which means there is no mortgage needed for the transaction. You will need to understand that even if you choose the very best agent with a good record when it comes to time on market, there are certain things agents cannot control. One of those things is if buyers will pay cash or use mortgage financing. By the odds, most buyers are not going to be paying cash for the home and will need a mortgage, which extends your sales process by weeks given all the steps. According to Redfin.com, despite the percentage of cash buyers rising 5% nationwide since 2020, there’s still only an average 30% chance of finding a cash buyer to purchase your home depending on your location.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Speed Up The Sale?
Even if you find a real estate agent with these credentials it’ll still take at least 3-5 days to get your house listed on MLS, and that’s assuming you’ve already done all the prep work, decluttering, and deep cleaning of your home. If you decide to list, there are things you can do as a seller to boost the appeal of your home, and thus the chances of a fast sale:
- Declutter — and be strict with yourself about it. If you’re going to show your house messy, you might as well request a cash offer because you’re not going to get the best price, and will most likely not result in a fast sale. Create the illusion of space by removing shoes, boxes, and stacks of items from your floors (and closets). Relocate bulky furniture and move any clutter that won’t fit into storage spaces. If it won’t fit in a closet (pro tip: keep closets organized as well to show maximum storage for a potential buyer), the basement, or the garage, it must go to storage. Countertops should be clear of anything not intentionally placed. At the very least, your home needs to be tidy and organized when the showings start.
- Deep Cleaning — Hire a cleaning service to speed up the cleaning process (and have it done right). Don’t skip this step, even if you’re in a hurry. If you don’t have time to mop the floors, vacuum, dust, and get your surfaces sparkling, then hire the job out. An investment of $150-$250 to clean a 2,000-square-foot home will pay off.
- Curb Appeal — Follow these yard care basics to help your house sell faster: Mow the lawn and edge around your driveway and plantings. Pull large weeds and apply weed killer to any unwanted plants sprouting up through cement cracks, being careful to avoid healthy flowers. Make a run out to your local home center or garden center for mulch and spread it around any plant beds that need it. Pro tip: don’t neglect your outdoors if you’d like to get top dollar and make it appealing to buyers.
- First Impressions — Many people say the entryway is the bowtie of the home. With this in mind, thoroughly clean up your front entryway with a bucket of soapy water to remove cobwebs and grime from your door, entry lights, and mailbox for a great first impression. Invest in a nice welcome mat and maybe even a planter to give it an attractive charm.
In summary, while there are a number of things listed above that can be done relatively quickly without great time and expense, when you are looking to sell fast you will most definitely want to avoid any complex, costly, or time consuming projects unless they are structural, health, or safety related. These might include, but are not limited to, anything from termite infestations, which can compromise the structural integrity of the home, to mold or asbestos which are health and safety concerns.
Option 2: Explore “Cash Buyer” and Real Estate Investors As A Different Option
When you sell a home, two steps tend to be the most time-consuming: Attracting a buyer who wants to make an offer and waiting for the lender to close on your buyer’s mortgage.
Even if you do zero home prep and attract a buyer in record time, you can’t speed up this closing timeline so long as there is lender involvement. This is why, as they say, “cash is king.” Selling your house to a cash buyer or real estate investor effectively eliminates both of these weights that would otherwise slow you down. You could list your house on the open market and get lucky by attracting a buyer who will pay cash. However, you can take much of the uncertainty out of the process by working directly with a real estate investor that buys houses for cash.
How Does Selling For Cash Work?
Selling your house for cash has similar benefits to trading in your old vehicle to the dealership when you buy a new car. Sure, you might pocket a little more money if you sold it yourself. But it would likely take longer — and require extra work on your end. You’d have to make minor repairs, advertise it, coordinate and deal with test drives for potential buyers, and handle all the paperwork yourself.
Translating that to real estate terms, selling a house for cash goes something like this: You skip all the repairs and cleaning as well as the song-and-dance of staging your home to impress buyers. Instead, you keep it simple and go straight to requesting a cash offer. No agent fees, no open houses, no showings, and best of all, no stress. The buyer or investor you might be working with determines what they’re willing to pay, perhaps based on a quick home tour or by looking at photos. And many investors will take on homes that have some of the costly and time consuming issues or projects mentioned previously because they have resources to alleviate them in a cost effective way.
Next, you review their price/offer and terms then decide whether you’d like to accept. Some cash buyers will still require an inspection, and negotiate with you over repairs. Others will purchase “as is.” You’ll have to account for any complications such as HOA requirements, but generally, you can close in two weeks or less.
When You Need To Sell Fast, You Have Options
Selling a house has a reputation for being overwhelming, stressful, and time-consuming. But fast? Not so much. The good news is that you have a simple, straightforward and fast option. An option you may not be aware of that many people utilize to sell quickly when speed of sale matters.
Where Can You Get A Cash Offer – Fast? Homestead Road!
In many cases, listing your home with an agent is the best fit for a home seller. However, there are many cases where that option may not be a good fit, such as the ones we listed at the beginning of this article. You should know there is another option — an option that is truly simple and stress-free. At Homestead Road, we buy homes in any condition, as-is so you don’t have to even think about updates, and all the cleaning and repairs. In addition, there are no showings or open houses. Quite simply, we know selling a home can be a lot of work, time, and money and we are simply here to help homeowners move forward, faster so they can get on with their lives. We use a streamlined and transparent process where you’ll be working personally with one of our home sales advisors who live in and know your local community. Best of all, we put your needs first and work on your timeline, and depending on the situation can complete the purchase in as little as a couple weeks. Even better, you’ll be working on your timeline rather than someone else’s like you would with a traditional listing.