What Can I Do if I Need to Sell My House Fast?
If you have ever gone through the process of selling your house, then you know exactly how difficult and stressful it can be, not to mention time-consuming. Now, what if you were forced to add to that stress because you need to sell your house fast?
Many homeowners find themselves in a situation where they need to sell fast. You may discover yourself in this very predicament because you just accepted a new job, are going through a financial hardship, or are experiencing an unexpected life event. Maybe you’re just tired of having that rental property or you recently inherited a house that you don’t have the time or energy to keep up with.
Luckily, we have just the guide for you that provides options and guidance that can alleviate some, or even all, of that burden. Whether this is your fifth time selling property or your first, we’ve got you covered! The way we look at it, the best way to make a sound decision is to ensure you have all the necessary information available to do so.
The good news is you do have options. There is more than one way to sell a house, even if you’re in a difficult situation. You can:
- List your home on the MLS with a local, experienced realtor.
- Request an all-cash offer on your house from a trusted investor, like Virtue Real Estate Services.
- Take the market on yourself by listing FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
- Contact a national iBuyer to receive an offer.
- Auction your house off to the highest bidder.
Now let’s discuss each of these five options in detail so you can decide which direction is best for you and your unique situation. If you’re saying “I need to sell my house fast,” then this guide is just for you. In the end, it’s our hope that you will be able to choose a path confidently and get your home sold quick!
Listing With A Real Estate Agent
This is without a doubt the most common way to sell a house. Real estate agents act on your behalf to facilitate the sale of your house and in return, you pay them a portion of the proceeds from the sale at closing.
Why Would I Use A Real Estate Agent?
Your agent will handle all the paperwork, the negotiations (with your approval of course), coordinate showings, and get you to the closing table. A listing agent is going to work to sell your house for the highest amount that the market is willing to pay because, at the end of the day, they’re motivated to. A real estate agent gets paid based upon what the house sells for so the higher the sales price, the more commission they receive.
How Do I Pick A Real Estate Agent?
These days, there are real estate agents everywhere and it can be a bit of a daunting task to pick one that will work well with you and provide quality services. In fact, according to an article by The Motley Fool, there are currently more realtors than homes for sale. That can make things difficult when it comes to finding an agent to list your home.
You want to make sure the agent you pick has a proven track record. You don’t want an agent with little or no experience, that’s a great way to have your house sit on the market for a while. Social media is a great way to find an agent. Most well-known agents these days stay active on social media, so they are not difficult to find, and you’ll often find reviews from past clients.
How Does an Agent Help Me Sell My House Fast?
An agent cannot control the conditions of the market. Real estate is cyclical and is based upon supply and demand. When inventory is low and there are more buyers than sellers, selling your house is usually much faster. But when things are reversed, it’s not uncommon for homebuyers to be selective, which will keep your house on the market for long, which is not exactly ideal for those of you saying, “I need to sell my house fast.”
Although these conditions are out of an agent’s control, there are several items that an agent can control. Your agent should help you in making necessary repairs to prepare your home for going on the market. Now we’re not saying that your agent should be on their hands and knees helping you replace your kitchen flooring. What we mean is a good agent will have trusted contractors they know that can get the work done on time and at a reasonable price.
An agent should also be able to coordinate getting your home staged and professional pictures were taken, should you choose to do so, to make your home more marketable and appealing to potential buyers. A good agent will have these contacts on speed dial and will be ready to get your home on the market as soon as possible, although it will not all happen at the snap of a finger. Coordinating these items will take time and it’s important to understand that. Even the best agents won’t have your house ready to go the very next day.
How Much Will Hiring an Agent Cost Me?
Typically, as the seller, you can expect to pay your real estate agent a commission of 3% of the total sales price. In addition, it is customary for the seller to also pay the buyer’s agent’s commission, which is usually another 3%. So, when you do decide to list your home with an agent on the MLS, you can expect to pay around 6% of the final sales price in commissions.
For example, let’s say you sell your house for $300,000. Of that $300,000, you can expect to pay $18,000 just in real estate commissions. This does not include what you will also have to pay in closing costs. Closing costs are usually an additional 1-3% of the sales price or $3,000-$9,000 in this example.
We also have a great blog post discussing this exact topic that you may want to check out. That post is titled, “5 Hidden Costs of Working With a Real Estate Agent.”
Now that we’ve gone over the ins and outs of using a real estate agent to list your home, let’s discuss another option that allows you to sell your house fast and hassle-free.
Requesting An All-Cash Offer
Let’s say you’ve just inherited a house but it’s across town, or maybe even in another state, and you just don’t have the time and energy to keep up with the maintenance.
You know the roof has a leak and the kitchen and bathrooms are outdated. You’ve come to the conclusion that the fast cash infusion from selling the house would be much more beneficial than keeping it. Plus, you also don’t want to spend the money fixing the place up to list it on the market and you definitely don’t want to deal with nagging tenants and constant upkeep.
Just thinking of coordinating with contractors to make the repairs and prep the house, the cleaning, staging, multiple showings, and ongoing negotiations are making your head spin. It just doesn’t sound appealing, not to mention fast. But what if there was a way to sell that house without doing a single thing? And what if you didn’t have to pay any commissions or closing costs either?
For more on what to do when you inherit a house, take a look at our blog post titled, “Inheriting A House – What To Do!” discussing the topic in greater detail.
Local investors are looking for houses just like that in your area. Investors, such as Virtue Real Estate Services, will buy your house in its current condition without you ever need to fix it up, make any repairs, hire an agent, or even clean the place. And because it’s a cash offer, there is no waiting for a lender’s approval. These buyers can close on your house in 30 days or less on average.
Do I Get Full Price For My House?
So, the big question is, how much will I get for my house selling it off-market? The offer you receive from a cash buyer will typically be slightly lower than what you would get selling on the market. Essentially, you are trading some equity for speed and convenience. Cash buyers are investors, and they need to make money to be able to operate and provide this option to you. A reputable cash buyer will provide you with the facts and create a win-win situation that leaves you happy with the outcome and allows them the opportunity for a solid investment.
How Do I Find A Cash Buyer?
There are fantastic investors out there that want to help you but just like every industry, there are investors who are only in it for themselves. There are many people that claim to be cash buyers out there that simply are not. There are also others who will prey on those who are in difficult situations. It is important to do your research when looking for a cash buyer to work with, just as you would when finding an agent. The best way is to simply look them up. A strong cash buyer will have a professional-looking website and will have a social media presence. Look for any reviews or updates they have posted on their social media accounts. Some may even be accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
The Different Types of Cash Buyers
Not every cash buyer is the same because not everyone invests the same way. Some of these direct buyers purchase to hold the property for the long term while others may want to fix and flip it. Even then, one investor may like to take on properties that need a complete renovation while others may prefer to do lighter rehabs that involve cosmetic updates and minor work.
It’s also important to know that not every cash buyer will present you with the same offer. While some cash buyers may offer better pricing, another may be able to close much faster or even sight unseen while having a better track record to show for.
At the end of the day, a cash buyer will be able to provide you with more flexible closing date and will allow you to sell your house hassle-free. If you’re looking for a quick solution to selling your property, a cash buyer is often your best option.
Listing Your Home As FSBO
Many homeowners who choose to go the For Sale By Owner route do so for one simple reason, saving money. As a seller, the opportunity to save anywhere from 3-6% you would otherwise be paying to a real estate agent is very tempting. This does require you to have at least some knowledge of the market and the real estate industry but if you feel comfortable, it could save you some of that money.
This option is certainly not convenient, and it may not bring you absolute top dollar on your overall sales price, but it does allow you to control the sale of your home from start to finish. If you educate yourself on the required paperwork, have a good mind for marketing, are comfortable negotiating and talking to other agents, and have a desire to be completely involved in the process it isn’t a bad option.
It is important to understand that there is a reason most people do not elect to go this route when selling their house. It’s intimidating to many, but it is also time-consuming, and it is often much slower. When you are selling your house For Sale By Owner, you are working on the potential buyer’s watch, not your own. So, when it comes to selling your house fast, this might not be the best route to go.
Of course, selling your house on your own is perfectly legal. It’s your property and you can sell it in whatever way you choose. However, you will want to do your due diligence before listing. This may entail researching online and getting familiar with real estate terminology as well as consulting with a real estate attorney. You will want to know and understand certain contingencies in a contract and how to properly negotiate specific terms.
Do I Still Need to Pay For The Buyer’s Agent?
Another thing to consider when selling your house as FSBO would be to offer to cover the buyer’s agent commission. By doing so, you will attract more agents and they may be more willing to persuade their clients into looking at your property. It does mean you’re giving up some of that money you planned on saving, but at the end of the day, you want as much exposure as you can get when selling your house on the open market.
What Are iBuyers?
The fourth option for those of you saying, “I need to sell my house fast,” would be to turn to an iBuyer. An iBuyer is often a national home buyer that is backed by venture capital funding and looking to purchase houses in specific areas. They can close on your timeline, and they do make the process simple.
Do iBuyers Buy Any Type of House?
Most iBuyers today are only purchasing in specific areas, such as large cities, and will only look at houses that fall within a certain criterion. They rely heavily on data to make purchases but if your house falls within their purchasing parameters, you could have an easy sale.
When it comes to iBuyers, they are not looking to purchase houses to flip and resale, rather they tend to make their money from fees, such as transactional and processing fees. Most iBuyers charge higher fees than you would see when selling your house on the market. Because they are buying houses at such a large volume, the revenue they make from the fees alone makes the process worth it for them.
It is important to understand the higher fees before accepting an offer with an iBuyer. Typically, an iBuyer will present you with an offer that is close to or at market value for your property. So, on the surface, it will look like you’re making more than what you will actually walk away with from the closing table.
To see how an iBuyer stacks up to a local home buyer in more detail, check out our blog post titled, “How an iBuyer Compares to a Local Home Buyer.”
Regardless, if you can receive an offer that is attractive to you, selling to one of these companies can be a stress-free way to sell your house. Aside from the convenience and simplicity, most of these companies also provide interesting features, such as allowing you to buy your next home from them before selling your current one. This allows you to not have to worry about where you’ll go once you sell which can be a huge advantage for some people!
Placing Your House on The Auction Block
Not every house that gets put up for auction is there because of a foreclosure. Yes, your local city or county does have a property auction every so often for properties foreclosed on due to back taxes, but they have a reason. Home auctions are a quick and easy way to get a property sold. Going this route allows you to know the date your house will be sold and allows you to be almost entirely hands-off.
If you’re interested in reading more about the foreclosure process, take a look at our post titled, “Understanding the Foreclosure Process” where we what a foreclosure is and the different stages of the procedure.
Will I Get Top Dollar Auctioning My House?
When setting the starting bid price for your house, it’s best to start a little lower than the true market value of the house. This will allow your house to get more interest and hopefully bring in more competition, driving the bid prices up. However, this does not guarantee that you will get the amount the house is worth.
Worth The Risk to Auction?
Placing your house up for auction does come with risk. There is certainly the possibility that you get stuck selling your house for less than the house is worth. On top of that, although the process is mostly hands-off, it may take a little longer than most would believe. When selling your house this way, you can expect to close in anywhere from 30-60 days.
There are certainly some positives and negatives that come with selling using each of these methods. Now that we’ve discussed the five primary ways to sell a house fast, let’s dive into how to price your house accordingly.
How To Price Your House
So, you’ve made the decision on how you’re going to sell your house, nice work! Now how do you decide what fair market value is for your house? This is going to take a little research and number crunching.
To understand how to price your house appropriately, you will need to have a plan of action in place. For instance, if you intend on making some necessary repairs, updates, or full-scale renovations, you can expect to get a little more for your property. On the other hand, if you wish to sell your house in its current condition without making any repairs and updates, then you cannot expect to get as much as your neighbor that just updated their kitchen and baths.
When pricing your house, you will want to look at what similar properties have sold for in your neighborhood or immediate area. This means looking at houses with similar square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the year the home was built, whether it has a basement, etc. These factors are crucial when gathering information to conclude what your house is worth.
It is critical that you don’t overprice your house. Pricing your house too high will scare potential buyers away and will reduce the number of offers you receive, or even eliminate the possibility of a sale. At the same time, you don’t want to walk away from the sale feeling like you could have gotten a little more for your house. You want to identify the price that will get your home sold fast while not leaving you feeling taken advantage of.
Do I Have to Make Repairs?
Pricing your house also has a lot to do with what means the most to you. If you don’t mind waiting 60-90 days, or even more, to sell your house then you can go for top-dollar and wait for the right buyer. If time is an important factor, which is the reason you’re reading this, then pricing a little lower will help attract more potential buyers and will allow you to sell your house in a shorter time frame. It all really depends on when you would like to set that closing date.
Another important factor to consider is whether you will be willing to make repairs, even after listing. Sure, you can decide that you’re not going to put any money into your house prior to listing it on the market but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of the clear just yet. When selling your property on the market you can expect there to be an inspection period. During this period, the buyer can request that you make any repairs identified during the formal inspection. This can drag the sale on for weeks and sometimes even months. It’s also a big reason for deals falling through as either you or the buyer decides to walk away if one or the other won’t budge on a particular item. To avoid this inspection period, you can attempt to sell the property in “as-is” condition.
One huge advantage of selling your property to an investor is that they will buy your property in “as-is” condition. What this means for you is that you won’t have to make any repairs whatsoever to the property. Most investors will still get an inspection done but this is for informational purposes only and anything that comes up during the inspection does not give them grounds to negotiate for you to fix it.
Quick & Easy Home Repairs
Now let’s say you do want to make some minor repairs that you anticipate will either come up in the inspection or you feel will add some much-needed value. The area of the house that will give you the most bang for your buck is going to be the kitchen and bathrooms. Remember, it’s the little things that count here and quick and easy repairs fit the bill when you find yourself saying, “I need to sell my house fast.”
By simply adding new fixtures such as lights and faucets, you can change the look of a kitchen or bathroom. Cabinets are also important so if you have any cabinets with loose hinges, drawers that don’t slide properly, or missing knobs go ahead and make those adjustments. A fresh coat of paint or a new stain on some cabinets will also go a long way.
In addition, if you know of any water leaks coming from under a sink or bathtub it would be best to address that prior to listing your house. Walls and ceilings are also some important and typically low-cost adjustments you can make. If you have any holes in the walls or ceiling, make sure you get those patched up. Adding a fresh coat of paint will also improve the look and feel of a room for a relatively inexpensive price tag.
Catching The Buyer’s Eye
Marketing is everything when it comes to selling your house. If you want to attract a lot of interested parties to buy your house fast, you need it to stand out from the rest of the crowd. One great way to stand out is by giving your house some curb appeal. A great first impression will go a long way for a quick sale.
Investing in trimming up any existing shrubbery and laying fresh mulch in the flower beds are great ways to add some much-needed appeal. Pressure washing the house, sidewalk, and fence (if you have one) will also go a long way in freshening up the outside of your house getting rid of any noticeable dirt, grime, and mildew that builds up over time. Another item that’s inexpensive but will be a huge benefit to curb appeal would be to paint any existing shutters and handrails.
Now that your house looks inviting from the street, it’s time to add that wow factor. Staging your house is another proven way to increase the perceived value of your home. In addition, it allows most buyers to envision how the house could be set up. Most buyers won’t be able to picture how furniture should be positioned when the house is empty. Staging your house can be relatively cheap if you decide to give it a shot on your own but there is nothing quite like hiring an experienced, proven professional for this. A good stager will make you think twice about selling once they’re done!
Of course, cleaning up your yard, making the outside of your house look picture perfect, and staging your house are no easy tasks. This step takes both time and money, something not everyone has. If your goal is to sell your house fast and skip the hassle, you can always sell to an investor. You don’t need to lay mulch, trim bushes, or stage your house for an investor. Honestly, you don’t even need to clean the place when you sell to a cash buyer.
If only selling your house was as easy as contacting someone who already wants to buy your house and agreeing to a fair price without wasting any time, energy, or money. It’s good to dream sometimes, right? Well, you could do exactly that if you contact Virtue Real Estate Services…
But if you choose to take on the market by either listing with an agent or as FSBO, you’ll need to have a strategy. Especially if you’re in a position where you’re saying, “I need to sell my house fast.” You can’t let all of that hard work go to waste by not having a strategy in place for going live. After all, none of the prior steps will do anything for you until you put your house on the market for others to see.
A listing strategy should be based on the condition of the market in your local area. There are many factors to consider when planning your strategy such as items that you’ll be willing to negotiate and those that you’re not, the time of the year you plan on listing, and how long you’ll give buyers to submit an offer.
An important item you’ll want to discuss with your realtor is what you’ll be open and willing to negotiate with a potential buyer and what you will not. This is critical because you will want to make any non-negotiable items known in the original listing for potential buyers to see. As a word of caution, the less you’re willing to negotiate from the beginning, the less interest you will most likely receive from buyers.
Time Is Money
Traditionally, the best time of the year to list a house is during the spring. That’s not to say that you will be unable to sell your house during the winter, but houses tend to sell faster in the springtime. The fact of the matter is that people just aren’t thinking about moving during the winter months with colder weather and holidays.
When deciding on your non-negotiable terms and what time of the year you’re going to sell, it’s critical to understand what type of market you’re selling in. During a seller’s market, you hold more power when it comes to negotiations and in terms of how aggressive you can be. When there is high demand for your property you can expect to get more for your house as, in theory, more people will want to buy it, creating competition!
When demand is high and competition between buyers is running rampant, you could choose to set a date to review offers. This gives the highest number of buyers a chance to view your house and submit a strong offer knowing that others are out there on the market. It also allows you as the seller to pressure a buyer into thinking you hold multiple offers, even if you don’t!
On the flip side, if demand is down and there just aren’t very many buyers looking to purchase a home, you may want to take whatever offer you can get. Just remember, real estate is cyclical. There are times when it’s a clear-cut seller’s market and there are times when buyers have plenty to choose from.
Alternatively, there will always be an investor who’s willing and able to purchase your property regardless of market conditions. A good investor is simply looking to create a win-win solution where you get your home sold fast and get a property that they can either flip or rent. By selling to an experienced group of professionals, like Virtue Real Estate Services, you won’t have to wonder if your house will just sit on the market for months on end. You can be closing on your property in as little as 30 days!
Does Hesitating Hurt?
We have discussed a number of ways in which you can sell your house fast. This may seem a little overwhelming at first, but we feel that after understanding all of your options you will be well equipped to make the right decision. If you need just a little nudge to get you over the edge, consider reading our article title, “How Much is Hesitating to Sell Your House Costing You?” This article will provide you with some bonus insight on how hesitation could be costing you money unnecessarily.
It’s important to understand which route is best for you and your unique situation but make sure you don’t get caught up in what we like to call, “analysis paralysis.” Make an informed decision but be sure to execute! After all, you’re reading this article because you’ve said, “I need to sell my house fast.”
The Bottom Line
In the year 2021, you have more options than ever before when it comes to selling your house. Whether you want to list your home on the MLS with a local realtor, request an all-cash offer on your house from a trusted investor, take the market on yourself by listing FSBO, contact a national iBuyer to receive an offer, or sell your house at auction, the choice is yours. All of these methods can get your house sold quickly, although as we’ve discussed, some can much faster than others.
You want to shape your sales process around your wants and needs when the time comes to sell your house. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to sell your house fast, contact us at Virtue Real Estate Services! We specialize in getting your house off your hands regardless of the situation you find yourself in. Whether you’re days away from tax foreclosure, have an unwanted house you inherited, you’re relocating to a new state and need the cash for your new place, or you’re just looking to downsize, we can help.
If you find yourself saying, “I need to sell my house fast” then contact us today! We are here to help you sell your house fast and hassle-free.