Whether you’re upgrading, downgrading, moving for a job, or are just looking for a change, there are plenty of ways to sell your home. When you’re ready to sell, it’s important to choose an option that gives you the best return on your investment within your desired timeframe.
You can go the traditional route and list it with a low-commission agent. You can go the entrepreneurial route and sell it yourself with the help of for sale by owner (FSBO) websites. You can even get an instant offer online by selling it for cash to an iBuyer.
There is no one-size-fits-all, right or wrong way to sell a home. Choosing the right approach for you depends on your goals and needs from the transaction.
Here’s a look at 12 ways to sell your home to help you find the approach that works best for you.
Related article: How much do real estate agents make?
1. Hire a traditional agent
Most home sellers hire a full-service real estate agent when it’s time to sell. A good real estate agent is an expert in your community who will guide you through the selling process from pre-listing to closing.
A full-service agent is licensed to help you sell your home. Their primary responsibility will be to connect you with prospective buyers. They do this by handling the marketing and advertising of your home. This includes listing your home, staging, photography, listing on websites, advertising, giving tours, hosting open houses, and more.
In addition, as experts in their field, they can help you set a listing price, negotiate offers, and more.
This level of support and expertise comes at a cost. Real estate agents charge a commission cost that typically averages between 2% and 3%. Most sellers are also on the hook for paying the buying agent’s commission as well, which means you can expect to pay between 5% and 6% in commission fees.
2. Use an agent-matching service
If you decide you want to work with a traditional real estate agent, you’ll probably find that there is no shortage of agents to choose from. Selecting the right agent can be daunting without a referral from a trusted friend or family member. That’s where an agent-matching service comes into play.
An agent-matching service, such as Clever Real Estate, HomeLight, Ideal Agent, or My Agent Finder, will connect you to two or three local real estate agents within hours. In most cases, you will receive personalized matches based on your situation, preferences, and requirements.
Select an agent-matching service that has a positive reputation. Those services only work with the best real estate agents, so you know you will be in good hands. As a bonus, look for a service that will offer you a cost-benefit, such as offering you a lower commission rate.
3. Seek out a discount agent
Some sellers opt to work with a discount agent, who is someone who offers their services for a reduced rate, such as Assist-2-Sell or Dave Ramsey ELP Realtors. With a discount agent, you can expect to pay a lower commission rate than the standard percentage.
In some cases, discount agents offer a reduced rate because they are new to the field and building their business. Although this isn’t always a downside, keep in mind that a newer agent may have less experience understanding the market.
Other discount agents offer fewer services than a full-service agent. For example, a discount agent might handle listing your home, while you will be in charge of providing the photography, giving the tours, and advertising your listing. Before you sign on with a discount agent, do your research to find out what trade-offs you will be making for the reduced commission.
4. Work with a flat-fee agent
Although most real estate agents will sell your home for a percentage of your closing price, other agents work for a flat fee. That means they will provide their services in exchange for a set amount regardless of your home’s selling price.
Some flat-fee agents offer a wide variety of services, much like what you will expect from a full-service agent. In other cases, they will provide services a la carte, meaning you pay for whatever services they provide while you handle the other details of marketing and selling your home.
On the plus side, a flat-fee agent can save you money. For example, if they charge $3,000 for their services and you sell your home for $300,000, you’ll save about $5,000 to $6,000 by not paying a percentage. On the downside, you may lose some of the support and expertise you could get from a full-service agent.
5. Sell with a broker
Much like an agent, a real estate broker offers a full menu of services to help you sell your home. In addition, brokers have an extra level of education and licensing that enables them to work independently or to run an agency with a team of agents.
A broker can be particularly valuable in helping you set a listing price. They will know your local market, including what buyers are looking for and the sale price for comparable homes in your current market. With their knowledge, you can set a competitive listing price and one that will give you the greatest return at sale time.
A broker will take the lead on offers and negotiations. They’ll also take care of necessary legal paperwork, including contracts and titles.
As with full-service agents, working with a full-service broker comes with a cost. You can expect to pay a 2% to 3% commission rate along with the commission for the buying agent upon selling your home.
6. Enlist a bargain brokerage firm
Working with a discount broker is another way to save on closing costs while also receiving support to sell your home. Increasingly, more of these services are available online, which means you can get help with a few clicks on your computer.
A top-notch discount broker will provide you full-service support for a discounted rate. For example, Clever Real Estate offers listing fees of $3,000 or 1.5% by negotiating with top-rated agents at traditional brokerages such as Century 21, Keller Williams, and RE/MAX.
Other discount brokerages will offer a reduced rate or a flat fee in exchange for providing fewer services. Be warned: You may end up assuming a lot of the selling responsibilities for yourself to save that money.
Every discount brokerage is unique, so it’s important to know what you are getting in exchange for paying a reduced rate and what you are giving up. Do your research before committing to any brokerage.
7. For sale by owner (FSBO)
For homeowners looking to avoid paying commission fees, selling your own home may be a viable option. Known as for sale by owner, or FSBO, you will be in charge of every aspect of your home sale, including listing, marketing, negotiating, and closing. You can choose FSBO in every state, from Florida to Washington.
Although selling a home yourself means paying less in fees and commission prices, it also requires more effort and knowledge of the real estate market. In addition, you may find your home missing out on potential buyers. Most buyers’ agents show homes listed on multiple-listing services (MLS), which are exclusively available to agents and brokers.
It’s also important to note that although you can save on paying a commission fee to a selling agent, you may still be on the hook for paying a commission fee to a buying agent. You will also have to pay for other costs associated with a home sale, including inspections, title changes, and other closing costs.
However, if you have experience with real estate or contract law, selling your own home can be your first step in building up your real estate investment portfolio.
8. Sell to an iBuyer
Selling to an iBuyer such as HomeVestors, RedfinNow, or We Buy Ugly Houses is one of the fastest, lowest-hassle ways to sell your home. An iBuyer, which stands for internet buyer, will make an offer on your home as-is.
To make the offer, an iBuyer will review the information you provide in an online questionnaire, which takes into account the home’s condition and current market values. Using its proprietary software, the company will make you a cash offer, which you can accept or decline.
Some iBuyer offers will come with contingencies. For example, the offer might change if any major issues come up during an inspection. The iBuyer will assume responsibility for making all of those changes, saving you time, effort, and expense.
Although selling to an iBuyer is fast, you can also expect to receive an offer below what you would get if you put your house on the market. In most cases, you will also have to pay a substantial service fee, which can cut into more of your profits.
9. Work with a wholesaler
Some homeowners need to sell faster than others. Perhaps they just inherited a second property they can’t afford or they’re moving for work and they can’t afford two mortgages. Whatever the reason, using a wholesaler can be a way to sell your home as-is quickly.
A wholesaler will make you a cash offer, typically below market value. They will in turn look for a buyer and sell it for a higher price, keeping the difference as profit for themselves. Unlike real estate investors who will usually fix up a home after buying, they typically sell it as is.
Going with a wholesaler means you will lose out on potential profits for yourself. However, depending on your circumstances, it is a viable option for selling your house quickly and with little hassle.
10. Find a real estate investor
If you are looking to save time and money, then selling your home directly to a real estate investor, such as I Buy Houses, may be a good approach for you. A real estate investor is someone who buys a property and either flips it to sell at a higher price or rents it out.
The benefits of going this route are that you can sell your home more quickly and by skipping much of the traditional selling process, including staging, listing, showing, and negotiating. By working directly with an investor, you can also avoid paying commission fees to buying and selling agents.
The cons of selling to a real estate investor are that it requires more knowledge and experience on your part. You will need connections in the real estate industry to help you find an investor interested in buying. Also, you can expect to sell your home for less than what you would have if you’d listed it on the market. If you are a shrewd negotiator who understands the market, you can sell for the difference in what you would have paid in 5% to 6% commission fees at closing.
11. Become a landlord
Rather than selling your home to a real estate investor, you might want to become one yourself. If you have the means to afford a second mortgage, or if you have already paid off your home, then renting it out to tenants could be a way to build your real estate portfolio.
You can build wealth over time by becoming a landlord. You can use the rent to pay off your mortgage and even build yourself a nest egg.
Being a landlord also comes with a lot of responsibility. You will still need to make sure your home is maintained, and you will need to find responsible tenants. This will either require hands-on involvement or the expense of paying a management property to cover these tasks on your behalf. You also need to set a budget that keeps you afloat during vacancies or tenant turnovers.
12. Turn it into a vacation rental
Home rentals are becoming increasingly popular for travelers, and your home could be an ideal setting for a vacation property. Thanks to websites that connect renters with homeowners, turning your home into a vacation rental has never been easier.
Even if you do not live somewhere considered a typical vacation destination, you may find a high demand for home rentals in your area. This is particularly true if you live near a university, athletic arena, or entertainment venue.
As with renting to traditional tenants, you will need to be able to offer on-site services or outsource them to a management company. You will also want to budget for times when you do not have vacation renters. In addition, every vacation rental coordination service has different requirements, so do your research to make sure you can fulfill your end of the bargain.