You have several options for selling your home for cash: with a realtor, to a cash buyer, or to an iBuyer. The best choice depends on your goals for the sale money, the state of your home, and how quickly you want to close.
Generally speaking, if your priority for a cash sale is the offer price, list with a realtor. If it’s speed, contact a cash buyer. In either case, selling below market value may be necessary to expedite the sale.
iBuyers can offer the best of both worlds, but they operate in limited markets and may not be an option for you.
|Cash sale option||💸 If you're in financial trouble||🏚 If your home's in distress||🚗 If your house is move-in ready|
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List with a realtor to sell for cash
Listing with a realtor may be your best option when you’re facing financial issues. Realtors have the expertise to navigate a cash sale and can access a network of cash buyers and investors.
However, listing with an agent typically takes 50 days to sell, which may not be ideal if you’re looking for a fast cash sale.
You owe more than your home is worth
For example, if your home is worth $300,000 but you owe $325,000 on the mortgage, then you’re underwater — or “short” — on your mortgage by $25,000. Short sales typically sell homes at prices below their fair market values.
You’re at risk of foreclosure
Facing the possibility of foreclosure can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. Selling your house quickly can let you cash in your equity before foreclosure and prevent further financial hardship, such as ruined credit score or lost savings.
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource–certified realtors
Consider searching for an SFR-certified realtor through the National Association of Realtors (NAR). SFR agents are trained to attract cash offers, connect with investors, and negotiate with mortgage lenders to prevent foreclosure altogether.
You face other financial issues, but have more time to sell
When you have the two to three months it typically takes to make for a traditional sale and need to cash in on your home’s equity, a realtor can help you sell at or above the market rate. This can be your best option if you need to downsize, pay off debts, or pay for a big medical expense.
How an agent can help a cash sale:
- Take care of pricing and marketing strategies to maximize your profits
- Factor in how local market conditions affect your timeline
- Tap a network of professionals (e.g., contractors, home stagers, and photographers) to help you close the sale
Tip: Ask your agent for a seller’s net sheet to estimate your sale proceeds.
Sell to a company that buys houses for cash
Buyers could be your best option when keeping your home isn’t an option, regardless of its potential value. For example:
- You can’t afford to maintain or repair your home
- You’re relocating for work and don’t have time to wait for the highest price
- You’ve inherited an unwanted property
A company that buys houses for cash (sometimes called a “we buy houses” company) can often close the sale in as little as two weeks, compared with the two to three months it can take when listing with a realtor. But you’ll sacrifice sale price, typically earning 50–70% of your home’s value.
Cash buyers take houses as is — they won’t ask for property repairs or improvements. By removing these expenses from the equation, you can save time and money and get a smoother transaction.
» COMPARE: Best Companies That Buy Houses for Cash
Your home needs structural repairs and updates
Significant repairs to the roof, HVAC, or plumbing can drain your finances, but they can also cause problems with selling through traditional channels. They might deter potential buyers or disqualify them from financing.
Cash buyers don’t rely on mortgage financing, so the sale is less likely to fall through, giving you a quick and efficient path to close the deal.
You’re relocating for work and need to sell now
If you don’t have the luxury of waiting to sell your home through traditional channels, selling to cash buyers could save you the hassle of finding a realtor and prepping your property for sale. It also puts cash into your hands quickly so you can cover moving expenses or bulk up your savings before the big move.
You’ve inherited an unwanted property
Selling to cash buyers offers a simple solution to paying additional property taxes, insurance, utilities, and other ongoing costs of holding a property. Plus, you won’t have to spend your own money on repairs before selling.
If the property is in good condition, working with an iBuyer instead might get you more money. However, you could avoid capital gains taxes if you sell below market value.
Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyer companies make cash offers on good-condition homes in specific markets, streamlining the home selling process. Unfortunately, because iBuyers operate in limited markets, they may not be an option for you.
Generally, iBuyers offer you 98–99% of your home’s value and charge a 5–6% service fee. That’s about the same as a full-service agent, but it also covers closing costs — so the service fee could be more cost-effective than hiring a realtor.
» COMPARE: Best iBuyer Companies
Your home is move-in ready
iBuyers don’t typically buy fixer-uppers. They focus instead on homes they can turn around and sell quickly. If your home doesn’t need a ton of prep and you want to sell ASAP, an iBuyer could give you the best value.
When selling to an iBuyer, the only improvements your home should need are minor, cosmetic ones, like painting, landscaping, or carpet cleaning. You’ll either make those repairs yourself or have their costs deducted from your final offer price, depending on the iBuyer.
You’re moving and need a fast sale to buy your next home
Because iBuyers usually pay more for your home than cash buyers do, you could buy a new property for a similar price. Plus, many iBuyers also offer home trade-in services, which let you buy before you sell and put your current equity toward a new home right away.