3 ways to sell your house fast
Depending on the time of year, it takes an average of 30–74 days to complete a home sale. But what if that’s not fast enough?
If you need to sell your home quickly, here are your three best options:
Sell to a cash buyer: Cash buyers eliminate the need for a mortgage lender, which greatly accelerates the closing process.
- Good if you need to sell within one to three weeks and don’t mind selling at a lower price or waiving contingencies
- Not ideal if your home is in a hot market or you’re trying to get top dollar
List with the right real estate agent: An experienced real estate agent can increase your pool of potential buyers by listing your home on the MLS, marketing it, and networking with buyer’s agents.
- Good if you want top dollar
- Not ideal if you’re trying to close within two to three weeks
Request an offer from an iBuyer: iBuyers (large venture-backed companies) use technology to buy homes in major housing markets for cash.
- Good if you want to close within a few weeks
- Not ideal if you don’t live in a metropolitan area or you want top dollar for your home
A hassle-free way to explore your options
If you need to sell fast but want to ensure you get a fair deal, Clever Real Estate may be a good place to start. With Clever Offers, a top real estate agent will get you offers from reputable cash buyers. You can then compare the offers with what you could get on the open market.
Your agent will be from a well-known brokerage like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Clever will handpick them for you based on customer reviews and sales history.
If you decide to list with your agent instead of accepting a cash offer, you’ll get the added benefit of saving on realtor commissions — $7,000 on average.
Clever’s service is free, and there’s no obligation to work with its agents. Compare your options!
Option 1: Sell your home to a cash buyer
|How quickly can you get an offer?||3–7 days|
|Average closing time||1–3 weeks, often flexible|
|% of market value paid||50–85%|
|Who it's best for||Homeowners with hard-to-sell properties who need immediate cash|
|The catch||You'll be offered significantly less than market value|
Offers from an all-cash buyer aren’t conditioned on securing a mortgage, so cash buyers can often close in less than two weeks. By contrast, it can take weeks — sometimes longer — for lenders to order and review just the home appraisal. And that’s only one step of the mortgage process.
Most cash buyers are investors looking to resell the property quickly. So they need a substantial discount (15–50%) from the fair market value for the deal to make sense. In exchange for this discount, the buyer usually waives the right to contingencies, inspections, walk-throughs, appraisals, repairs, and title insurance.
Although a no-obligation cash offer can sound risky to sellers, it can actually be a major advantage for some people. For example, if you have a house in poor condition, it might be hard to sell conventionally. But a seasoned real estate investor can look past the property’s faults and see the opportunity.
If you want cash offers ASAP, consider signing up for Clever Offers. You can compare fair cash offers from local home-buying companies. And you can get an accurate home valuation to know what your home is really worth.
How does selling to a cash buyer work?
Cash buyers generally fall into two categories:
|"We buy houses" companies||Companies (rather than individuals) that pay cash for houses|
|Real estate investors||Landlords and house flippers who purchase properties as investments|
You can usually request an offer from a “we buy houses” company by doing a quick Google search and submitting your home’s information online or over the phone.
If you want to tap into the broader investor community, that often requires some marketing. You might want to enlist the help of an agent who knows how to market to local and national investors, and who may even have an investor network in their database.
» LEARN MORE: How Do I Sell My House Fast for Cash?
If you need a fast house sale, don’t discount working with an agent to put your home on the market. Even if your house isn’t in the greatest condition, the open market offers the greatest chance of reaching multiple qualified buyers.
Option 2: How to sell your house fast with a realtor
|How quickly can you get an offer?||Varies by market and time of year|
|Average closing time||30–45 days (can be faster depending on buyer financing)|
|% of market value paid||100%+|
|Fees||5–6% commission, split between listing and buyer's agents|
|Who it's best for||Homeowners who want guidance and support through the selling process|
|The catch||A lot hinges on market conditions, so there's no guarantee of selling on your exact timeline|
If you need to sell fast but don’t want to give away your home value to do it, consider listing with a top local real estate agent.
The bottom line is this: agents sell homes for more money. That’s mainly because they’re experts in pricing, marketing, and negotiations. In 2021, agent-assisted home sales went for a median sale price of $318,000, while homes listed by the owner sold for a median of $260,000.
Although a real estate agent can’t predict exactly when your home will sell, the most experienced agents know how to price and market homes to attract offers quickly.
Most home sellers pay 5–6% in real estate agent commissions, about half of which goes to the buyer’s agent — but you can secure a top real estate agent for much less.
Clever Real Estate can connect you with top-performing agents who offer full service for pre-negotiated listings fees of just 1.5%. Clever’s free agent matching service allows you to screen and interview as many real estate agents as you like until you find the right fit.
With Clever, sellers save an average of $7,000 on real estate commissions while getting the highest standards of service from a top agent in their area.
What to look for in a real estate agent
An estimated 3 million real estate agents are in the U.S. These agents offer vastly different levels of experience, expertise, and professionalism. To sell your home quickly, you’ll want a full-service provider with a reputation as a top-selling agent in your area.
Here’s what to look for:
|🎯 Deep local market knowledge||An agent with local expertise will have a good understanding of what's selling in the area and will know how to market your home to the right buyers.|
|📈 High level of sales activity||For a lot of agents, real estate is a part-time gig. When scoping out realtors, look for a minimum of 10 real estate sales per year.|
|⚡ Shorter-than-average days on market||If your realtor's past listings are on the market for fewer days than the average, chances are they know how to price and market a home to sell quickly. Note: You can find averages on Zillow data.|
|🔍 Familiarity with your property type and price range||Only compare agents who are familiar with the type and price of property you're selling. Selling a cookie-cutter home in a new development takes different skills than selling a 30-acre farm.|
Apart from a strong history of recent, comparable sales in your area, you want to find an agent with a hustle mentality — someone who comes in with a clear plan and goes beyond the MLS to market your home.
Option 3: Sell to an iBuyer
|How quickly can you get an offer?||24–48 hours|
|Average closing time||As little as 7 days, flexible|
|% of market value paid||98–99%|
|Who it's best for||Homeowners who'd rather avoid the home selling process and have a fairly typical home in a major metro market|
|The catch||Strict purchase criteria; only available in certain markets|
iBuyers are large, venture-backed companies that purchase homes for cash and resell them on the open market. iBuyers typically offer a higher percentage of fair market value than home flippers and can often close in as little as seven days after the offer is accepted. They also have no real estate commissions.
However, iBuyers charge service fees of 5% or more, plus deductions for repairs, which could result in you walking away with less than if you sold with an agent on the open market — even after paying a full commission.
Apart from the fees, iBuyers have strict criteria for the homes they purchase — including the neighborhood, age, home condition, and property type. They’re also available only in select markets.
If you decide an iBuyer is right for you, we recommend getting offers from several companies so you can compare.
» LEARN: What Is an iBuyer?
Also consider: Buy-before-you-sell services
Unlike iBuyers, which purchase properties outright to resell them for a profit, home trade-in companies don’t actually aim to buy your home. Instead, they front you the money to make an up-front cash offer on a new home, then help you list and sell your old home on the open market once you move.
While the overall process takes longer than simply selling to an iBuyer, you don’t need to wait until your home sells to move. Instead, you can move into your new house right away and let an agent take care of prepping, marketing, showing, and selling your old one.
You can make competitive cash offers based on the equity you’ve built up in your current home, AND you’ll likely also get a lot more money when you sell — especially considering that home trade-in services usually provide the funds for repairs and cosmetic improvements before you list.
While iBuyer Opendoor has started offering trade-in services, Knock and Orchard are our two top picks for homeowners interested in exploring the option to buy before you sell.
When you need to sell fast, finding an agent with a proven track record of helping people through situations like yours can make a huge difference in the outcome.
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More tips to sell your house fast
To write this piece, we asked more than a dozen real estate agents to share their winning strategies for helping clients sell homes fast. Here’s some of their best advice:
- Get an inspection
- Clean and declutter
- Use social media marketing
- Price to sell
- Sell at the right time
- Review offers closely
🔍 Get a home inspection before you list
Failed inspections are among the top reasons that home sales fall through. To counter this risk, Baron Christopher Hanson of Coldwell Banker suggests spending a few hundred dollars getting an owner’s inspection and making the information readily available to buyers and their realtors.
Chances are, a home buyer’s inspection will reveal the same flaws. So, says Baron, “instead of keeping your property’s secrets under wraps, be fully up front and transparent about your home’s physical condition.” That way, you can price the home as is and avoid the back-and-forth negotiations that can cost precious time, or worse, result in the buyer backing out of the sale. Know what’s worth fixing (and what’s not).
In the end, skipping repairs and adjusting the price lower could actually be better for your bottom line.
🧹 Clean and declutter
Realtor Cheryl Cardamon recommends putting your effort into high-impact touch-ups to increase curb appeal as opposed to major renovations or upgrades.
“Buyers want to see clean and ready-to-go homes,” said Cheryl. “Sellers should focus on cleaning, decluttering, fixing minor repairs, and freshening up the interior with paint.”
👀 Inspire interest before the home goes on the market
Selling a home fast often means drumming up interest from the get-go.
“To get a home sold quickly,” says Sue LaGree, a licensed RE/MAX agent based in Clearwater, FL, “use a real estate agent from a large, reputable firm. They have access to thousands of more realtors, web pages, and publicity tools to get the home sold quickly and for the best price.”
Sue recalls working with an older client whose health suddenly declined. Her family helped her find an assisted living facility, but she needed the proceeds from the sale of her home in order to afford it.
Since time was of the essence, Sue immediately got to work getting the house ready for showings, including taking video to go with the listing. She then focused on getting the word out using a combination of social media, realtor referral sites, personal networking, and the MLS.
While completing the prep work, Sue reached out to dozens of potential buyers she had been actively working with, plus more than 100 agents in her office, to tell them that the home was coming soon. She had multiple offers within the first few days of listing — including some in cash.
💰 Price to sell
“Many homeowners make the mistake of pricing their home too high, thinking that they’ll be able to negotiate down to a lower price later,” says Realtor Jennifer Murtland. “However, this usually just results in their home sitting on the market for longer than it needs to. When this happens the buyers feel like something is wrong with the house.”
Jennifer recommends pricing a home at or slightly below its valuation to generate interest, encourage multiple offers, and get potential buyers through the door. “This may seem like a risky move,” she says, “but it’s often the best way to sell a home fast and for the highest amount.”
📆 Pick the right time to list
John Gluch, a top real estate agent in Scottsdale, AZ, suggests that Thursday is the best day to list a home. “Web traffic on large home listing sites peaks on Thursdays, as buyers begin looking in earnest for homes they might want to see over the weekend. We almost always list homes on Thursdays before noon to capitalize on the midafternoon and evening spike in traffic.”
Listing on a Thursday also sets you up for a three-day timeline, enabling you to start showings on Friday, get offers on Saturday, and execute a purchase contract on Sunday.
👓 Review offers closely
When you’re tight on time, the highest offer might not always be the best. JC Young, who has more than a decade of experience selling real estate in North Texas, suggests looking at a range of factors:
- Option period: The amount of time a buyer has to back out without penalty — shorter is generally better.
- Earnest money: The cash deposit a buyer puts down on a house to take it off the market — a larger deposit is generally better insurance against a sunken deal.
- Contingencies: Conditions written into home purchase contracts. In some cases, buyers waive contingencies to remove red tape and make their offer stand out.
- Lender reputation: Whether they are known and vetted. When reviewing offers, agents might steer you toward lenders known for getting deals closed quickly.
- Financing: A buyer who pays cash or is already underwritten by their lender can close within three weeks after signing the purchase agreement — much faster than the 30–45 day average.
If you need to sell your home fast, you have options
There’s more than one way to sell a home fast. The best strategy for you depends on your situation. If your home needs too much work to sell quickly through a traditional sale, selling as is to a cash buyer may be the best method. Similarly, an iBuyer is good for a quick, guaranteed sale when you have a fairly cookie-cutter home and want to avoid showings and negotiations.
That said, we recommend talking to an agent who can walk you through your options. They’ll provide you with an estimate of your home value so you can compare it against offers. They’ll also advise you on the best strategy for meeting your timeline without sacrificing your bottom line.
After consulting with an agent, no matter which option you choose, you can rest assured that you’re making an informed decision.
FAQ about selling a home fast
How can I make my house sell faster?
If speed is your top priority, selling to a company that buys houses for cash (such as a “we buy houses” company) will get you a near instant offer — though typically only 50–85% of fair market value — and you can close in about a week.
If you don't want to sacrifice a lot of equity, a realtor who knows your local market and has experience with fast sales is your best bet for getting fair market value — quickly!
How much do you lose selling a house as is?
When you sell your house as is to a cash buyer company, you can expect to take a loss of 15–50%. However, on the open market, you may be able to drive up the sale price by listing below market value and attracting multiple competing offers.
When's the best time to sell a house fast?
Homes sold in spring tend to get offers faster than homes put on the market at other times in the year. However, local market conditions impact how quickly houses sell. If there’s excess inventory in your market — that is, if available homes outnumber buyers — your sale might take longer. Learn how realtors market homes to sell fast at any time of year.
How do I sell my house in 30 days?
To sell your house in 30 days, focus on small repairs and projects that will boost curb appeal (deep cleaning, fresh coat of paint, opening windows for as much light as possible). Then list your home with an agent who can price it competitively and drum up buyer interest.
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Top 3 iBuyer Companies to Know: We vetted the top three leading iBuyer companies to help home sellers choose the best fit.
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How to Sell Your House in 12 Simple Steps: Read this home selling guide, broken into 12 clear steps, to to learn more about home sale process and prepare for your big sale.