Selling a house isn’t typically a fast, easy process, but some circumstances make it necessary to speed things along as quickly as possible.
You have a few unique options to choose from. However, you also have a few things to consider to avoid getting yourself in a bind.
Cash buyers, experienced listing agents, house auctions, and house swaps are all methods that help you sell your house fast, but there are important things to know about each.
Let’s look at how you can sell your house quickly without getting the short end of the stick. Be sure to read our guide from start to finish to avoid leaving money on the table.
How to “Sell My House Fast”
Did you know that the typical sale process takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days? There are several reasons you may want to sell your home faster than that. Those reasons might include:
- Filing bankruptcy
- Experiencing a significant life change (divorce, marriage, death of a loved one, etc.)
- Accepting a job in a new state
- Inheriting a home
- Avoiding foreclosure
- Selling a rental you no longer want to manage
In reality, there are countless other scenarios that classify you as a “motivated seller.” However, these are just the most popular.
Whatever your reason, selling quickly might be your best option. If you don’t have the luxury of time, the traditional home sale process isn’t going to work for you.
Instead, you’ll have a few unique options that can net you a fair price for your home and cut the closing time in half (or less). Let’s look at those options and their pros and cons.
- Selling your home to an interested buyer for cash
- Hiring an agent with enough experience to shorten the sale considerably
- Auctioning your home to the highest bidder (or one who meets your minimum price)
- Swapping houses with another homeowner who is itching to sell
We’ll cover each of these quick-sale methods in more detail below. But first, we’ll explain some of the most popular options you have when seeking answers to the age-old question, “how to sell my house fast.”
Sell Your House for Cash
You’ve probably heard or seen ads for people and companies that buy houses for cash. While some of these ads can come across a bit “scammy,” it’s possible to sell your house for cash to a reputable buyer in record time.
Some iBuyers (instant buyers) will pay you up to 98% of your home’s current market value, but some will offer you pennies on the dollar. The important thing is doing your research.
Zillow Offers is a no-hassle, trustworthy option to sell your house for cash quickly. You can start the process from your computer by entering a few details about your home and uploading a couple of photos.
Zillow will review your home, make a cash offer within a few days, and give you the option to accept or decline it. You don’t need to work with a real estate agent.
And the closing process moves ahead much more quickly because there’s no home staging, cleaning, or repairing your home to put it on the market officially.
Zillow makes all the repairs and renovations needed and puts the home on the market after the sale. Another great iBuyer option is OfferPad, which allows you to receive a cash offer and sign all documents online.
Hire an Agent With Experience
It’s possible to sell quickly by going the traditional route with a real estate agent. The trick is letting your agent know that you’re motivated to get the house sold as fast as possible.
There are several ways you can help the process move along faster. Start with the asking price. Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and Shark Tank investor, says,
Slash the price. Find out what your house is worth by looking at similar properties in the neighborhood and price it 10% below them.
Barbara also recommends offering your agent or broker an incentive for selling your home within an agreed-upon time (if you’re in the financial position to do so).
This could be raising their commission, offering them a short stay at a nice hotel, or giving them a certificate for a day at a spa. But there are simple things you can do to make your agent’s job easier and get your home sold faster.
These include making sure the house is deep-cleaned and free of clutter, that any needed repairs are taken care of, and that any staging materials you use in the home are neutral.
This helps potential buyers envision themselves in the home with their own furniture and decor rather than seeing too much of yours. An experienced agent will be able to make specific recommendations for the sale of your home.
They’ll know the local housing market, what buyers are looking for, and help you avoid some of the pitfalls they’ve seen happen to other sellers.
Working with an agent to sell your house fast won’t happen overnight or even within a week, but using these tips can help you ensure you’re on the low end of that 30- to 60-day time period.
Auction Your Home
It may sound like an extreme option, but auctioning off your home can be a surprisingly good way to sell it fast. Many homeowners are afraid to sell their home at auction because they worry it won’t command the price it deserves during the sale.
That can certainly happen, but as long as you’re careful and take the right steps before auctioning, you can get more than you’d expect for your home.
When you auction your home, you will work with an auction company specializing in auctioning homes (they may hold other types of auctions, too). There are three basic types of auctions, so you’ll decide which best fits your situation:
- Absolute Auction: Property sells to the highest bidder, regardless of the bid amount
- Minimum Bid Auction: The Seller sets a minimum bid to ensure they will leave with at least that amount; the minimum bid is known to bidders
- Reserve Auction: The Seller sets a final minimum price and can decline any bid that doesn’t meet the amount; the minimum price is kept secret from bidders
Before the auction, make sure you’ve got proof of a recent home inspection to show potential bidders. This can help drive bidding up once they know the home isn’t as big of a risk.
It’s wise to go with a minimum bid auction, but it depends on how quickly you need to sell the home. When you set a minimum bid, you can substantially reduce the number of bids you receive.
The most important thing to understand about auctioning your home is that if you choose this option, go in with the full intention of selling the home.
Auction houses charge a no-sale fee if your house doesn’t sell, and while the fee ranges, Concierge Auctions advertises a $35,000 no-sale fee. The last thing you want is to be slapped with an outrageous no-sale fee when you’re trying to sell your house fast!
Keep in mind that some auction houses require you to be represented by a real estate agent to bring the house to auction. This means that in addition to the auction fees, you’ll be paying agent commissions as well.
Aka: Sell My House Fast by Moving Into yours
While it might sound more like a reality show than an option for a quick sale, house swapping might be an option for you.
But sometimes two homeowners want to move at the same time and are interested in each other’s property.
In this case, they can simply swap houses and handle both the sale and purchase of each house at the same time.
This shortens the home sale process considerably, removing the need for dozens of showings and multiple offers on the house, each lower than the last.
How does a house swap work? A homeowner posts their desire to swap houses on a house-swapping site or a site like Craigslist. The post includes photos, details about the home and location, inspection results, etc.
Interested swappers can then reach out with information about their home. If both parties agree and like the other property, the swap can move forward.
How quickly does this happen? One swapper reported that after listing his home online, he immediately got five responses from interested homeowners ready for a change.
Both homeowners will include a clause in their contracts stating that both closings need to happen simultaneously. Everything is done separately (contracts, sale agreements, closing)—it all just happens in tandem.
What happens if one of the homes is worth more than the other? The difference can be made up in cash at the time of closing. It’s not a perfect plan, though.
If you’re in financial distress or underwater on your mortgage (you owe more than the home is worth at this point), you’d have to check with your lender to see if a short sale would be possible.
And while it can cut out some of the frustrating parts of selling your house, it’s not necessarily the fastest way to do it. Other homeowners can back out of the deal late in the process.
In this case, you may be faced with limited options or homes in locations you don’t like, and you could end up swapping for a home that isn’t worth as much as yours.
Is It a Good Idea to “Sell My House Fast”?
Selling your house fast is possible, but when you do so, you “pay” for the speed somehow. That could be a sale price that is below your home’s current market value.
Or, accepting a lower price by selling as-is without the time to make repairs and renovations, or paying fees and commissions that can eat up a big part of the proceeds from the sale of your house.
Depending on your circumstances and reasoning for wanting to sell quickly, these drawbacks may not be of much concern to you.
If you must sell your house quickly, accepting a few thousand under the price you think you could get in exchange for a fast, easy sale may be your best option.
If you’re not in a position that requires you to sell your home quickly, you’re better off going the traditional route and working with an agent to get your house on the market.