Sell Your Home Fast | 5 Tips From a Real Estate Agent

Sell your home quickly for cash | @sctgrhm via unsplash

“I need to sell my home quickly!” I’ve heard that one before. In fact, throughout my career as a real estate agent, I have worked with many clients that need to sell their home fast. However, selling a home in short order for one client may mean within a few weeks; for another, a few months. Generally speaking, the longer you can wait to be paid, the more money you can get for your home.

How Long Does It Take to Sell a Home?

Here is something most people do not realize: In many areas, a competent real estate agent will likely be able to sell your home in 8-10 weeks. This assumes you price your home competitively. In some places, generally rural, there simply is not enough buyer demand during off-peak seasons to sell your home so quickly. Regardless, many homeowners assume it takes months to sell their home, when in reality that is far from the truth.

Using a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home Quickly

Many times, a seller has called my team on a Saturday or Sunday. By the following Wednesday, we had put their home on the market, a turnaround time of less than 100 hours. During such time we arranged to have professional photography and a drone video done. We also prepared the listing sheet and compiled every needed fact about the home. If that sounds easy, I assure you it is not. Each listing requires at least 15-20 hours of dedicated work before we even put it on the market. Larger single-family homes and condos may require additional preparation.

Furthermore, listing your home on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is only one step in the beginning of the sale process. After your home is made public to the online world, an agent still needs to hold broker open houses, open houses for the public, showings etc. If you are fortunate enough to receive an offer, then they have to go through negotiation, inspections, a contingency period, and so forth.

That all being said, if a home is listed at a low enough price, it should be sold quickly. Ask a local agent how long it takes homes in your area to receive an offer (average days to offer (DTO)). If you want to learn how to hire a real estate agent who can help you sell your home quickly, check out this article: How to Find a Real Estate Agent – The Ultimate Guide.

5 Tips to Sell Your Home Quickly

  1. Be upfront with your agent – Many sellers like to keep a distance between their personal lives and real estate agent. That is understandable. However, your agent (the one you signed a listing agreement with) has an ethical duty to look out for your needs. If you need to sell your home fast, be upfront with them.
  2. Declutter – In real estate staging, less is always more. If your home is filled with a lifetime of accumulated trash, dump it. Buyers’ first impressions are key. You do not want that all-cash investor or end-user to skip viewing your home. In fact, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) study, 83% of buyers said that it was, “Easier to visualize a (staged) property as (their) future home.
  1. Accommodate all buyers – Someone wants to view your property at 6pm on a Friday? 9am on a Sunday? Let them in! Regardless of how quickly you need to sell your home, the buyer comes first. Your agent should be your gatekeeper. If they think a buyer is serious, you should let them in when they want to see your home.
  2. Insist on a high, non-refundable down payment – In Massachusetts, like many states, we use two contracts, one after the other, in a real estate transaction. Both contracts include a down payment (as the basics of contract law necessitate). If you need to sell your home quickly, you do not want someone to pull the rug out from under you at the last minute. This is a common real estate tactic scam investors use to take advantage of people in desperate situations. The higher the non-refundable down payment, the less likely a buyer is to walk.
  3. Limit contingencies – Many buyer’s agents like to protect their buyers by throwing in unnecessarily long contingency periods. Contingency periods give buyers an “out”. However, if you can wait for buyers to obtain a mortgage, 4-8 weeks, that will open your property onto substantially more end-users and investors. Likewise, many buyers, especially first-timers, will insist on a home inspection contingency. One way around this: Insist that buyers do a pre-inspection. In other words, ask them to do their inspection before putting in an offer. An inspection only costs a few hundred dollars, so a serious buyer may be willing to do this.

Selling Your Home in a Slow Market

In many regions, the majority of real estate transactions take place at certain times of the year. Two frequent times for real estate sales to occur are the spring and the fall, with subsequent closing occurring in the late fall and late spring and early summer. The spring market coincides with the school year, as many homebuyers want time to close on their home and complete necessary repairs before school starts up again.

A local real estate agent will be able to help you better understand when the ideal time to list your home will be. If you need to sell quickly, you may not have this luxury. Deals still happen during off-peak times, but the buyer pool may be significantly decreased.

Conclusion – Selling Your Home Quickly for All Cash

The faster you need to sell your home, the harder it will be to obtain market value for it. If you need to sell in less than about eight weeks, you will be unable to sell to someone who needs a mortgage. In which case, only a fraction of possible buyers will be able to make an offer.

If you need to sell in less than two or three weeks, even a serious real estate investor may not be able to organize their funds fast enough to complete a deal.

In such cases, some sellers turn to Ibuyers. I never recommend selling to one of these firms, and cannot think of a situation where they would be preferred. I have written an article on these types of buyers. Check it out: Are the “We Buy Houses” Billboards Legitimate? Many times, an Ibuyer will take longer than a traditional investor or end-user to close on your home. Similarly, trying to for sale by owner (fsbo) your home quickly will only make the process that much harder.

When you need to sell your home quickly, always consider utilizing the advice of a trusted real estate agent. They have worked with many homeowners in all sorts of financial and personal situations. An experienced agent will get to work right away on your behalf. Simply pick up the phone and call one of them today.

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