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If you find yourself punching “how fast will my home sell?” into your search bar, you’re not alone. Most home sellers want their home sale process to be quick and painless. Unfortunately for sellers, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty in 2023 has helped to cool the real estate market, leading to fewer offers and increased days on market. Still, it’s not exactly a bad time to be a seller, as over 60% of homes are still selling in under a month. Of course, local market conditions matter, as does the condition of your home and whether you work with an agent or choose to sell to a direct buyer.
Selling your house to a cash buyer
If you need to sell your house fast, you might seek out a direct buyer instead of going the more traditional route of working with an agent. Direct buyers generally purchase property for cash so they can do some work on the home and resell it quickly for a profit. In fact, many of these transactions can happen within a week rather than the 30 to 45 days that most traditional home closings can take.
In exchange for a cash sale and a very fast closing, direct buyers usually will tend to net you less than if you sold with a top agent. However, selling to a direct buyer is often an excellent method for property owners who are looking to sell quickly and with less stress. This can be particularly helpful if you’ve inherited a property or are moving because of a divorce.
An easy way to obtain a quick all-cash offer is through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Just type in your address and answer a few simple questions. We’ll help you maximize your sale with a cash offer in as few as 48 hours that allows you to forego repairs, prep work and open houses and avoids additional fees, commissions, or upfront costs.
Working with a top agent
According to recent data published by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 90% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home. And it’s no wonder — there are plenty of great reasons to work with an agent.
First, real estate agents thoroughly understand how to prepare and price a house or condo to sell quickly in your geographical area. They’ll be able to provide insight on how to upgrade your home, prioritize needed repairs, stage your home for photos and showings, and — crucially — know how to price your home for your market and selling goals.
Second, agents are experts at marketing houses, making sure your listing is reaching potential buyers. The more people who see your home, the better chance you have of selling quickly. “If you have it listed with a Realtor®, [your home] gets so much more exposure” says Tracy Young, a top agent who sells homes 51% faster than the average Waterford agent. In addition to listing to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), agents may use social networking and share listings to reach your target buyers. “It just gets an exponentially larger audience.”
Not sure where to start your search for the right agent to sell your home fast? Just check out HomeLight’s Agent Matching platform. We’ll look at factors like your property and neighborhood to put you in touch with the best top agent in your area who specializes in home sales like yours. What’s more, our data shows the top 5% of agents across the U.S. help clients sell their home for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
Market conditions and time on market
Market conditions directly affect how fast your home will sell. 2021 saw a seller’s market where 29% of buyers paid more than the asking price when they purchased their property. Today, however, a recent HomeLight survey shows only 30% of agents expect a seller’s market in their area and 35% expect a balanced market in 2023.
Of course, market conditions are always evolving. Here are a few ways the market conditions will affect how fast your home will sell:
- The average sale time in your area. To get a sense of how fast your home will sell in your area, use HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell calculator.
- Local housing supply and demand in your area. If there’s a housing shortage in your area, buyers will be more motivated, and you could sell your home faster.
- Seasonality. In most places across the United States, January through March home sales are below average, but sales pick up in the later months of the year. However, this isn’t necessarily true everywhere, so check with your agent.
- Mortgage rates. High mortgage rates can make things harder for buyers to access needed financing. In November 2022, mortgage rates peaked around 7%, a level not seen in decades, though still low by historic standards. In early 2023, rates are around 6.5%
Additionally, keep in mind that buyer expectations may have changed over the last few years. If you work with a top agent, they can help you determine whether your ideal buyer wants amenities like a home office or a nice backyard to expand their living space, and can help you market your home with those preferences in mind.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you can focus on how the condition of your property will affect how fast your home will sell.
Factors to help your home sell faster
1. Updating and upgrading the condition of your property
Many buyers dream of purchasing a move-in ready home. However, buyers will be flexible when they need to. In 2021, as many as 29% of buyers waived their inspection contingency. But in a more balanced market, when buyers have more leverage, sellers need to remember the basics — investing in needed repairs and upgrades, deep cleaning and decluttering their homes, taking professional photos of their homes, and ensuring eye-catching curb appeal.
That’s not to say that all homebuyers are looking for fixer uppers. Some property issues like plumbing, electricity, and HVAC problems must be fixed, and can even hold up a home sale. It’s important that you focus on the right fixes before putting your home on the market.
Remember not to neglect curb appeal — first impressions matter! Recent data shows that spending just under $3500 to boost curb appeal can earn almost $12,000 in additional sale price. Investing a little money in landscaping and a fresh coat of exterior paint can really drive up your listing price.
2. Developing a staging and marketing strategy
In addition to boosting curb appeal, your home’s interior needs to be cleaned, decluttered, and ready for photos and viewings. When done well, cleaning out your home can increase its value by up to 5%.
Once your home is cleaned and staged, you and your Realtor® can begin the marketing process by creating an eye-catching listing. This starts with phenomenal professional photography. 95% of recent homebuyers searched for homes online, so your listing really needs to stand out. Your agent will then use MLS, social media, and other marketing methods to reach as many members of your target audience as possible.
3. Setting an appropriate listing price
If real estate’s golden rule is location, location, location, the second most important consideration may be an accurate listing price. A survey published in 2022 shows that 54% of buyers considered price the most important factor aside from location.
HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator can be a great starting point for understanding your home’s current value. Simply tell us a little bit about your property (the address, type of property, its condition and the year it was built) and how soon you’re looking to sell. However, working with an agent, who will perform a comparative market analysis to hone in on a price, is still a great strategy.. In Young’s experience, if a home shows well and is priced according to the market, “I can usually get [the client] an offer in a maximum of three days.”
4. Identifying your standards for accepting an offer
As the seller, you make the final decision on whether to accept any offer, and that will involve balancing time and money. If a fast home sale is your ultimate goal, you may not walk away with as much than if you’re able to wait until an optimal time to sell or do not want to put any work into the house before putting it on the market.
How fast will your home sell? It depends on you!
Selling a house or condo can be stressful. But partnering with a top agent and getting your home prepped correctly can go a long way to helping make sure your house doesn’t linger on the market. If you’re looking to sell quickly and without the need to fix or stage your home, consider a cash offer from HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform.
Header Image Source: (Peter Yost / Unsplash)
- "Top Agent Insights for New Year 2023," HomeLight (December 2022)
- "December 2021 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: Fewer Buyers Waiving Appraisal, Inspection Contract Contingencies," National Association of Realtors® (January 2022)
- "2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers," National Association of Realtors®, Jessica Lautz et al. (November 2022)