At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.
Life is always one event away from major change. A job relocation, financial problems, divorce, a new baby, or other pressing motivation could mean you need to sell your house fast — let’s say, 5 days flat. Is this type of lightning-quick sale possible?
Depending on the market, homes take anywhere from 23 days to 50 days or longer to get a signed purchase contract. So if you’re able to get an offer in a fraction of that time, you’ll be overcoming some pretty steep odds. However, it’s not unheard of for properties to go under contract in 5 days or less — if the seller can find or create the right equation.
“For a quick sale, the most important thing is making your home the home that everybody wants to buy. That’s it!” advises Lisa Hudson, part of the top-performing Toril Schoepfer team that works with nearly 70% more single-family homes than the average agent in their Washington State market. “Real estate is like psychology. It’s being strategic about launching your home and making sure it garners a lot of interest.”
Hudson explains that to get buyers to want your home and want it now, you need to execute its pricing, marketing, and timing perfectly. We’ve rounded up the hottest tips for hitting all these notes, so you can learn how to sell your house in 5 days flat.
Get a cash offer for your home
If you need to sell your house in 5 days, consider bypassing the traditional real estate process and selling your home to a cash buyer instead.
This method cuts out a lot of time-consuming steps, including:
- No pre-listing preparations or repairs
- No showings
- No open houses
- No home appraisal
- No financing contingency or delays
For most buyers, it takes approximately 45 days to close on a purchase loan, according to data from ICE Mortgage Technology. So, even if you sign a purchase offer in 5 days, you’ll likely still face a significant waiting period when working with a financed buyer.
If you’re unable or unwilling to wait that long, HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform provides a great alternative solution for sellers who need to move quickly by facilitating cash offers on its platform.
Enter your address and answer a few basic questions about your property, and HomeLight will provide you with a cash offer to buy your home in a matter of days. Sell your house as-is — with no additional repairs, prep costs, agent commission, or fees. With Simple Sale, you can close in as little as 10 days.
Hire an agent who moves homes fast
Not interested in a direct cash offer? Then you need an all-star agent — and fast. Since you’re in a hurry, don’t waste time browsing through lists of hundreds of possible agents. Take a targeted approach and let HomeLight do the work for you.
We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs. Tell us a bit about your home and selling timeline through a short questionnaire. Within two minutes, we’ll match you with the top real estate agents in your area.
You’ll still want to interview your top three agent candidates over the phone and make certain you’ve found the best fit. Here are a few essential questions you should consider:
- What’s your ‘days on market’ compared to the market average? Days on market (DOM) is the number of days between the day a home is listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) and the day it’s sold or taken off the market. If you want to sell your house in 5 days, you must partner with an agent who consistently moves homes faster than average for their market.
- How many properties similar to mine have you sold recently? Agents accustomed to selling homes like yours — similar in size, neighborhood, and property type — have refined pricing and marketing strategies for your buyer pool. Ask the agent how quickly their most recent homes sold and if there’s anything they plan to do differently to sell yours even faster.
- What are your online marketing plans for my home? Your home’s digital presence is key to selling fast. 96% of home shoppers begin their search on the web, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). And with 50% of buyers searching on their mobile devices — 75% for younger buyers — your agent must have a web and social media marketing plan. Ask your agent to prove their digital marketing savvy with real client examples, web traffic data, and quantifiable impressions (likes and shares on social media).
»Learn more: See 24 questions to ask a Realtor
Price your home a little under the comps
Precise pricing is imperative when you’re up against a tight deadline. Price your home too high, and buyers won’t rush in with offers.
Hudson recommends that your listing agent reach out to the agents of any comparable homes as soon as they enter escrow to find out what they’ve sold for before the information is available elsewhere.
Armed with the most recent sales data possible, your agent can create an ultra-accurate comparative market analysis (CMA) and pinpoint the best price for your home. Hudson demonstrates how this tactic recently helped her sell a home in less than 5 days:
“There was a house down the street that was similar, but needed more work and was a tiny bit smaller, that was listed at $525,000 and received multiple offers. I found out that they were in escrow for $540,000. So knowing what was going on in the neighborhood, we decided to list $579,000. We received two offers over list price for sale in the market.”
A potent pricing strategy that nearly guarantees offers in 5 days is to price your home below market value. Buyers carefully watching the market will jump at the opportunity to purchase a home priced below the competition. If you receive multiple offers — depending on the market — you may be able to use them as leverage to spark a bidding war, driving the final sale price above the listing price.
This strategy works best in a seller’s market where home prices are steady or trending upward. If there are significantly more homes than buyers in your market, you’re less likely to receive multiple offers and may conclude your sale with a lower-than-ideal price.
Account for recent market changes
The real estate market is constantly changing, and as trends come and go, it’s important you move with them. What might help sell your home at lightning speed today might not work as well in a month.
Top New York real estate agent Rory Clark says this is where your trusted agent can come in especially handy. Ask what current trends or market conditions might impede your home from selling fast and how to best approach the situation.
For example, Clark sees more buyers hesitant to make an offer on homes that require work. As home prices have increased, so have construction and labor costs, and many buyers don’t want to spend the time and effort to deal with repairs, even if they’re relatively simple, Clark says.
“I think selling something that is not in move-in condition or renovated could prevent you from selling it quickly,” Clark says, adding that this is where strategic pricing becomes even more important.
Declutter using your garage as storage
When decluttering, remember that buyers want to envision the rooms with their belongings in them, not yours, so the more you remove, the better. Stage key pieces of furniture to showcase the room and leave the rest up to the imagination. Not sure what else to do? Here are some tips:
- Clear all personal items off desks and countertops to avoid distractions
- Hide away any unnecessary furniture or miscellaneous items in each room to create space
- Pack up any visible items you won’t need this month
- Clean counters and furniture to get rid of any dust or mess
- Make sure all hallways and walking areas are clear
You don’t need to break the bank
Skip the storage unit and pack out your garage instead.
“I always tell sellers that your garage can be packed to the gills with boxes. It can be stacked to the roof with boxes. It does not make you a penny more or a penny less,” Hudson shares.
A spotless home with moving boxes in the garage signals to buyers that you’re ready to move as soon as a deal closes. If you run out of space in the garage, boxes in the basement, attic, closets, or temporary storage shed work well too.
Stage a home office (or two)
Home shoppers today and in the future are looking for a dedicated home office — and in some cases, multiple spaces that could be used for a home office. If you have a home office already, clean it up for photos and make sure it photographs nicely.
Otherwise, pick a bedroom or possibly a basement area to stage as the perfect spot to take Zoom calls, work on spreadsheets, or write the next great American novel. If you’re short on time and money, staging a desk, chair, and computer sitting on top of the surface may suffice to show buyers how the space could be used.
Play up outdoor spaces
In a recent HomeLight survey of more than 1,000 top agents across the country, outdoor spaces ranked #3 on the list of home buyer wants, behind a home office and updated kitchens and appliances. An inviting backyard patio with string lights could be the magic touch a buyer needs to stop and view your listing.
If you have a pool, mention it prominently in your property description and include photographs of it at one or more angles, whatever your real estate agent recommends. Dress up the front porch with Adirondack chairs and a few colorful throw pillows, or add a seating area to your deck to help buyers imagine a beautiful evening enjoyed outdoors.
While you prep, mark your house as ‘Coming Soon’
One simple way to generate more interest in your property: build anticipation. Posting your home as “coming soon” not only gives buyers a sneak peek into your house but also gives you a leg up against others hitting the MLS at the same time. After all, the earlier you showcase your property, the earlier you can attract potential buyers.
Marking your home as “coming soon” is precisely as it sounds. Your agent will list your home with photos and basic details to generate interest in the property. However, no showings or open houses are allowed until the property officially hits the market.
Clark says a “coming soon” label is part of an aggressive marketing strategy. Connect with your real estate agent to get professional photos taken of your home and create a strong online listing. The goal is to get more eyes on your property so you can already have a head start when the active listing goes live.
“You really want to funnel as much energy and good vibes and interest into the property as you can,” Clark says.
Note: Clark says it’s important to ensure your “coming soon” listing adheres to all local rules and MLS policies. Typically, properties must be added to the MLS with a “coming soon” label within 72 hours of being made public. Once there, there’s a limited time they can remain in that status before becoming active or being removed.
Share the floor plan with a layout or 3D tour
In today’s digital age, your home’s online presence is more important than ever. Buyers are becoming more tech-savvy and using digital tools more often.
But it’s not just good enough to have a detailed online listing anymore. According to NAR data, 49% of buyers find floor plans very useful, and 39% believe virtual tours are very helpful. So instead of overloading buyers with dull hallway photos, show off your home’s flow with a traditional or 3D Matterport floor plan.
“Matterport lets you — as a consumer — click through with your mouse as if you’re walking through a house, so you can basically look at every little corner of it,” explains Liz Donnelly, a top Califonia agent who sells homes 53% quicker than the average Ventura agent. She makes it a policy to always include a Matterport or a professionally-drawn layout in her home listings.
Draw eyes with out-of-the-box marketing
Get buyers talking about your listing with unique marketing strategies. Marketing that inspires buyers to laugh or dream helps them connect with your property and motivates them to share your listing with others.
“We had a house for sale on a street called San Francisco Avenue, so we made a scavenger hunt of items you’d see in San Francisco for everybody who came in,” Donnelly recounts. “We handed them a piece of paper with items like the Golden Gate Bridge and Rice-A-Roni — there were probably 10 things. We put one thing in each room, so everybody had to go into every room while they looked at the house.”
And the winning prizes? Chinese takeout boxes filled with chocolate-covered fortune cookies and Donnelly’s business card! Donnelly promoted the event to her network of agents and received double the average open house attendance, maximizing the listing’s exposure and contributing to the home’s quick sale.
Get creative with these creative marketing tactics:
- Celebrate an oddball holiday: Is it National Donut Day? Share donuts at your open house or highlight the best donut shops close to your home on social media.
- Highlight your home’s lifestyle: Do so with short videos for social media posts or stories. Show off the renovated basement in a selfie-style tour, create a no-bake dessert tutorial in your gorgeous kitchen, or shoot GoPro footage of a bike ride from your home to a nearby trail.
- Work with an influencer: Partner with a social media influencer to plan a virtual event, like a game night or wine tasting, that includes a showing.
- Host a moving sale / open house combo: Make a splash on the market the first day your listing goes live by combining an open house with a tag sale — call it a “moving sale.” Purge unwanted items and invite people to tour the home while they’re there.
- Share your home’s claim to fame: Pitch your home to local news outlets for heightened exposure. Was your home featured in a movie or TV show? Were any of the previous owners famous? Is your home historic due to its age, architecture, or location? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, research the connection and pitch your listing story to local radio stations, TV news programs, newspapers, and magazines.
Connect to your non-local buyer pool
A savvy agent knows how to target out-of-area buyers, so your listing reaches as many prospects as possible the day it hits the market.
“We have a lot of buyers who work in Santa Barbara, and since Barbara’s far more expensive to live in, they choose to buy in Ventura,” shares Donnelly. “And very recently, we’ve had a lot of people inquiring about our homes who are anywhere east of us, say like Pasadena area, Los Angeles, or even south Orange County, who find that they can telecommute now that they don’t need to go into the office.”
When her listing goes live, Donnelly calls buyers’ agents in these areas to jump-start interest. Your agent can also reach out-of-town buyers with these tactics:
- Promote your listing posts on Facebook within a 15-mile radius in the region out-of-town buyers often come from.
- Add location hashtags to social media posts, for example, #losangelesrealestate and #santabarbararealestate.
- Email listing details and a virtual tour to real estate agents in target areas.
Add some color to your curb appeal
Whether a buyer is pulling up your listing online or pulling into your driveway, your home’s exterior is their first impression of your home — you need to nail the curb appeal. Paint your home’s exterior a neutral color to appeal to the most buyers possible. Then dial up the energy with colorful accents that draw buyers in like bees to a flower.
Donnelly attributes her most recent 5-day sale to the seller’s colorful yet tasteful curb appeal (pictured below):
“They went with a gray house, and they chose a cranberry red trim color for the shutters and the front door. I wouldn’t have thought of that combination, but it actually looks really nice. Then they painted one part of their house a white and the rest of it gray, so it really pops.”
If selling fast isn’t enough motivation, buyers will also pay 7% more for a home with excellent curb appeal versus a house with a neglected exterior, according to a HomeLight survey of top agents. Agents estimate investing in your home’s curb appeal could add nearly $12,000 in resale value.
Consider these easy opportunities to add some curb-appeal color:
- Spruce up or paint your front porch
- Add fresh mulch to your flower beds
- Glazed ceramic pots
- Perennial flowers
- A freshly painted front door
- Colorful shutters or trim
- Window boxes blooming with flowers
- A complementary mailbox
- Matching porch chairs
Pair pre-listing home inspection with a home warranty
In our most recent national survey, top agents throughout the country said sellers need to sweeten the deal for buyers, especially if you are looking for a fast sale. Here are their top three recommendations:
- 51% of agents are advising sellers to provide home warranties to ease buyer concerns
- 40% of agents recommend sellers include home improvement allowances in their listing
- 37% of agents suggest offering pre-inspection reports to potential buyers
When you pair a pre-listing home inspection with a complimentary home warranty, you assure buyers that your home is free from costly hidden issues. The more confident they feel about your home’s condition, the faster they’ll submit an offer.
With a pre-listing home inspection, you learn your home’s condition before you go to market to tackle necessary repairs on your own terms. With the inspection and repairs complete, your sale can close faster, cutting out back-and-forth negotiations over the inspection report.
Throw a cherry on top with an included home warranty. A home warranty costs, on average, around $600 and covers emergency expenses that arise from appliances, electrical systems, HVAC units, garage doors, and other home systems for the first year after the closing date.
If you hit a roadblock with a buyer who’s concerned about an issue revealed in the home inspection, offer a home improvement allowance — a designated dollar amount taken off the purchase price for a repair, replacement, or refurbishment.
Motivate buyers with a limited-time offer
Include a freebie with your home for buyers who offer in the first 5 days to incentivize those interested to act quickly. If the freebie is particularly grand, it may even attract media attention, like this luxury housing community in Nevada offering Tesla Model 3s to buyers. Between the sweetener and the press attention, your listing wins even more exposure.
Here are some enticing inclusions:
- Generous gift certificates to local establishments
- Gym equipment
- Whiskey collection
- Fully stocked gameroom
- Electric bicycles
- Covering all closing costs or other concessions
- Outdoor entertaining setup
Getting an offer in 5 days is possible
With the right pricing and marketing strategies, it’s possible to attract an offer on your home in 5 days, even in a market with higher interest rates and more hesitant buyers.
Today’s buyers love to see a move-in ready home with a home office and outdoor space — and they want to be able to experience the home online as much as possible.
If you’re going the traditional route, find the best real estate agent for the quick-sale challenge, and tell them your goal is to secure a signed offer in 5 days. You’ll still need to account for the typical 45 days to close. Otherwise, consider requesting a cash offer from HomeLight’s trusted Simple Sale platform. You’ll receive a cash offer and the ability to close in as little as 10 days.
Header Image Source: (Erik Mclean / Unsplash)
- "Existing-Home Sales Receded 4.1% in October," National Association of Realtors (November 2023)
- "Housing Inventory: Median Days on Market in the United States ," FRED (November 2023)
- "Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report," National Association of Realtors (2023)
- "107+ Top Real Estate Hashtags: Instagram, Twitter & More," The Close (June 2023)
- "Plan Your Garden with our Perennial Flowers Season-by-Season List," Better Homes & Gardens (April 2023)
- "Front Door Colors: The 25 Best Colors to Try Now," Architectural Digest (May 2023)
- "30 Shutter Ideas That Add Instant Curb Appeal," Southern Living (May 2023)
- "How Much Does a Home Warranty Cost?," Bob Vila (October 2023)