Getting an Instant Offer Real Estate Deal For Your Home

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.

There are several reasons why someone may want their house sold as quickly as possible. Maybe you’ve found your dream home but need to sell your current house before you can close. Or perhaps you’ve received a great job offer in a different state and have to move quickly.

Instant offer real estate deals, in which buyers use information about your home and data about recent nearby real estate transactions to make a quick offer on your house, can be a good solution to these types of situations.

See What a Cash Buyer Would Pay for Your Home

The housing market may be shifting, but real estate prices are still strong in many areas. Use HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform to request a no-obligation, all-cash offer for your home today.

As of February 2024, cash sales accounted for one-third of all home purchases, the highest share in a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, cash buyers typically offer less for homes than market value.

Many house-flipping companies abide by the 70% rule, meaning they’ll offer 70% of your home’s after-repair value (ARV) minus the cost of repairs. iBuyers pay closer to 85% of a home’s market value and typically charge fees of 5%–6%.

According to ATTOM Data Solution’s 2023 Year-End Home Sales report, all-cash sales were most prevalent in metropolitan areas in Georgia, Florida, and Arizona.

The possibility of a lower price may be outweighed by instant offer real estate transactions’ convenience, speed, certainty, and low stress levels for sellers.

This guide will explain how instant offer real estate deals work to help you decide whether this route is right for you.

Who provides instant offers?

The following types of real estate companies can make instant offers:


iBuyers, or “instant buyers,” may benefit sellers on a tight deadline who cannot, or do not want to, deal with factors such as contingencies or other problems that could arise with buyers on the open market. iBuyers are also great for sellers who do not want to invest time and money into repairs, upgrades, or staging.

Top San Diego real estate agent Glen Henderson, a HomeLight Simple Sale specialist, suggests iBuyers as a good option for sellers who are pressed for time or uncomfortable with open houses due to privacy concerns.

Small investors and flippers

Small investors and flippers focus on a specific territory and buy fewer homes per year than iBuyers.

“They operate on entirely different margins,” says Cleve Gaddis, whose Atlanta-based real estate team rakes in an average of $20 million in annual sales. Gaddis says that for the small investor, “the margins have to be large enough because that’s how the person has to make a living on the five or ten” homes they buy each year.

Small investors and flippers benefit sellers looking to stay local who like the idea of the home getting a make-over for the next step in its journey. Flippers may also be a good option if the seller’s home is in rough shape — something that is highly desired by flippers.

Trade-in companies

Some people want to sell their homes quickly to acquire funds to purchase their new dream homes. This is where trade-in companies and programs, such as HomeLight Buy Before You Sell, can help ease buying one home while selling another.

For trade-ins, a company offers to buy your current home. This allows you to buy your new home without a sale contingency, strengthening your offer.

With HomeLight Buy Before You Sell (currently available in 39 states and the District of Columbia), you can focus on your next move instead of simultaneously worrying about selling your current house.

Buy-and-hold investors

These investors look for market-ready homes to purchase for competitive prices because they want to turn the houses into rental properties. Buy-and-hold investors are great for those sellers who have well-maintained homes and want quick cash offers at market-competitive prices.

In hot rental markets with rising rents and demand, selling to a buy-and-hold investor can be a smart move. ATTOM’s Q1 2024 report showed strong rental returns on single-family homes in many U.S. markets.

How do instant offers in real estate work?

Request an offer by providing details about your home

First, request a no-obligation offer on the company’s website by entering your address and answering a few questions about your home.

With HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, clients are matched with cash offers that allow them to sell in days, not months.

Henderson has worked with clients using HomeLight’s Simple Sale and praises the platform for its “simplicity” and “straightforwardness.”

Sellers are not hit by surprise credits or repair contingencies by buyers when using HomeLight’s Simple Sale. Henderson also likes that there are no additional fees. “Once an offer is accepted, the seller knows that’s what they’re going to get,” he adds.

Receive an offer

Generally, you can expect an offer within a few days. Some companies may respond within 24–48 hours.

Review and respond to an offer. The offer will typically include the offer price, seller closing costs (if applicable), and transaction fees.

Henderson warns that sellers should not necessarily take the first offer that comes their way. Instead, they should compare multiple offers.

“I always feel that anybody that is thinking about selling, even if they’re selling to an investor or iBuyer, should still be consulting with an agent just to evaluate,” says Henderson.

This is so that agents can act as guides and help sellers evaluate their options and choose the best solution for their situation.

Typically, negotiation is reduced or eliminated with instant offer real estate deals. However, Henderson states that agents are great for seeing if there is any room for negotiation in the contract. Agents can then engage in those discussions with potential buyers on behalf of their clients.

After you receive an offer that you feel comfortable with, look closely at your instant offer terms before you accept, advises Cyndie Gawain, a Dallas agent with more than 20 years of experience. For example, iBuyer companies may have a maximum number of leaseback days that may not work your desired timeframe.

Schedule a home assessment and review any repair adjustments

If you accept an instant offer, you’ll typically schedule an in-home assessment with the company. The inspector will verify the home’s condition and identify any necessary repairs.

If repairs are needed, the buyer creates a cost estimate and deducts the amount from your offer as a seller credit.

Choose a closing date that works for you

You should choose an offer that works with your moving timeline. iBuyers typically provide flexible closing options.

Once you have accepted your cash offer and have chosen your move-out date, HomeLight’s Simple Sale aims to get your payment to you within 10 days.

What makes the modern instant offer unique?

iBuying companies are unique because they use technology to make offers on homes faster and to streamline the closing process. Here’s how they do it:

Automated valuations (AVMs): An AVM is one of the defining characteristics of an iBuyer company, which uses proprietary algorithms and models to determine what a home is worth before making an instant offer. The company employs software to aggregate numerous data points from public records, property listings, and other databases. An algorithm then uses that data to predict a property’s market value in moments.

Digital closing: In addition to offering homeowners an alternative to a traditional home sale, much of closing your sale with an iBuyer may be digital with electronic signatures and contracts. In some states, homeowners can remotely notarize their documents.

Selling a home in excellent condition: iBuyers prefer homes in great condition since they want to sell the home for profit with little time or investment on their part.

Speed and convenience: While house flippers often make offers on homes that need some work, iBuyers generally aren’t focused solely on homeowners who need a bailout. Instead, iBuyers offer a digital alternative to sell your home. Oftentimes, your timeline and your house’s condition will help you choose which offer is best for you.

What are the pros and cons?

Henderson states that you first need to examine your current situation to find the best option and instant offer real estate deal for you. There are several drawbacks, as well as benefits, to this kind of transaction.

Benefits: Instant offer real estate transactions come with the benefits of speed, convenience, and flexibility. They’re ideal for situations requiring a quick home sale or immediate access to cash.

Sellers strapped for time, energy, or money can also forgo repairs. This is useful for properties that have fallen into disrepair, are inherited, or are not physically close to you.

Drawbacks: A possible downside of an instant offer real estate deal is that you could sell your home for less than if you were listing on the open market and working with a top agent. There is also less possibility for negotiation than traditional open market sales, which means more room for potential buyers to inflate their repair costs.

This risk may be increased if you do not have a real estate agent to comb through the costs, according to Henderson. You should also be aware of potential scams and buyers who misrepresent their financial capabilities.

Where can I get an instant offer?

Less than 1% of home sellers used an iBuyer to sell their home in 2023, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. iBuying activity has declined over the last couple of years due to the cooling real estate market and the exit of Redfin and Zillow from the iBuying sector.

iBuyers don’t serve every market; they tend to make instant offers in areas where homes are similar, such as tract home neighborhoods. This is because similar properties make it easier for them to predict market value and generate offers quickly.

If your home isn’t the right fit for an iBuyer, it’s still possible to secure an instant offer from another type of investor, like a “We Buy Houses” company or a buy-and-hold investor. Cash home sales made up 33% of transactions in February 2024, according to NAR, so the odds are in your favor.

Thinking about selling to an iBuyer?

“Compare, compare, compare,” says Gaddis.

Weigh different offers and estimate the amount you could receive on the traditional open market for your home. Decide whether or not the difference in net proceeds between an instant offer real estate deal and a traditional sale makes the instant offer worthwhile. You can always use HomeLight’s Simple Sale to help you obtain the necessary information (at no cost to you) that will help you make an informed decision, and you can consult a top agent for guidance as well.

Header Image Source: (Christin Hume / Unsplash)