I Need to Sell My House Fast, What Are My Options?

Selling a house is a nerve-wracking undertaking. In fact, a recent Daily Mail report says that selling a home may be more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Things get even more stressful when you need your home sold fast. All the haste leaves you second-guessing your decisions and kicking yourself later if you end up selling for way less than your property’s worth.

If you want to sell your home both quickly and with confidence, you’ll need to know all of your options so you can make an informed decision before putting your house on the market.

Let’s take a look at all of the choices homeowners have to sell fast.

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Calling all real estate agents

Did you know that 89% of home sellers use a real estate agent to list their home? That’s because agented listings sell for more money than any other option.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) “2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” report states that agented homes sold for a median 98% of the final listing price and netted sellers an average of $43,100 in equity. These numbers are accurate for all sellers—no matter how fast you want to sell your home.

When time is a factor, many homeowners looking to sell their house fast think that opting for an agented sale is out of the question. But that simply isn’t true if fast for you means selling your home within a few months.

According to that same 2016 NAR report, recent homes sold were on the market for an average of four weeks or less. And with the help of an expert agent, you can find a buyer with a quick closing mortgage lender and negotiate for a short escrow period. This means that your home sale could close in thirty days or less.

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As a seller, having an agent of your own means having an advocate on your side. Not only will an agent help you avoid time-wasting missteps during escrow, they can even help you choose which offer to accept to ensure a smooth and fast transaction.

Real estate expert Ambreen Faruqi, the #1 agent in homes sold in the Queens, New York area advises, “For selling really quickly, cash offers are always the best, but they’re also lower offers. You can make more with a buyer who gets a loan and maybe wait only two or three weeks more.”

The key to ensuring a fast agented sale is listing with a top-notch agent. Start by asking your friends and family for recommendations, because according to the NAR’s report, 64% of sellers found their agent through a referral. Next, check your contenders’ stats online and compare them with other top agents in your area with HomeLight’s own agent search. The best agent for you will have a solid track record selling your style of home and recent sales in your neighborhood.

So is listing with an agent the fastest way to sell your home? No.

You can get your home off of your hands faster if you sell it to an investor or let it go at auction. But beware—you’ll be losing most or all of your equity for the sake of a fast sale.

I need to sell my house fast: is FSBO the right choice?

I need to sell my house fast, is FSBO the way to go?

Whether you’re pricing under market value or selling for less to an investor, the bottom line is—if you want to sell really fast, you’re going to get less cash.

Knowing this, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sounds rather appealing. Selling your home yourself means you can avoid losing 5-6% of your equity toward paying your real estate agent’s commission.

Plus, finding a buyer won’t be too challenging because we’re in a seller’s market right now. And the buyer will likely have their own agent who can handle the transaction, so does a seller really need their own agent?

If you want to ensure a fast sale, yes.

The buyer’s agent is exactly that—the buyer’s agent. If closing quickly isn’t a priority to the buyer, the agent will cater to her client’s needs during closing and put your desire for a fast sale second.

Aside from being your advocate, your agent will know all the tips and tricks to ensure a fast sale from pre-listing through closing.

It’s important to note that out of all homes sold in 2016, only eight percent were FSBO sales. And of those sales, only 54% were interested in selling fast. Those who do sell their homes fast, typically do so because their buyer was a friend, relative or neighbor.

If you are set on selling yourself, you’ll need to get educated on all the closing documents you and your seller will need to successfully complete the sale. And you’ll need to arrange for an attorney and title company to help you complete the transaction.

Without an expert to keep track of all the intricacies of the transaction, you cannot count on the sale to go quickly or smoothly.

Need to sell my house fast: is a short sale the right option?
Image via Wikipedia

Should I short sale?

The main thing you need to know about short sales is that the “short” refers to money, not time. Selling short means that your lender has agreed to allow you to sell your home for less than you owe on it.

As a general rule, short sales take a lot longer to finalize than a regular sale.

Short sale agent Brad Wallace, who ranks in the top 9% of 8,627 agents in the Philadelphia area says, “They call it a short sale, but it’s the furthest thing from a short sale. The quickest short sale I had was probably about four months, and I’ve had short sales that lasted over two years.”

Not only will a short sale take a lot longer to complete, most sellers aren’t even eligible to short sell their homes. You need to be financially underwater, behind on your mortgage and facing foreclosure. Even if you’re eligible, your lender (or lenders if you have debt on the property with multiple entities) does not have to agree to a short sale.

So if you want to sell your home fast a short sale is definitely not the way to go.

Need to sell my house fast: are investors a good option?

Investors will buy it—they buy everything!

Type the phrase “sell my home fast” into any search engine and you’ll be inundated with links and ads for investors willing to buy your home in a sale promised to close quickly.

If selling fast matters more to you than money, then an investor sale offers several advantages. According to Forbes, some investors are able to close within seven days. They’ll also buy your home as-is (no matter what condition it’s in) and offer flexible payout options—including lump sum cash.

Selling your home to an investor is one of the fastest ways to get a home off of your hands, but you’ll pay a steep price. You can forget about getting top dollar—“we buy any home” places often offer only dimes on the dollar.

As The Washington Post reports, investors will likely offer you 50-60% of your home’s current market value if it were in good condition. Once they own your home, they’ll make a minor investment in repairs and updates so that they can turn around and sell it for the top dollar that they didn’t pay you.

With this option, you will get your home sold fast, but you’ll likely see little to no profit from the sale. There is one benefit though, if your house is a dump, you can get it off your hands fast without investing any of your own money to make the repairs and updates ordinary buyers may request.

Going, going, sold! The ins and outs of home auctions

If you think auctions are only an option for desperate sellers and banks unloading foreclosure homes, you’re mistaken. Any homeowner can sell their house at an auction, and doing so may just be a smart choice if you want to sell fast.

Getting your home sold quickly is just one of the benefits of an auction sale:

Need to sell my house fast: benefits of selling by auction
Image via National Association of Realtors

While you will know the exact date your home will sell thanks to the auction option, this may not be as quick as you’ll think. According to Forbes, auctioned homes take an average of 45 to 60 days from listing to close.

Selling at auction is risky because you have limited control over the final sales price. As the seller, you set the minimum bid you’ll accept, typically at 10-15% below current market value (auction experts advise this to generate more interest among buyers), but after that, it’s up to the accept the final bid. Competing buyers may bid up the price over the market value or you may be stuck accepting that minimum bid offer.

Not all properties are ideally situated for auctions either. The NAR advises that sellers self-test the market, their home and their financial situation with the Two-Thirds Rule to determine if an auction is the right option.

One of the major factors is that your home needs to be carrying a lot of equity—up to 25%—to see any cash from an auction sale. After all, the last thing you want is for your home to sell for less than you owe.

Now that you know your sell fast options, it’s just a matter of selecting the best one for you. Selling your home fast may be scary, but it can be done. With careful planning and the right help, sellers can rest assured that they won’t sacrifice too much of their profits for the sake of speed.

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