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Selling your house can be a daunting and time-consuming process — especially if you’re looking for a quick and low-hassle experience. A death in the family, divorce, or mounting debt often adds extra strain. Whether you’re facing financial difficulties or ready to downsize, it’s possible to sell your house for cash and avoid the traditional real estate market.
“You make a phone call or answer some questions online, agree to an offer, and then it’s not something you have to worry about anymore,” says Doug Van Soest, owner of SoCal Home Buyers, a house flipping company in Southern California. “Plus, you’ll save money on things like commissions, repairs, and closing costs.”
However, selling a house for cash also usually means leaving some extra money on the table. So, is selling your house for cash a good idea?
Here, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to sell your house for cash, the pros and cons, how to do it, where to request a cash offer, and more.
What does it mean to sell a house for cash?
When you sell a house for cash, it simply means that you sell to a buyer who can purchase the home outright without the use of a mortgage loan. If you agree to an offer of $350,000, your cash buyer will need to show proof that they have that $350,000 at the ready in a bank account or something equivalent.
This calls for working with a niche type of buyer that typically purchases off-market homes — houses that may need repairs or can otherwise be purchased at a discount.
Though some traditional buyers pay cash — it is more rare to see. Eighty percent of recent buyers financed their home purchase, according to the National Association of Realtors. So when listing your home, there’s no guarantee of attracting a buyer willing to pay all cash.
To ensure a cash offer for your home, you’ll need to work with a house-buying company or individual investor with cash reserves.
After completing a few steps to evaluate the home and make a firm offer, the buyer will wire you the money for the full amount of their offer price at closing. You won’t receive a briefcase full of bills in tidy rows like you might see in the movies. The money will be sent over via a secure electronic transfer.
With cash, it turns into an easy transaction where the seller doesn’t have to be stressed out. It just takes all that pressure off the seller.
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Reasons to sell a property for cash
Now that you know what it means to get cash for your home, is selling your house for cash a good idea?
“The value a cash buyer offers is convenience and speed,” says Will Holly, owner of Holly Nance Group, a boutique real estate investment firm in New Jersey. “You’ll avoid the time hurdle involved with back-and-forth negotiations with multiple buyers.”
“With cash, it turns into an easy transaction where the seller doesn’t have to be stressed out. It just takes all that pressure off the seller,” adds Mark Abdel, a top-performing real estate agent in Minneapolis who sells properties 62% faster than the average agent in his market.
Let’s review some of these benefits more in-depth.
1. Faster closing
When you sell a house for cash, you can get money for your home much faster (usually in a week or two compared to a month-and-a-half with a non-cash buyer).
Mortgages are time-consuming. As of 2024, mortgages are taking an average of 45 days to complete from start to close. The lender will also require an appraisal to confirm the amount of funds they’re willing to provide, which can introduce additional delays.
All in all, with a cash offer from a house-buying company, you can often close the sale in as few as seven to 10 days. For sellers who need cash quickly, this is a huge advantage.
2. No repairs or home staging
According to a recent survey, nearly 70% of home buyers prefer a turnkey home that doesn’t require additional repairs or renovations. If your house needs work, it can be more challenging to find a traditional buyer.
When you sell your home for cash to a house-buying company, you can skip the repairs and other preparations typically required when selling on the open market.
Cash-for-homes companies often purchase homes “as-is” since they have the capital and expertise to update a house. This removes the repair burden from the seller’s shoulders.
3. Reduced closing fees
Besides repair and staging costs, a cash offer can cut out additional closing costs. Many house-buying companies will cover closing costs in full for the seller, which can amount to 9% to 10% of the sale price. (The largest cost is typically the agent commission at an average of 5% to 6% of the sale.)
These savings can act as a counterbalance to a lower offer price. The average cost to sell a house is 9%–10% of its sale price, including the real estate agent’s commission and closing costs. When deciding whether or not to sell your house for cash, you should always factor in the fees and costs associated with the home-selling process.
4. Smaller holding costs
So long as you own a house, you’re responsible for its holding costs (also known as carrying costs), which include utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other fees amounting to a decent chunk of change each month.
In a sluggish real estate market, Holly says it could take as long as six months to sell a house. This can cause delays upward of half a year to get the equity out of a home while the owner continues to cover the costs of heating, cooling, mowing the lawn, etc.
A cash offer provides more immediate relief from these ongoing costs. Plus, the longer your home sits on the market, the greater the likelihood of reducing the list price.
5. Peace of mind
Holly also points out the peace of mind and financial certainty that comes with a cash sale, especially for homeowners juggling life challenges. “Any home seller with any complexity to the sale is better off with a cash buyer,” he says.
Those complexities might include a death in the family, bills stacking up, or expensive repairs. A cash offer may come in lower, but it won’t hinge on your home appraising at a certain amount or the financing working out for your buyer. When you need cash now, a drawn-out sale can be a major stressor.
6. Interest rate immunity
As home shoppers face today’s higher interest rates, a buyer with cash in hand eliminates the uncertainty of getting a loan approved. Mortgage interest rates peaked in mid-October of 2023 and have been steadily declining ever since. However, rates are still hovering around 6.6% (as of late January 2024), making it challenging for some prospective buyers to qualify for a home loan.
“A cash buyer is not susceptible to rate hikes,” says Holly. An increase in interest rates or a change in the buyer’s credit history or employment situation could cancel or delay a settlement just days before closing. “Contracts are falling out more often,” Holly adds about the current real estate market.
Without the added risk of a financing contingency, selling to a cash buyer is typically a simple, more certain process.
Whether you want to move next week or stay put for a couple of months, a cash sale generally gives you plenty of wiggle room. Sellers who work with a house-buying company often select a move-out date that works best for them.
What’s the process to sell a house for cash?
Working with a cash homebuyer differs from the traditional agent-assisted process in many ways. Below we offer a side-by-side comparison followed by an infographic showing the steps to complete a cash sale.
Cash home sales vs. traditional home sales
|Aspect of the sale
|Selling house to a cash buyer
|Listing with a real estate agent
|In as little as 7 days, or up to 30 days if the seller needs more time.
|74 days (29 to get an offer, and another 45 days to close, on average).
|Home prep and repairs
|None. You skip the preparations, repairs, and staging.
|Make necessary repairs, deep clean, declutter, landscape, and stage the home.
|Typically no showings, though a cash buyer will collect information about the home and may request photos or video.
|You’ll make your home available for 10 to 25 showings, on average.
|Many cash buyers will perform an inspection or onsite evaluation — it depends on whom you work with and how they operate. Even if you’re selling “as-is,” a home inspection could still be required.
|May need to make repairs for the buyer or renegotiate the price.
|House-buying companies and investors may or may not perform a traditional appraisal. This can depend on the onsite visit and the company’s evaluation process.
|An independent appraisal will be required to close when your buyer is using a mortgage, this can take 6-20 days (11 is the median, according to NAR) and may require negotiations.
|The cash buyer will require a title search to make sure that you can convey the property free and clear of any claims or judgments against the home.
|Title issues must be resolved to close the sale. The property must be clear of claims such as mechanic’s liens, unpaid taxes, or boundary encroachments.
|None are present in a cash sale.
|Mortgaged buyers often use a financing contingency that could hold up the deal if the loan doesn’t clear.
|Many cash-for-homes companies will pay the closing costs.
|About 1% to 3% of the sale price (on top of commission) including title insurance, escrow fees, and taxes.
|When you sell a house, how do you get the money? It may only take a matter of weeks or even days for the cash buyer to wire funds over to your bank account.
|The time it takes for you to receive funds will depend on the buyer’s due diligence period and other steps you must clear before settlement, as required by the buyer’s lender. On average, it takes 49 days to close a traditional home sale.
Steps to complete a cash home sale
Who buys houses for cash?
You may be asking, “Can I sell my house to a bank?” Well, there might be better alternatives.
As a group, cash buyers or house-buying companies are individuals or entities that buy your house outright and usually in as-is condition, without the need for lender financing. In general, selling your home to a cash buyer allows you to skip the home prep, showings, and staging hassles and arrange a more flexible closing timeline to coordinate with the purchase of your next residence. However, not all cash buyers have the same business model. It’s a good idea to know who you’re contacting to request a cash offer for your home. To keep it simple, we’ve grouped these buyers into a few broader categories you’re likely to encounter.
Investors purchase homes for the purpose of building wealth. Some flip homes for a profit while others hang onto them for rental income. They typically pay cash for their purchases.
Buy-and-hold cash buyers purchase homes and convert them into rental properties. They may sell a property once it appreciates enough or hold on to it indefinitely. This category includes individual investors who buy and rent out properties for passive income and larger institutional investors. When you sell to a buy-and-hold investor, you have more flexible closing dates and will likely get a better price than if you were to sell to a house flipper.
Media darlings Chip and Joanna Gaines or your remodeling-enthusiast uncle come to mind when you see the phrase “house flippers.” Whether a small mom-and-pop operation or a larger business, flippers buy homes — often in poorer condition and at a lower price — with the intention of renovating them and reselling them for more. Home flippers remain a strong force in the cash house-buying marketplace. ATTOM Data Solutions reports that in Q3 of 2023, 72,543 single-family homes and condos were flipped, amounting to 7.2% of all home sales.
We Buy Houses/large scale house buyers
You’ve probably seen ads for companies proclaiming “We Buy Houses for Cash.” These companies fall into the house flippers category listed above but are worthy of their own category because of their growing prominence in the industry. The largest house-buying franchise in the country is HomeVestors of America, which operates under the name “We Buy Ugly Houses®” and specializes in flipping dilapidated homes.
It’s easy to confuse We Buy Ugly Houses with other companies that have similar names touting their cash house-buying capabilities such as We Buy Houses
An iBuyer or instant buyer is a specific type of house-buying company that first emerged in the mid-2010s. iBuyers use automated valuation models (AVMs) to make competitive offers on homes that are typically in better condition. Examples include Opendoor and Offerpad.
While iBuyers generally pay more for homes than flippers or buy-and-hold investors, they charge a service fee of around 5%. Since they tend to make less profit per flip, iBuyers rely more on turning over a high volume of homes using technology to streamline operations.
Launched in 2014, Opendoor is considered the nation’s pioneering iBuying platform. It buys homes directly from sellers who can easily receive a no-obligation offer in minutes by submitting information online.
According to the company’s FAQ page, Opendoor typically buys homes in the range of $100,000 to $600,000, but in some cases will go up to $1.4 million depending on the market.
Opendoor buys homes in various conditions, but criteria like a short sale, unpermitted additions, major foundation issues, flood or fire damage, or dated materials may impact the company’s decision to purchase a home.
Launched in 2015, Offerpad is one of the largest iBuyers by transaction volume along with Opendoor. Sellers provide information about their property by spending three minutes to fill out a questionnaire, according to the company website.
The option to upload photos or take Offerpad on a 15-minute virtual walkthrough of the home potentially results in a more competitive offer. Sellers typically receive a no-obligation cash offer within 24 hours. If you’re moving locally (within 50 miles), Offerpad will even pay a professional moving company to haul your furniture and belongings to your new home.
>>Read more: Do I need a lawyer if I sell my house for cash?
How to find reputable cash buyers
One of the most convenient ways to find a reputable cash homebuyer anywhere in the U.S. is through a trusted platform like HomeLight’s Simple Sale.
Simple Sale provides you with a no-obligation all-cash offer sourced from the largest network of cash buyers in the country. Our partner investors have a wide range of investment strategies, including fix-and-flip and buy-and-hold.
To get started, tell us a few details about your home and when you need to sell. After collecting some information, we’ll provide you with a no-obligation, full cash offer in as little as 24 hours, and you can close in as few as 10 days.
What are the downsides of selling for cash?
If what you’ve read so far has sold you on the idea of selling for cash, great! But it’s important to also understand the main drawback: the price you get from a cash buyer may be appreciably lower than what you’d get on the market.
House-buying companies typically pay less for your home to account for the money they’ll spend on repairs. They will perform a walkthrough of the property to see how much work it needs, which determines the amount they are willing to pay.
“The minimum return on investment varies depending on things like the market and the condition of the home, but typically we need at least a 10% return on a purchase to make it worth the risk,” says Van Soest.
When flipping a house, “everything has to look brand new after repairs,” says Holly. Sometimes this involves gutting the entire house while other times it’s just a cosmetic makeover. Turnaround time is typically about four months from the time he buys a home, makes renovations, and then sells it.
Depending on your situation, the lower offer price may not be a significant concern, or it could sway you toward a traditional listing. If you sell on the open market, you might leverage a better price as traditional buyers envision themselves living in your home. With cash buyers, there are generally no heartstrings to tug on — it’s strictly business.
To get a preliminary estimate of how much your home might be worth today, check out HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator. Answer a few questions about the home you’d like to sell, and we’ll use local housing market data to give you a ballpark value estimate in less than two minutes. A top real estate agent can also be a helpful resource in your decision.
How much do cash home buyers pay?
Various house-buying companies and investors will offer different amounts for a home.
Depending on the condition, price point, and location, your house will be a more desirable purchase to certain cash buyers over others. Most real estate investors have a specific “buy box” they use with parameters as to which types of properties are most valuable to them. That means what your home is “worth” will vary, even among buyers who can pay instantly.
Flippers, for example, often use the 70% rule. According to this guideline, a flipper won’t pay more than 70% of the “after repair value” (ARV) of a home, which accounts for deductions to make repairs and renovations.
Unlike ‘we buy houses’ flippers, iBuyers tend to pay closer to market value because they target newer homes in good condition. But they charge a service fee, about 5% of the sale price. In addition, you’ll likely have to pay closing costs of between 1% and 2% for escrow fees, title fees, and transfer taxes. After you accept the iBuyer’s offer, the company then inspects the home and subtracts the estimated cost of repairs from the final price.
Buy-and-hold investors fall somewhere in between flippers and iBuyers. They typically pay more than flippers, but less than iBuyers and aim to make between 8% to 12% on their investment.
“The discounted price someone should expect for a cash sale varies significantly,” says Van Soest. “The cleaner the house, the better the neighborhood, and the fewer issues a house has, the more likely you’ll get an offer that’s closer to market value. The more problems the buyer has to deal with, the lower the offer will be.”
Are cash-for-home companies legit?
In short, the answer is yes; there are many legitimate companies out there that purchase homes for cash, will provide you with a great experience, and are good on their word. However, we always recommend that you do your due diligence on any buyer before you provide sensitive information or sign a contract.
“Check that the house-buying company has a good track record of homes purchased,” advises Holly. He suggests looking at properties that the firm bought and sold in your neighborhood and examining public records to review its transaction history. In addition, request references of other home sellers who have sold to the investor or house-buying company, and give them a call to ask about their experiences.
Abdel cautions sellers to be wary of scams in which house-buying companies promise a certain price but then hit you with hidden fees that substantially slash your profit. Other steps to help ensure a company is legitimate include:
- Check their BBB rating: No matter what type of house-buying company you decide to work with, make sure it’s an accredited Better Business Bureau (BBB) member. Check for positive reviews and timely responses to complaints. HomeLight, which provides a cash offer for homes through our Simple Sale platform, is rated A+ and BBB accredited.
- Ask for proof of funds and adequate earnest money: “Ask for proof of funds such as a bank letter to make sure they have the money in their account,” Holly advises. An official proof of funds (POF) from the buyer’s bank verifies that they have adequate liquid assets to cover the purchase price and closing costs, as well as provide sufficient earnest money, the deposit that represents a buyer’s commitment to a sale.
Should I still use a real estate agent?
An established real estate agent will likely have the inside track on who’s who in the local cash buyer market and can also help you avoid getting lowballed.
“A lot of agents that are experienced and have been in the business have a Rolodex of people that they can go to that they’ve worked with over time that are investors,” Abdel comments about how top agents can help find cash buyers by pitching properties to their networks.
“There are a lot of investors that are reaching out directly to homeowners to try and buy their property with cash,” notes Brian Breeckner, a top-selling real estate agent based in Columbus, Ohio, who has helped investors build their portfolios. “To make sure a buyer is legitimate, or that they’re making a good offer based on the value of your home, you can always speak to an experienced local real estate agent and get their opinion.”
HomeLight can connect you to top-performing agents in your area who sell homes faster and for more money. We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agents will best meet your needs. Whether you’re looking for a quick cash sale or to expand your buyer pool by putting your home on the market, you’ll receive your agent recommendations in just two minutes.
How long does it take for a cash buyer to close?
Getting over that final hurdle to close a traditional sale — making sure a buyer’s financing is in order — can be an ordeal. With the time to close a purchase loan averaging 45 days in today’s market, that’s a month and a half of waiting.
Cash buyers, on the other hand, are a lot more agile. Typically, a company that buys homes for cash will show you proof of funds for the amount they’re willing to offer and can close in as little as a week to 10 days.
Should I sell my house for cash?
If speed, convenience, and certainty are your top priorities, then selling your house for cash can be the right choice for you. Abdel sums it up this way: “It’s an almost guaranteed sale where you go with the cash buyer, and you don’t have any contingencies.”
Without the risk of financing glitches delaying the sale or inspection issues prompting the buyer to renegotiate, selling your house to a cash buyer will get you to the closing table much faster and with fewer headaches. But unless you sell to a cash buyer who plans on living in the home, Abdel says you could be giving up 10% to 15%. However, the fast sale may be exactly what you need.
One thing is certain: Companies that buy homes for cash aren’t going anywhere. And they are becoming more popular with a variety of sellers, not just those in distress.
“In my opinion, iBuyers and other cash-buying companies will continue to become more mainstream,” says Van Soest. “Technology is making it easier and easier to sell a home virtually.” And, he adds, you may get a better price than you would expect if your house is in really good condition and in a desirable area.
Still on the fence? HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform offers a commitment-free way to test the waters. We partner with the largest network of cash buyers in the U.S. Just enter a few details about your home online, and we’ll provide you with a cash offer in 24 hours, and you can close the sale in as few as 10 days — no additional fees, agent commission, or prep work.
FAQs on selling house for cash
It’s easy to get a cash offer for your house using HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, which provides cash offers nationwide on properties in almost any condition — even those that need work. Answer a few basic questions to tell us a little bit about your home. Then, you can request a free, no-obligation offer from our extensive network of pre-approved investors across the country. If you choose to accept the offer, you can select your preferred move date and get paid in as little as 10 days.
Selling your house for cash can be a good idea depending on your specific circumstances and needs. Some potential advantages include a faster sale process, avoiding the complexities of financing and appraisals, and receiving the full payment upfront without delays. However, it’s important to carefully consider the offered price, research the reputation of cash buyers or companies, and evaluate your long-term financial goals before making a decision. Consulting with a real estate professional recommended by HomeLight can help you assess whether selling for cash aligns with your situation.
The timeline for closing a cash sale can vary, but it generally tends to be faster compared to traditional sales. In some cases, a cash sale can close within a few days or weeks, depending on the negotiations and agreement between the buyer and seller. However, it’s important to note that the actual timeline may depend on factors such as property condition, title searches, and any necessary paperwork or inspections.
Consider using HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform to find reputable cash buyers in your area. HomeLight has built a nationwide network of hundreds of pre-approved real estate cash buyers and investors. We use your local neighborhood data and our extensive network to find the best offer for your home. Plus, requesting an offer is completely free.
- "Which houses get stuck sitting on the market? Home condition makes the difference," Fortune (June 2023)
- "Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, January 25, 2024," National Association of Realtors (January 2024)
- "Home Flipping Activity Keeps Falling While Investor Profits Keep Rising Across U.S. In Third Quarter Of 2023," Attom (December 2023)