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

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 isn’t always predictable. Sometimes you realize: “I need to sell my house fast” — and with little warning. You may be navigating a job loss, going through a divorce, or helping a loved one relocate quickly for a medical reason.

A home’s condition can also be a big factor in why you need to sell a house quickly. Houses require constant maintenance and can become an enormous burden. Listing and selling a fixer-upper can prove difficult unless you have enough cash for repairs.

Step one to selling fast: Talk to an expert!

Sell your home for a competitive price in as few as 10 days, with no additional fees, agent commission, or prep work. Start by telling us about your home and speak to one of our Home Consultants. This helps us get the best possible offer from our extensive network of investors nationwide.

Others want much-needed convenience amid juggling work, parenting, and additional demands while selling a home. One study found 84% of Americans report feeling stressed weekly. Maybe when it comes down to it, you’re not interested in repeated showings or haggling with buyers who expect HGTV move-in-ready homes.

In this handy, easy guide, we’ll share your best options when you need to sell a house fast.

Sell my house fast option 1: Get a cash offer

If you find yourself saying: “I want to sell my house urgently,” one of the fastest ways to close the sale and move on is to request a cash offer.

You could contact multiple companies or the first We Buy Houses website you come across, but there’s a much better way to sell your house for cash — and that is through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform.

Simple Sale brings together one of the largest networks of cash buyers in the U.S., slashing your closing timeline and letting you choose your move-out date. Essentially, we compare sites like “We Buy Houses” to nearly every other option you could find and present you with the best offer.

Simply answer a few questions about your home, and you can receive a no-obligation all-cash offer within a week.

How fast?: Sell your house in as little as 10 days

Key benefits:
• Speed
• No repairs
• All cash
• Simplicity
• No-obligation offer
• Typically the best way to sell your house

Sell your house fast with Simple Sale

Simple Sale, a solution from HomeLight, is an online platform where sellers across the country can request a cash offer for their home. Simple Sale connects you to the largest network of cash buyers in the U.S. Partner investors have a wide range of investment strategies, including fix-and-flip and buy-and-hold. This enables Simple Sale to provide cash offers for a wide array of properties, even those that need some or a lot of work.

With Simple Sale, you can get an all-cash offer in as little as a week and sell your home as quickly as 10 days, skipping the months it can take to sell the traditional way.

Locations: Nationwide

Closing costs: No prep costs, no agent commissions, and no fees charged by HomeLight. Individual investor fees may vary.

How well does it work?
While selling a home to a cash buyer will likely not bring in top dollar, it will give you top speed, convenience, and simplicity, which may be the solution set you need. Below you can hear about how Baohan Wu, a seller who used Simple Sale to sell his high-rise apartment, closed within three and a half weeks and what he thought of the process overall.

Homelight Simple Sale client Traci M: “HomeLight Simple Sale helped match me with a cash buyer within days. The process was extremely easy and efficient. I would definitely recommend Simple Sale to anyone trying to sell their home.”

Homelight Simple Sale client Kevin L: “From the initial phone consultation, to the closing of escrow, the entire process was so quick and simple. Everyone was extremely helpful, responsive, and professional.”

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Compare sell my house fast companies

Company Name Contact About Closing costs
HomeVestors / We Buy Ugly Houses®
Largest professional house buying franchise in the U.S. None
Simple Sale (a HomeLight platform)
Extensive online investor network that will match you with the best cash offer for your home None
We Buy Houses
Provides unified branding, marketing materials, and systems to professional investors nationwide None
Express Homebuyers
Has purchased over 4,000 homes since beginning operations in 2003; available in many states None
Founded in 2018, provides cash offers to homeowners in 3 easy steps None
MarketPro Homebuyers
Founded in 2012, provides solutions to sellers in the Mid-Atlantic region None
Marketplace connecting sellers with distressed properties with local investors None
Pioneering iBuying platform, some limitations to types of homes purchased 5% maximum service fee
Launched in 2015, Offerpad is one of the largest iBuyers by transaction volume 6% service fee

Sell my house fast option 2: Hire a top agent known for speed

When you need to sell a house fast but also want a higher offer price, selling with a real estate agent is typically a better choice. However, homes are currently spending an average of 54 days on the market (DOM) — the time between when a house is listed and when it goes under contract with a buyer. But if you’re working with a financed buyer, you also must factor in the time the buyer needs to close their purchase loan, which is around 43 more days.

Other than selling for cash as outlined in option 1, another way to help speed up a traditional home sale is to partner with a top-performing real estate agent. HomeLight data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes faster and for as much as 10% more than average real estate agents.

How fast: Sell your house in 90-125 days (varies by market and local housing trends)

Key benefits:
• More money for your home
• Top agents sell homes faster than average agents
• No cost unless your home sells
• Experience in your area
• Expert pricing and negotiating

How well does it work?
Below you can read feedback from sellers who connected with a top-performing agent through HomeLight. Read additional testimonials at this link.

Thomas L. of Charlotte, North Carolina: “The service that HomeLight provided was a tremendous help. HomeLight was able to match our specific situation and needs with a selection of local Realtors and remove a lot of the legwork from the selection process.”

Cory of Ft. Loramie, Ohio: “Using HomeLight made it easy to find the top real estate agent in our area. The process from beginning to end was so quick and easy. Our agent got to work right away and was very confident in the listing process. Our home went under contract just 2-3 weeks and sold quickly!”

Pattie J. of New Jersey: “Purely professional from start to finish. I received an immediate response. In less than two months, our property sold for much more than we expected. HomeLight is the game changer of real estate.”

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4 tips to sell your house faster

For a speedy transaction, here are some home selling tips from top agents:

  • Declutter room by room: Create the illusion of space by removing shoes, boxes, and stacks of items from your floors. Relocate bulky furniture and move any clutter that won’t fit into storage spaces. If it won’t fit in a closet, the basement, or the garage, send it to storage. Countertops should be clear of anything not intentionally placed. At the very least, your home needs to be tidy and organized when the showings start.
  • Deep clean everything: If you don’t have the time to mop the floors, vacuum, dust, and get your surfaces sparkling, then consider hiring a service to do the job. For an average investment of $200-$400 to clean a three-bedroom home with two baths, you’ll likely see a sizable return on investment.
  • Spruce up your curb appeal: In the current market, the look and feel of a home’s outdoor spaces are more important to buyers than ever. Backyard/outdoor space was one of the top reasons buyers cited for wanting to purchase a home in 2022, according to our Buyer and Seller Insights Survey for End of Year 2022. In addition to helping produce a speedier sale, our research shows that buyers will pay an average of 7% more for a house with great curb appeal.
  • Pick the right time to list: Timing can have an impact on how quickly a house sells, but this can vary depending on location. Some housing markets see intense seasonal changes based on when parents start looking for homes, popular times for vacation house hunters to arrive, or shifts in the weather. If you have a bit of flexibility as to when to put your house on the market, enter your city into HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell calculator to find out the fastest time to sell in your market based on local housing market data.

Learn more: 9 Expert Selling Tips to Help You Sell Your Home Fast 

Sell my house fast option 3: Compare a cash offer with an agent’s opinion

This third option can give you the best of both solutions. While you don’t need an agent to request a cash offer, taking this step carries no risk and can provide greater peace of mind.

How fast?: While this option may add a few days or a week to your home sale timeline, by asking a top agent for their professional opinion about speed and proceeds, you can feel more confident before you make a selling commitment about your home.

Key benefits:
• You get a side-by-side comparison
• No cost or obligation to compare
• Can request a free comparative market analysis
• Confidence to make a more informed decision

How it works?
HomeLight makes it easy. Start by requesting a quote from HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator. In just a few minutes, you’ll receive a preliminary estimate of value for your home along with a list of top local real estate agents who can provide you with more information, and your estimated Simple Sale cash offer price.

An experienced agent can provide you with a free comparative market analysis (CMA) that compares your property against recently sold properties nearby to determine a beginning listing price for your home sale. Compare this to your cash offer and online estimates to make a more informed choice. As a seller, you are now more empowered, whether you choose to list with a top local agent or sell for cash.

Get started now:

Learn more: How Do I Get a Comparative Market Analysis? 

Sell-fast options to avoid: Short sale, FSBO, and auction

Certain routes to selling your home may sound like a shortcut but aren’t what they seem. Some options to avoid include short sale, FSBO, and selling at auction.

  • Short sale: The “short” in “short sale” 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 home sale.
  • FSBO: Selling FSBO (for sale by owner) is not a common option. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), only 10% of sellers take this route. Of those, 50% already knew the buyer. So unless you have a buyer already lined up, such as a friend or family member, don’t count on a fast FSBO home sale.
  • Auctions: An auction can be a fast option if you have the right combination of market, seller, and property. But auctions are unpredictable and risky when it comes to speed and proceeds. You might sell your house in 21 days, or it might take 45 days or longer. You have limited control of the final sales price, and auction costs can exceed traditional agent commissions. And you’ll still need to pay the auction fees even if your home doesn’t sell.

Why you might need to sell a house fast

  1. Debt: You’re facing a financial deadline or foreclosure
  2. Divorce: You’d prefer to sell the house quickly, split assets, and move on
  3. Medical issue: You’re helping someone make new living arrangements
  4. Inherited home: You need to settle an out-of-area inheritance
  5. Job loss: You’re moving or downsizing after a loss of employment
  6. Relocation: You’re taking a job in a new place
  7. Bad tenants: You’re a property owner who wants to sell now
  8. Damage: Your home has costly foundation, fire, or water damage
  9. Tax liens: You’re facing unpaid property taxes or income taxes
  10. Bad location: You’re unhappy about imminent changes nearby

Pro tip: Use HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator before you request a cash offer so you can better determine if it’s a price you’re willing to accept. You’ll receive a preliminary estimate in under two minutes. For greater accuracy, request a comparative market analysis from a top local real estate agent, who can also advise you on options to sell your house fast.

What are the benefits of selling for cash?

While you will typically get less than market value, selling your home to a cash buyer may be an attractive option. Here are some of the top benefits of selling to a cash buyer:

  • Fast 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 several months with a non-cash buyer.
  • No repairs: Save the time, cost, and headaches of making repairs or improvements when you sell to a cash buyer, many of whom are looking for “fixer-upper” houses.
  • Simple and convenient: No prep. Fewer steps. Less paperwork. Selling to a cash buyer usually means selling your home as-is.
  • No marketing, staging, or showings: You won’t need a public for-sale sign, flyers, or schedule time for shoppers to walk through your house. Homes sold with traditional methods commonly require 10-25 showings before being sold.
  • Fewer fees: Not only will sellers be able to skip the agent’s commission, but many cash buyers also pay closing costs.
  • No lender-ordered appraisal: Selling for cash eliminates the lender-ordered appraisal and the delays or deal-killing risks that come when a home appraisal comes in low.
  • Less stress/less hassle: According to research by 1000Watt Inside, 70% of sellers consider the traditional sale process stressful. A cash sale is typically straightforward and fast.
  • No negotiations: Cash buyers typically make a take-it-or-leave-it offer, so there’s no negotiating or uncomfortable
  • Fewer financial, legal, or lender barriers: Because there is no lender involved, a cash sale doesn’t require financing approval or an appraisal. In a traditional home sale, buyer financing issues cause over a third of closing delays and can cause a deal to collapse.
  • 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 that add up each month.
  • Fewer sales fall through (less risk): Many traditional buyers add contingencies to their offers, which increase the risk of a delayed or canceled settlement. Conversely, cash buyers rarely impose a financing, appraisal, or home sale contingency.
  • Can be a solution to life challenges: If you’re facing a divorce, foreclosure, imminent job loss or transfer, or perhaps you inherited a home out of state, you may benefit from a quick sale. Whatever your situation, an all-cash sale offers speed and less work.
  • Flexibility: Sellers who work with a house-buying company often select a move-out date that works best for them.
  • Peace of mind: You can have the peace of mind and financial certainty that comes with a cash sale, especially for homeowners juggling life challenges.

How does selling for cash work?

When you sell your house for cash, you can expect the process to go something like this:

  1. Make contact: You reach out to a house-buying company or investor who serves your area and provide them with information about your home.
  2. Receive a preliminary offer: In as little as 24-48 hours, you will receive a preliminary offer that may be subject to change after a house assessment.
  3. Have your home assessed: The company schedules a walkthrough or exterior inspection of your house to evaluate its condition, usually within a few days’ time.
  4. Get a firm offer: The company makes a firm offer, which you can accept or decline. Most of these companies will not alter their price, so negotiations are off the table.
  5. Closing begins: If you accept the offer, you and the company will each sign the contract, and closing will begin.
  6. Title clearance: The buyer will wait to ensure your home is able to convey a clear title before paying. If liens are discovered, some companies will assist you through the next steps.
  7. Payment is disbursed: You receive payment, typically within seven days to 14 days. In addition, many companies that buy houses for cash provide flexible move-out dates.

Learn more: The Process of Selling Your House for Cash

Who buys houses for cash?

Some cash buyers are individuals with sufficient funds to pay for a house with cash. But when you list your home, it’s hard to predict whether your offer will come from a cash buyer or a buyer prequalified for a home loan.

For the certainty of cash, sellers who need to sell a home fast often work with companies that buy houses for cash. Here’s a run-down of the five most common types of companies that buy homes for cash.

  • Franchisors: These companies franchise their model under a brand name. They buy houses as-is, fix them, and either sell or rent them. Examples include We Buy Ugly Houses, HomeVestors, and We Buy Houses.
  • House flippers: These investors buy homes in need of repair, renovate them, and then sell them as turnkey properties. They’re looking for a bargain to maximize profits. Examples include FortuneBuilders, The Property Flip, and FlippingJunkie.
  • Buy-and-hold investors: These buyers convert houses into rental properties as part of a long-term investment strategy. Examples include Invitation Homes, Tricon Residential, American Homes 4 Rent, and Progress Residential.
  • Trade-in or “buy before you sell”: These companies will offer to buy your current home and/or provide modern, convenient options that free up your equity to buy a new house. (No home sale contingency or paying two mortgages.) Examples include HomeLight Buy Before You Sell, Flyhomes, Orchard Move First, and Knock Home Swap.
  • iBuyers: These companies use an automated valuation model (AVM) to generate an all-cash offer. Their offers are typically more competitive than franchisors or house-flipping groups, relying on volume for their profits. iBuyers typically charge a service fee of about 5%-6%. Examples include Opendoor, Offerpad, and ExpressOffers.

What are the benefits of selling with a top agent?

What makes a top real estate agent different from an average agent? A top agent offers you hands-on expertise that helps you with all aspects of your home-sale journey. These include:

  • Ability to sell for more: HomeLight data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than average real estate agents. The additional proceeds can often offset or exceed the amount paid in commission fees.
  • Top agents sell homes quicker: A performance-proven agent will have a lower “days on market” (DOM) transaction history. They can network your listing to colleagues, oftentimes drumming up interest before a home is fully prepped for showing.
  • Network of professionals: A great real estate agent will have a laundry list of skilled professionals at your disposal. These can include trusted, licensed contractors, pest control experts, house cleaners, real estate attorneys, and more.
  • Accurate pricing: Setting the right listing price is a crucial factor in balancing a fast home sale with retaining maximum profits. A top agent can set the right asking price based on an analysis of comparable sales and current market conditions. They can help you account for recent upgrades, curb appeal, new developments like shopping districts and restaurants, and your home’s condition, whether it’s impeccable or needs work.
  • Appraisal and inspection expertise: A proven agent can help sellers anticipate and navigate the home appraisal and inspection processes no matter the outcome. A top agent can advise you on when and how to negotiate for an appraisal waiver in the contract upfront, which can keep your home sale moving at a faster pace.
  • Professional negotiation skills: With a top agent, sellers go into negotiations with a huge advantage. Experienced agents have the skills — and the responsibility — to negotiate to get you the price you want and sell on your timeline.
  • A lighter load: Partnering with a top agent can give you peace of mind, knowing that no matter what happens along the road to closing, you have a professional on your side that can avoid pitfalls and keep the deal moving forward.
  • Elevated marketing: There’s a difference between marketing a home and selling a home. A top agent doesn’t just list your home on the MLS and then wait for offers to come trickling in. They will actively promote your home in the best places with the best angles, often even before all the preparations are complete.
  • Contract savviness: A top agent will know how to keep your home sale transaction legal and moving ahead at a good pace. They will be familiar with the required documents and disclosures you need, and coordinate all aspects of your settlement agreement, helping to reduce potential risks or delays.
  • Objective lens: Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent helps to keep the home selling process in an objective perspective when it matters most. This can be especially helpful when you need to sell a house fast.
  • Innovative tools: As new tech solutions emerge, savvy agents are able to take advantage of these developments to help deliver better, faster outcomes for their clients. These might include drone videos, virtual tours, or streamlined closing tools from companies like HomeLight.

Learn more: When To Contact a Realtor® to Sell Your House

What do you need from your agent?

If you’re on a tight selling deadline, it’s reasonable to have concerns over whether a real estate agent will work at a fast enough pace to sell your home. That means not just any real estate agent will suffice. To give yourself the best shot at selling quickly, partner with an agent who has a track record of selling homes like yours quickly. For that, you can look at data for their average days on market (DOM) and their transaction history.

  • Low DOM: Days on market (DOM) tracks the time between when a house is listed and when it goes under contract with a buyer. If an agent’s average DOM is lower than the area average, it’s a good sign that they price homes correctly to attract quick offers and come out of the gate with a strong marketing plan for their listings.
  • Experience in your area: An agent with hyperlocal expertise will be able to better highlight the perks of your home to interested buyers. They’ll also have heightened familiarity with real estate in the area and what types of upgrades would help your house sell for more (and which ones would be a waste of money).
  • Familiarity with your property type: An agent who has had experience selling homes like yours will be better positioned to enable you to sell faster. HomeLight can help you find agents who have successfully sold properties in your area, so you can benefit from their local knowledge and expertise. Each agent’s profile will show how many homes he or she has sold in your community.

At HomeLight, we analyze more than 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you. Whether you are selling or buying, we would be happy to introduce you to a top-rated agent near you.

Learn more: How to Choose a Real Estate Agent for Selling Your Home

Bottom line: When you need to sell fast, you do have options

Selling a house has a reputation for being overwhelming, stressful, and time-consuming. But fast? Not so much.

That said, you don’t have to leave your selling fate to chance. Whether you decide to request a cash offer, work with a top agent who can meet your deadline, or collect information about your home value before picking a route, you now know your main ways to sell your home fast. All that’s left to do is pick a path.

Read more: Things to do to sell your house

Writers Max Efrein and Lori Lovely contributed to this story.

FAQs on selling house fast