COVID-19 Update

We are taking extended measures for the health and safety of our communities, including making updates to our home buying and selling processes.

Learn more
Guide

How to sell your house fast

By Joe Gomezposted on February 7th, 2020

The first step to selling your house fast is understanding the conditions in your market. Tactics like pricing competitively, timing the season, and choosing the right offer can help you move faster. Alternatively, there are new ways to sell fast at a competitive price without listing and showing your home, like selling to an iBuyer or trading-in.

chapter

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
Sell your home fast and control the timeline

You can request an offer online and skip the hassle of listings, showings, and months of uncertainty with Opendoor. Sell in as little as 14 days or push your close date out, you control the timing.

It’s free to request an offer, and there’s no obligation to accept.

  • Get a competitive, all-cash offer in 24 hours.
  • No listings, showings, and repairs.
  • Choose your close date.

See what Opendoor can offer on your home.

How fast will your home sell?

To understand how long it will take to sell your home, a good place to start is looking at these three stats:

  1. Days on market
  2. Home price appreciation
  3. Months of supply
Days on market: How long are homes spending “on the market”?

Days on Market (DOM) refers to the number of days a home is actively listed on the market before an offer is accepted or the agreement between the listing agent and the seller ends.

Looking at the average DOM for your market allows you to estimate how many days it may take to find a buyer. There are many steps to selling beyond connecting with a buyer so this does not indicate how long it will take to complete the transaction, merely how long you may be listing and showing your home.

Keep in mind that DOM can be highly seasonal. In some cities, just waiting a couple months to list can be the difference between weeks and months on the market.

Use the chart below to see how DOM fluctuates across the cities where Opendoor buys and sells homes.

Days on market (DOM)

Regional Multiple Listing Service data through

Select metro

Days on Market (DOM) refers to the number of days a home is actively listed on the market.

​​Looking at the average DOM in your market signals how long it may take to get an offer on your home. DOM tends to fluctuate seasonally with the most home buying activity in the spring/summer months.

​​Don’t see data for your market? Sign up for updates when Opendoor launches near you.

Home price appreciation: Are prices going up, down, or sideways?

By observing trends in home prices, you can see if the market conditions favor buyers, favor sellers, or are relatively neutral. Why does this matter?

If buyers are willing to pay more for homes in your area, they can be more motivated to make concessions like closing on a quicker timeline, waiving repairs, or even making a cash offer. You may also be able to sell fast at a higher price.

If the median sales price is increasing each month in your market, that suggests sellers have the upper hand because buyers are paying more.

Home Price Appreciation

Regional Multiple Listing Service data through

Select metro

Median sale price

The median sale price means exactly half of homes were sold above this price and exactly half were sold below. Changes in the median sale price signal if homes are selling for more money or for less over time. Think of the list price as the “asking price” and the sales price as the final price a buyer agrees to pay. The sales-to-list ratio shows if homes are selling for more or for less than what sellers are asking on average.

​​Don’t see data for your market? Sign up for updates when Opendoor launches near you.

Months of supply: Are homes selling fast or sitting on the market?

Months of supply is a measure of how many months it would take for all of the homes in your market to sell. It’s helpful because it signals whether the number of homes for sale is piling up or moving fast. If more and more homes are sitting on the market, then it can take longer to sell because buyers have more options.

You can calculate the months of supply by dividing the total number of homes for sale over the number of homes sold in the previous month.

Months of supply

=

Total number of homes for sale

Number of homes sold last month

For example, if you see that there are 400 homes for sale in your neighborhood but only 10 homes sold last month, it means that there are 4 months of supply left on the market.

4 months of supply

=

400 homes for sale

100 homes sold last month

As a rule of thumb: a market with less than 4 month’s supply favors sellers, meaning homes are more likely to sell faster. And if there’s more than 6 month’s supply, then the market likely favors buyers. Again, this is just a guide and will vary significantly by market.

Months of Supply

Regional Multiple Listing Service data through

Select metro

Buyer′s market

Neutral market

Seller′s market

Supply, or “inventory”, refers to how many homes are listed for sale in a given market. Months of supply is the number of months it would take to sell all of this inventory. It is a rate that signals if inventory is selling quickly or slowly. As a rule of thumb, less than four months of supply favors sellers, while greater than six months favors buyers.

​​Don’t see data for your market? Sign up for updates when Opendoor launches near you.

Months of Supply =

#Number of homes for sale

÷

#Number of homes sold in a month

“As an agent, I also watch for changes in inventory,” Andi Blackwell REALTOR®, told us. “For example, if you go from 2 months of supply to 2.5 months of supply, you may technically still be in a seller’s market, but buyers have just experienced a 25% increase in their options which can change the power dynamics in negotiations.”

Putting it all together

When you bring each of these metrics together, you can get a sense of the “market temperature”. In places where homes are spending fewer days on market, prices are rising, and there’s low supply, we often refer to those cities as “hot” real estate markets. As you’d expect homes tend to sell faster in hotter markets.

Market Temperature

Regional Multiple Listing Service data through

Select metro

Warm

75/100

DOM

Average days on market

Appreciation

Median sale price

Supply

Months of supply

To calculate market temperature, we apply a series of coefficients that weigh how the market compares to the median Days on Market, median sales price, and average months of supply. The score is between 1 - 100, where <= 25 is "Cold"; <= 50 is "Cool"; <= 75 is "Warm"; <= 100 is "Hot". Hot markets tend to have faster selling homes, rising prices, and low supply. The reverse is true for cold markets.

​​Don’t see data for your market? Sign up for updates when Opendoor launches near you.

Further Reading:

1. When is the best time to sell a home?

2. Understanding local real estate trends

3. How Opendoor calculates your home value

Choosing the fastest way to sell

In this section, we’ll cover the trade-offs of listing on the market versus newer alternatives like selling to an iBuyer when your goal is to sell fast.

For the sake of simplicity, we won’t cover selling through an auction or the pre-foreclosure process, often called a short-sale.

What is an iBuyer?

iBuyers are real estate companies that can buy homes directly from sellers. They aim to make a “fair market value” offer online and provide a simple process with more control over the timeline.

Learn how selling to an iBuyer works

Listing on the market for a fast sale

The time it takes to prepare, list, and close on the market can take days or months, depending on your location, the condition of your home, and the specific needs of a buyer.

According to Ellie Mae, the average time it took to close on a home in 2019 ranged from 43 – 49 days.

Common steps to list on the market:
  • Make repairs, cosmetic updates, and other prep work to get the home “show ready”.
  • Find an agent to help you list and show the home.
  • Compare offers and negotiate price and contingencies with buyers.
  • Complete the closing process: usually involves home inspection, appraisal, title, financing, and final walk-through.

An advantage of listing your home is the opportunity to solicit multiple offers. In competitive, “hot” markets this can drive up the sale price as buyers compete to present the best deal. The downside is that there can be a lot of uncertainty.

For example, buyers may include contingencies in their offer that extend your timeline like an inspection contingency that uncovers major repairs, a home sale contingency requiring the buyer to sell their home before purchasing yours, or a financing contingency allowing the buyer to exit the contract if they don’t qualify for financing.

You can learn more about contingencies in our blog on how to choose the best offer. Be sure to consider more than just the offer price if your goal is to sell fast.

A good agent will understand your market and can help you negotiate a faster timeline.

If you're planning to list your home, here are some good questions to ask your real estate agent.

Selling to an iBuyer

A new crop of real estate companies, termed iBuyers, have emerged. The underlying idea is that a company estimates the value of your home online and makes a competitive offer “instantly” (usually within a day or two). If you accept, they’ll purchase the home directly from you, which can be a faster process.

The steps to sell to Opendoor:
  • Request an offer online, no prep work or showings needed.
  • Get a competitive, all-cash offer within 24 hours.
  • Complete a free, in-person home assessment.
  • Many of the steps at closing are the same as listing on the market, but with Opendoor, you choose your close date.

Unlike a home flipper that buys homes below market and renovates heavily to markup the price, iBuyers aim to purchase homes in good condition and make a strong offer.

“I think one of the biggest misunderstandings I hear about iBuying is that people think offers are below market value,” -Andi Blackwell, REALTOR®

An independent study featured in the Wall Street Journal confirmed that iBuyers consistently make offers inline with what a home would sell for on the open market.

→ See how the costs of selling to an iBuyer compare to listing the traditional way.

iBuying vs listing: how do I choose?

If you have more time on your hands or if you’re in a “hot” market, you might be able to sell for top-dollar by listing and bidding up the price with multiple offers. On the other hand, iBuying allows a fast, predictable process.


selling timeline

To make the best decision, consider the total costs of selling a home. You can use our home sale calculator to input your costs and estimate how much you’ll pocket at the end of the sale.

While agent commissions are usually 4-6 percent, the total cost of selling a home can reach ten percent of the sale price.

Ask yourself, are there added costs to not moving on your timeline, like storage fees, temporary housing, or a double mortgage? Will you need to delay a job opportunity or family milestone?

PRO TIP: Just like you can trade-in a car, you can trade-in your home, allowing you to buy and sell in one simple process. You can align your move in and move out dates so you avoid double moves and double mortgages.

Learn more about trading-in

The best of both worlds

There’s no harm in starting with an iBuyer and a listing agent. You can request an offer online and use it as a starting point in your conversations with agents. And if you do decide to try your luck on the market, you can refresh an Opendoor offer at anytime.

Your agent can also request an offer on your behalf. We work with listing agents all of the time.

Further Reading:

1. What is an iBuyer?

2. How to sell your house

3. How Opendoor’s costs compare to a traditional sale

Tips for a fast home sale

If you want to sell your home fast, there are things you can’t control like the market conditions, seasonality, and the preferences of a buyer. We recommend being proactive about what you can control like the first impression of your home, your pricing strategy, and the offer you choose.

These five steps can help you sell your home faster:
1. Price your home competitively and have a strategy

Price is one of the single most important criteria that buyers consider; it’s also how many buyers start searching for a home. To price your home, you’ll want to compare the prices of similar homes in your area that have sold recently. These comparable homes are often called “comps” in real estate.

To make it easy, you can request your home value from Opendoor using the same process we use to make an offer on your home. The process is free, and we’ll estimate your selling costs, your net proceeds, and provide a handful of comps we used to calculate your home value.

How Opendoor calculates the value of your home

→ Learn more about our home valuation process.

A common challenge in listing your home is that while you want to sell fast, interested buyers might want to shop around. A good way to create urgency is to adjust your asking price or offer a concession to the buyer. Concessions are basically additional incentives to “sweeten the deal”, like offering to pay closing costs or offering a credit for the costs of certain repairs.

Finally, have a strategy in place. What is the plan if you don’t have an offer after a few weeks? How much will you adjust the price and what other incentives are you willing to offer?

One advantage of working with an iBuyer is you can start the process with an all-cash offer. You don’t need to list and show your home or provide concessions to motivate buyers. You can read more about the benefits of an all-cash offer.

If you plan on listing your home the traditional way, an experienced agent should be able to explain the pricing trends in your market and have experience helping clients with similar homes sell fast.

2. Consider the best time to sell fast in your market

While you can’t control the seasonality of the housing market, you might be able to control the best time to list your home. Generally speaking, homes sell faster and for more money in the spring and summer months, but some areas are more sensitive to seasonal changes than others.

The chart below shows how Days on Market and the number of active listings fluctuated seasonally from April 2018 to April 2019.




If you were selling a home in Phoenix, homes spent between 43 - 45 days on market from April '18 to November. However, if you were selling in Dallas, the range for that same time frame was 37 to 58 days on market. Waiting a month or two to sell can mean a difference of spending weeks versus months selling your home.

3. Only make necessary repairs and updates to get your home “show-ready”

If your home is relatively new without major defects then we recommend only making minor updates that have a short, predictable timeline like a fresh coat of paint, staining a deck, or simple drywall repair.

I recommend my clients only make repairs or updates if it is absolutely necessary to broaden the home’s appeal to attract more buyers. - Andi Blackwell, REALTOR®

Also, not all upgrades will lead to a significant increase in the sale price. If you are considering upgrading your home, try our home improvement calculator to see which projects can have the biggest increase on your home value.

And if your home needs expensive or time-consuming repairs, you have options. You can price your home to reflect its condition, known as selling your home “as-is”. Or, you can offer the buyer a credit at close based on the value of the work needed.

Most buyers will ask for an inspection contingency, allowing them to walk-away if any repairs are needed. There's no guarantee they will accept a credit, especially if they're looking for a "move-in ready" home.

This is an area where iBuyers can be useful. Because you don’t need to list your home to get an offer from an iBuyer, you don’t need to spend time and money getting your home “show-ready”. Additionally, if you sell to Opendoor, we'll handle any needed repair work after you move out so you can move on your timeline.

Learn how Opendoor handles repairs

4. Clean, declutter, and make all feel welcome

First impressions matter because they can indicate how well the home has been cared for. No one wants to inherit a bunch of expensive repairs.

Cleaning and decluttering ensures buyers see the best version of your home, and it can also make the spaces feel bigger and more open. You also want to make it easy for buyers to inspect the areas that are important to them.



Finally, you’ll often hear real estate experts recommend “de-personalizing” your home. The idea is that you want a buyer to picture themselves living in your home, which can be difficult if there are a lot of personal photographs and memorabilia around.

People also tend to have different tastes in decor so choosing neutral colors and less personal decorative items can appeal to a broader group of people.

A good way to think about it is that your goal is to highlight the features and spaces of your home, not your personal taste.

5. The highest offer isn’t always the fastest.

If your goal is to move fast, the highest offer isn’t always the best offer. The average time to close on a home purchase ranged between 40 to 50 days in 2019. That’s weeks on top of all of the time you spend showing your home to find a buyer so there’s more at stake than just the offer price.

What if the deal falls through and you have to start over? What if your buyer makes a great offer but needs to sell their home first and qualify for financing? Look for common contingencies that can delay your timeline like an inspection contingency, home sale contingency, or financing contingency.

Selling the traditional way is often about compromise. Make sure to understand if the offer will allow you to sell fast and if there’s opportunity to negotiate the timeline. A good agent should be able to explain how they’ll negotiate on your behalf.

Bonus: Skip all of these steps and start with a competitive, all-cash offer on your home. Choose your close date, kick back and relax.

Unlock an offer on your home

  • Get a free, no-obligation offer in 24 hours.
  • Skip the hassle of listings, showings, and repairs.
  • Close on your own timeline.