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Selling Your House For Cash: A Comprehensive Guide

Selling Your House For Cash

Selling your house for cash can be a tricky situation. 

On the one hand, you get cash in your pocket to escape an eviction, sell an unwanted house, or move quickly to another house. Sometimes, cash buyers may even work to your time on closing.

On the other hand, you must also be open to lowball offers and brace yourself to fight off scam artists.

Learning what selling a house for cash entails could save you any drama. And get the best deal that suits the condition of your house and preferred timeframe for closing.

 

Figure Out What Your Home’s Worth

know your worth when selling your house for cash

Use Free Online Home Estimators 

Online home estimators are the rave of the moment. They give you an estimate of your home’s worth using algorithms, data from iBuyer sites, and official records. 

And they are free. All you do is input your house address in the site’s search bar, and you’ll get an estimate in a few seconds. 

The only issue with online estimators is the question of accuracy. Results may close the market value or be way off. Anyhow, folks in larger cities with rich online housing data experience better accuracy.

While they don’t give the most pinpoint results, it’s something you can work with. 

Hire A Professional Appraiser

An owner-occupant buyer almost always requests an appraisal to determine your home’s fair market value. It helps them convince their lender that they’ve agreed to pay a fair price for your house.  

But most cash buyers don’t require a loan — they are either investment companies or individuals with cash from family or friends. 

That doesn’t mean you conduct a personal one if you’re determined. If you think it’s worth it, a state-licensed appraiser costs between $300 to $600. 

 

Talk To Your Real Estate Agent 

A conversation with real estate agents helps in many ways to sell a house for the best price. You can have your agent give you a comparative market analysis (CMA) to calculate your home’s fair market value at no cost. While this is more accurate, you may have to commit to them. 

But you can always ask two or three local agents what they think your home’s worth — no costs, no obligations. But it only works if you’re looking for a ballpark range.

A serious seller with a “move-in house” who wouldn’t mind closing in a few weeks or months should request the CMA.

 

Finding A Cash Buyer

Finding a cash buyer for your house

Sell For Cash Traditionally With An Agent 

It’s rare to find houses strictly marketed to cash buyers in an online listing. But the current hot seller’s market usually brings in a couple of cash offers looking to win a bidding war. 

These buyers know an attractive cash offer puts them in the spotlight. So an excellent strategy is pricing a little (about 2-3%) below your FMV. It allows these passionate homebuyers to offer a price above the asking price. 

The only thing is, unlike the reality with most “cash sellers,” the house needs to be in mint condition (or close) for this to work. 

 

Use Reliable “Cash for Houses” Companies

Ever noticed those shady signboards by the roadside saying “WE BUY HOUSES,” ” WE BUY UGLY HOUSES”? 

They are legitimate businesses called “Cash for House” companies. These cash buyers usually close a house purchase within four to fourteen days. And for no service cost, they deduct repair costs and adjust for profit in the offer. A typical “cash for house” company offers twenty to fifty percent below your house’s FMV. 

 

A noteworthy mention is that these cash buyers buy houses regardless of physical or legal issues. 

 

Contact an iBuyer 

Another reliable buyer to sell your house to for cash is online investment buyer companies called iBuyers. 

They operate similar to “cash for houses” entities in that they close fast and send an offer in under 24 hours. Except iBuyers can submit a cash offer within minutes using an algorithm.  

Following the online estimate, iBuyers send a representative for a physical evaluation. Once that’s done, they send their detailed offer. 

Established iBuyers like Zillow, Opendoor, and RedFin submit offers closer to the FMV. However, they deduct a percentage of the selling price as commission — Opendoor charges 5%. 

 

Note: iBuyers may pay closer to your fair market value, but don’t patronise houses with much work. 

 

Weighing Buyer Terms and Price Of The Offer: Keep an Eagle Eye Out

Woman Weighing Price and Terms

Most distressed cash sellers care less about details in the offer. 

A lawyer who’s living in L. A would find it hard to travel a hundred miles down Glendale to prep and sell a rundown house he inherited from an unknown distant relative. All he wants is to get it off his neck. 

But not everyone is a preoccupied seller like the lawyer. Always go through the price offer and address your options — if any. If your home is in move-in condition, you should expect close to or over the market value from cash-wealthy individuals.

Otherwise, you should be reasonable considering offers below FMV. Housing companies like Zillow, OpenDoor, and Patriot Cash Offer, can buy houses as-is for cash but consider many factors. For example, they adjust for repairs, profit, and sometimes service fees. 

Ultimately, you can tell if the offer is fair when you consider these variables. 

 

Check Terms 

Selling a house as-is — without repairs or appraisal contingency — is attractive to many cash sellers. 

But that’s not always the reality, especially with owner-occupant cash buyers. Sometimes, they request an appraisal to ensure no deal-breakers — like an undisclosed leaky roof or collapsing foundation. 

Most house-buying companies waive this inspection entirely. It’s their business plan — they calculate the risks into the final offer. 

 

Talk To An Agent For Further Transparency

Talk to an agent with experience closing cash offers in your area. These local realtors know the neighborhood and can stretch your buyer’s budget during negotiations.

An agent conducts a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to hold a strong position. And combines these facts and figures with their street-wise to bargain competitively. 

Real estate agents usually conduct a CMA for free, but with an expectation that you let them sell the house for an agent’s fee. 

Agent fees in California range between 5-6 percent on average for homes and 1-2% for high-end luxury. 

 

Proof Of Funds 

Once you’ve received an offer, verification “proof” of funds is the next step. First, the committed buyer must show a bank statement to show they have access to the money. 

This is one of the reasons you’ll need a title or escrow agency. So second, watch out for an official letterhead and an authorized bank signature on the buyer’s bank letter. 

Some cash buyers may skip this process to make the deal successful if they’re dealing with accredited cash buyers. Just a word: don’t!  

Signing The Contract

Man Wearing Shirt And Jubilates With Cash In His Hands

Congratulations! You’ve finally received an offer you think is worth the value of your home. It’s time to get the cash in your hands. 

Closing the deal should now be your next priority. So, prepare all the necessary documents and ensure you don’t have any liens on your title. 

What’s great about a cash offer is that it’s more straightforward and cheaper to close. Micheal Simpkins, a real estate agent in Florida, confirms, “On a $200,000 home, you’ll save $5,000 to $6,000 dollars in closing costs.” 

Here’s a breakdown of what signing the contract entails. However, you should hire a small title company or agent to handle this step professionally.

Necessary Documents 

The following are documents used during closing:

  • U.S Government I.D (Passport) 
  • Title deed 
  • Bill of sale
  • Original Power of Attorney (If Applicable)
  • Wiring Instructions to include: Bank Name, Bank Address, Routing Number, Account Number

 

Pass The Home Inspection

An owner-occupant may request an inspection before purchasing, but house-buying companies usually waive the inspection contingency. 

So, when you sell to someone inspecting, your house has to be good enough to not affect the deal. If the buyer finds issues, they may back out, ask for repairs, or deduct the price from the offer. 

The best you can do is give an honest seller’s disclosure to build trust. But, it’s inevitable anyway, since hiding damages will cause legal cases if you’re caught. And, the anxiety of looking over your shoulder wondering if you’ll be caught isn’t worth it.

 

Clear Your Title

Clearing issues on your title prevents delay since the buyer will seek them out to avoid issues. And don’t think you can hide these issues when you’re selling. 

It’s one reason you also need to hire a title and escrow company aside from closing and keeping money in escrow. Title companies will help you negotiate favorable terms on the lien payoff.

The following are issues on a title that could cause delay: 

  • Mechanic (property) liens 
  • Unpaid alimony and child support 
  • Bills
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) dues

 

Closing The Deal

To get on the same page, closing is when you sign off your house’s documents to the new owners. 

It involves plenty of paperwork but could take only a few days because the buyers are paying in cash — and don’t need to wait for approval from a lender. 

The closing will usually take place at the office of a trusted professional like the attorney, real estate agent, or title company. It all depends on the customs of your state. In California, for instance, involved persons meet at the real estate agent’s office.

Sign the deed. You’ll choose to let the title company or your attorney handle the paperwork.

 

Benefits of Selling Your House For Cash

Benefits Of Selling your House For Cash  

Fast Deal

The most sought-after benefit of a cash sale is the luxury of completing the transaction swiftly. As a result, cash buyers often forgo inspection, appraisal, and other steps that make the traditional method a long and stressful process.  

Sellers who have a payment due or need to relocate on short notice love can’t go wrong with a cash offer. However, an owner-occupant may still be picky and not rush into dealing with an investor.

Typically, selling to house-buying companies for cash takes only four days to two weeks.

Steps Typical number of days for a cash sale Typical days for financed Sale
Prepping Zero 30 – 90
Getting an offer 1 – 2 30 – 60
Closing 7 – 14 30 – 60
Total: 8 -16 days Total: 90 – 210 days

Source: Homelight

 

Lower Fees

Selling a house for cash is relatively cheaper than a loan-financed sale. Since most cash sellers list the house “as is,” that’s less money spent on curb appeal, prepping, and staging. Additionally, concessions are off the table on most deals, so you don’t accrue repairs. 

Sure, you’re likely getting a lower offer on your house than a buyer with a financier. But you can make up for the costs with money you’re not spending on prepping, commissions, and servicing concessions. For instance, a loan buyer may ask you to fix a damaged deck before they can close the deal. That could cost you a thousand bucks or more. Now add that with the 3% you’ll pay the real estate agent and what you’ve spent on prepping the house. All of that could sum to over $10,000 out-of-pocket.

All in all, escaping these expenses can make up for the lower price offer of a cash sale. And if you’re selling to cash investors or “cash for houses” companies, you’d save on agent commissions.

 

Flexibility

Cash buyers and investors are flexible with closing dates. For example, say you’ve found a house you want to buy but need a place to stay before finalising the deal. A cash buyer can postpone occupancy to accommodate you until the deal is done.

A traditional buyer will rarely accept such terms. The best they do is give you a few days before they come banging on your doors. But, who knows, you might be lucky and cut yourself a deal like Buddy in Ozark.

 

Easier To Buy Another House

Most cash buyers remedy sellers in a tough spot financially or geographically. It takes only a few weeks to close, and you have enough cash to make a new offer. 

Only sizable down payments strengthen house offers in today’s real estate market. So moving four states away on a job relocation with only a week to park, selling to cash for houses works reasonably.

At the end of the day, you’d still secure a good home in a short period. And seasoned cash buyers spare sellers give a flexible schedule till your final move date.   

Keynote: A cash offer isn’t just good to get money in your hands. It makes you eligible to get the house of your dreams. 

 

Sell House in Any Condition

Most cash buyers don’t discriminate against houses in deplorable condition. On the contrary, some buyers, like “Cash for Houses” companies and developers, love properties of this type.  

They aim to rebuild and profit, so they factor in the cost of repairs, location, and timing into the offer. 

And they come to your aid if you’re in financial or legal crises — giving you cash to find another house or travel. 

Lange. “Sometimes the bank is knocking on their door or there are eviction notices in the window. Cash gives them a way out.”

 

Drawbacks To Selling Your House For Cash

Everything good comes with imperfections, and so does a cash sale. It’s up to you to consider them to know if they’re worth living with.

Lower Market Price

Going into cash trade, you should always expect to get a lower deal. Who you choose to go with, however, dictates how low. 

Selling through an agent will yield the highest cash offer, with iBuyers offering close to market value. Cash for house companies price a little further away, but they don’t deduct seller’s or agent’s fees.  

But no matter the case, stay away from opportunity buyers. These cash buyers are only ready to pay the amount a distressed seller needs to stay afloat. 

Scam Alert

Real estate scams are on the rise, and you’re more exposed while selling for cash. 

First, avoid any “cash for houses” companies that request a fee upfront. And steer clear of clients who only communicate via email and waive the inspection. 

There’s also the option that they may be money laundered.x 

wary of any buyers who show no interest in seeing your home in person and who only correspond via email, as those could be red flags of a scam.

“Bait and Switch” Offers

A “bait and switch” is when buyers make a bid close to the list price in cash, then beat the price down with repair requests during the inspection stage.

Frustrated owner-occupant buyers use this tactic often to get the best deal. 

Real estate expert, Kevin Kendrick, says these buyers may end up beating the offer down by almost 15% below fair market value. 

 

 

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