Lori Ballen, the owner of this website, benefits from purchases made through her affiliate links.
With the housing market experiencing such high demand, it’s never been a better time to sell your home. Even as some markets are starting to cool off, many new homeowners want to buy as quickly as possible. So, what is the cheapest way to sell a home?
As a home seller, you want to get the best deal for your property. In some cases, that means reducing your costs as much as possible. After all, the less you have to pay, the more money goes into your pocket.
Factors That Affect Your Home Selling Costs
If you want to save money when selling a home, you need to know what elements can inflate your costs. Here’s a rundown of the different options that can force you to pay more.
Real Estate Agent Commission
One of the easiest ways to sell a home is with a seller’s agent. However, real estate agents charge a commission once the house sells, meaning less money you get to keep. The industry average is between three and six percent of the home’s value. So, if you sell your property for $500,000, as much as $30,000 can go to the agent. You can mitigate this cost by using a flat fee agent, but you’re still paying for their services.
Typically, potential buyers want to know that the home is safe and up to code. So, many buyers will request inspections to verify the status of elements like electrical, plumbing, and the home’s foundation. In a buyer’s market, the seller often pays for these inspections. However, in a seller’s market, the buyer may pay for them instead since there is often so much competition.
If you want your home to sell quickly, you need to make it look appealing. While some real estate agents will pay for staging costs themselves, you might need to chip in to brighten some features. For example, you might want to put on a fresh coat of paint or handle some cosmetic repairs before showing the home. Similarly, you may need to pay for a professional deep clean so the property looks as good as possible. You can also pay for professional photos for your listing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about closing costs as a seller. These costs are for the buyer since they’re related to their mortgage loan. Additional closing costs can include payments to the buyer’s agent, a down payment, and inspection fees.
How to Sell Your Home as Cheaply as Possible
Now that you know the various elements that can inflate your selling expenses, let’s break down the different inexpensive ways to get more from a sale. Knowing how to mitigate these costs could put several thousand dollars back in your pocket once the deal is done.
Sell It Yourself
Using a real estate agent is helpful because they can handle all the intricacies of selling your house. Agents can help you find motivated buyers, show off the home, and negotiate prices with a buyer’s agent.
Although a real estate agent is handy, they’re more valuable in a buyer’s market since it takes more work to get an offer. In this case, it would be worth paying a flat fee to get better offers.
However, a traditional agent isn’t as necessary in a seller’s market. So, one of the cheapest ways to sell a home is to list it as “for sale by owner” (FSBO). Since it’s easy to find prospective buyers, you don’t need as much hand-holding.
List it Competitively
One mistake most sellers make is overvaluing their selling price, especially when the market is hot. Unfortunately, doing this can sometimes come back to bite them when the market cools, and they’re struggling to sell.
If you’re already saving money on an agent’s commission, you can easily knock off a percent or two. However, you also need to look at what homes are selling for in your area.
Overall, coming up with a competitive selling price requires a bit of homework. You’ll need to look up specific elements, such as:
- Median Home Price – What is the average value of homes in your local market? What about homes on your block?
- Average Listing Term – How long do listings stay up before they sell? In white-hot markets, homes can sell in a matter of hours. If houses in your area are sitting for two weeks or more, you may have to lower your asking price to avoid a similar fate.
- Real Estate Trends – What home elements are hot right now? Are buyers looking for big yards or an open-concept dining room? What about hardwood floors or carpeting? Knowing the current trends can work in your favor. Not only can you highlight any desirable elements during an open house, but you can feature them in your listing.
Find Motivated Buyers
One big reason the real estate market is so hot is because of pent-up demand. Three major home buyer groups are vying for properties: new owners, baby boomers, and venture capitalists. Each group is highly motivated for different reasons, so you can appeal to them differently. However, part of the home selling process is looking for the best deal, which is often boomers or investment firms.
In some markets, investors may make a cash offer on the home as-is. This offer is usually less than what you’d get from a traditional sale, but you can skip many selling costs. If your home needs repairs or you don’t want to bother with the hassle of open houses and endless negotiations, a cash offer might be appealing.
Sometimes, you can even start a bidding war if your home is desirable enough. Here is where proper staging and a deep understanding of real estate trends can come in handy. In the end, you’ll wind up with the most money without having to work hard for it.
Do Touch-Ups Yourself
Cost-saving measures don’t have to be complicated to work. For example, you can perform various minor work repairs yourself, such as installing a new front door, trimming the front yard, and replacing fixtures.
The Bottom Line: What is the Cheapest Way to Sell Your Home?
Overall, selling a home cheaply is pretty easy to do in a seller’s market. Most buyers are motivated to make an offer as quickly as possible, so you can reap the benefits. That said, utilizing the tips and tricks listed above can help you get an even better deal.
FAQs About Selling Your Home Cheaply
What is the Best Site to Sell Your Home?
Zillow is consistently ranked as the top website for selling a home, particularly if you’re trying to sell it yourself. This site has over 100 million listings, and it can even provide a listing price estimate for sellers. However, these estimates may fluctuate, so you want to get an actual appraisal before putting your home up for sale.
What Makes a Home Unsellable?
Most features can be fixed or amended to be more desirable. However, some elements are “unsellable,” such as:
Poor Location – Perhaps the neighborhood has high crime rates, or you live next to an airport.
Foul Odors – You can control the scents inside the house, but if there are off-putting smells outdoors, you can’t fix those.
Lack of Lighting – These days, lighting can make a big difference in your sale price. Most buyers want natural light instead of harsh fluorescents or LEDs.
Which Real Estate Company Sells the Most Homes?
According to sales data, Realogy handles the most transactions, with over $500 billion in annual sales. Second is Keller Williams with $336 billion, then Re/Max with $269 billion.
What’s the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent?
A realtor is part of the National Association of Realtors. A real estate agent is not necessarily part of this Association, but they’re still qualified to sell your home.