Real estate has many advantages, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that it’s not very liquid. Converting your real estate into cold, hard cash is neither fast nor easy.
But does it have to take months to sell a property? What would it take to sell your property in under a week?
Below are seven ways to sell your property in seven days or less. Some of them do require advance planning, and by “sell,” we mean getting your property under contract with a buyer. Getting to the settlement table quickly has its own separate set of challenges, many of which rely on the buyer more than the seller.
Ready to shift into warp speed to sell your property?
1. Plan and Prepare for the “Overnight Success” Sale
Overnight successes happen for one of two reasons: endless preparation and planning or sheer dumb luck. Sometimes both.
Want your property to reel in offers within a few days of listing? Like the Boy Scouts (and Scar) say, “Be prepared.”
If you have the luxury of time to plan, you can position your property far better before putting your property on the market and scoring a quick sale. Here are a few ideas:
- What’s ugly or significantly out of date at your property? Beautify it.
- How is the curb appeal? Spruce up the landscaping. Add a few potted plants beside the entryway. Repaint or refinish the front door to make it positively gleam and stand out.
- Clean the interior like your wallet depends on it—because it does. If you dropped a piece of pizza on the floor, would you think twice about picking it up and continuing to eat it? If the answer is “yes,” the property isn’t clean enough.
- Take photos during the best time of year (usually summer), and the best time of day. Use the best camera you can beg, borrow, or steal. Take photos of every room from every angle, every corner, from low-angle and eye-level. Do not use your phone’s camera, hard stop.
- Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer. Or an outstanding Realtor (more on that later).
- If you live in the property, clean out as many of your belongings as possible. The less there is in any given room, the larger the room looks, and the more “room” there is for buyers to envision their own belongings.
Selling a property quickly and for top dollar is not an “overnight success” phenomenon—it only looks like one. You want to position your property to stand out from other listings.
2. Cultivate Multiple Offers
To sell quickly, you want to create urgency. To sell for the highest price, you want to create competition.
Both of these are achieved once you receive more than one offer.
One option is to mention your desire for a quick sale in the listing. The classic catchphrases are “priced to sell” and “motivated seller,” which you can consider. You could get more creative and imply that the property is already priced very competitively: “Priced with a $50,000 discount to sell quickly.” Or you can make an outright discount offer: “Will offer a $10,000 discount to buyers who can settle by ______.”
You’ll probably catch a lowball offer or two. Don’t reject them out of hand; they are valuable leverage! You can tell everyone who expresses interest in the property “We’ve had several offers—what can you do to make your offer more attractive?”
Sure, some of those lowball offers may not come from serious buyers. The important point is that they let you create a bidding war among the more serious buyers (or at least the appearance of one).
Urgency and competition—those lowball offers help you build both among more serious prospects.
3. Offer Seller Financing, a Seller-Held Second, or a Seller Concession
Don’t need the proceeds right away? Consider offering financing. You get monthly income, you get to charge fees upfront, and you get interest.
Most of all, you attract more attention to score more offers! And we just reviewed how more offers can mean a faster, higher sale.
If the property is owned free and clear, you could offer the bulk of the financing and have the first lien position. Alternatively, you could offer a seller-held second mortgage to cover some of the buyer’s down payment.
Obviously, you need to be careful about who you lend to; not everyone is good for their debt. But if your goal is to sell quickly, this offer will help attract fast offers.
If you don’t like the idea of offering financing, you can offer a seller concession to cover the buyer’s closing costs: “Seller will pay for the buyer’s closing costs up to $_____, if settlement occurs before ______.”
4. Find the Best-Connected Realtor in Your Market
When most Realtors score a new listing, they just list the property on the MLS and call it a day.
That’s not good enough if you want an executed offer and deposit in hand within a week.
What you want is a Realtor who knows all the right people in your market, who will pick up the phone and find a buyer. That might come in the form of them calling other Realtors who focus heavily in that area, and letting them know they have a motivated seller. It could mean calling other interested parties that they know, who are on the lookout for local property.
Not all Realtors are created equal. Many are part-timers whose first priority is taking their kids to soccer practice. Others are generalists who take whatever work they can find, in a broad geographical area. These Realtors are fine for the average Joe Homeowner who’s happy to wait around for a few months before selling his home; it’s not for someone who needs an executed contract in under seven days.
Find a rainmaker of a Realtor, who knows every other mover and shaker in your local market.
Ask everyone you know for referrals. Post in local real estate groups on Facebook. Ask around at local real estate investing clubs. You may get dozens of answers, but a pattern should emerge pretty quickly as you find the same one or two names popping up again and again.
5. The Off-Market Route
Speaking of local real estate Facebook groups, have you thought about posting your property for sale there?
If you aim to sell your property to an investor rather than a homeowner, consider selling it off-market. Local real estate Facebook groups are one option. Craigslist is another. BiggerPockets has an online marketplace as well.
Another option is talking to local wholesalers and turnkey sellers. They keep extensive buyer lists and specialize in moving properties quickly. You can negotiate a fee with them—either fixed or relative to the purchase price—if they procure a buyer within seven days.
Everything we covered above also applies here, from planning to seller financing offers to seller concessions to cultivating multiple offers, with the exception of hiring a Realtor.
Before going any further with auctions, it’s worth mentioning that they do involve a marketing period. Like the “overnight successes” discussion above, it may look like an instant sale, but the auctioneer will require at least a few weeks to advertise the auction.
Of course, this marketing period could coincide with your planning and preparation, making any needed updates to make the property “pop.”
The beauty of auctions is that you have a guaranteed time frame for your property’s sale. But by securing that control over the time frame, you sacrifice control over the sales price.
Sure, you can set a reserve price. But you can’t set it sky-high, or else you risk wasting time and money marketing the auction with nothing to show for it.
If you absolutely must sell a property by a certain date, auctions are a viable option. But the loss of control over the process and the sales price is more than many investors are willing to swallow.
7. The Last Resort: “We Buy Anything” Institutional Buyers
Ever seen those bandit signs saying “We Buy Ugly Houses” or something similar?
It’s hardly a spoiler to say that those buyers won’t pay well. But they do pay fast.
If you need to actually settle within seven days, not just secure an executed contract and deposit, then your options are limited. So limited, in fact, that your only choice may be to sell to an institutional buyer like this who can guarantee settlement in under a week.
The other options outlined above will almost certainly result in a higher sales price. But even with an executed contract in under seven days, you’ll still have to wait at least another few weeks while the buyer finalizes financing, runs title work, has an appraisal done, etc.
If you’re about to go on the lam from the law and need cash in hand in under a week, well, these institutional buyers are probably your best bet.
For anyone who can wait the extra couple of weeks to cash out—you should.