Open House: Selling Your Home Online – The Real Cost of Convenience

We all have seen the news articles pop up on our news feeds and screens: the housing market is HOT. Interest rates are low. There aren’t enough homes for sale for the amount of buyers looking. You think, maybe it’s time to move? Plus, being stuck inside for the better part of a year or more is enough to make anyone realize you could really use more space. So, you decided to enter the housing market to sell your home. Now the question is: are you going to sell traditionally, or sell your home online?

With the rise of national websites offering to pay cash for your home, promising no showings and fast closings, it can be tempting to sell your home online to these companies. But what would you lose by doing so?

Profit from Selling Your Home

These online, cookie cutter real estate companies are trying to make money, just like you. One way they can do this is by buying your house for less than it’s worth. Then they turn around and put it back on the market for a profit. Without any competing offers, it’s easy for them to come in under value.

When you sell to a company, you’re also eliminating other offers. Selling a home in today’s market with a real estate agent, odds are you’ll get multiple offers. When home buyers know the market is tight and they fall in love with your home, some will take it to extremes to ensure their offer looks the best and gets accepted. There are stories from all corners of the United States with homes going for 5-15% over asking price.

Home Inspections

Again, to keep up with the competitive market, buyers are looking at every possible thing they can do to make their offer the best. That includes waiving the right to an inspection.

While it’s normally recommended to always conduct an inspection when buying a home, these aren’t normal times. It’s never a guarantee that any of your offers will waive an inspection, this could be very beneficial if you have an older home. If you’ve been pressing your luck the last few winters or summers by not replacing your aging HVAC systems, or did some work on your home yourself that you didn’t pull a permit for, that might not matter any more.

But, home buying websites will most likely require an inspection of your home. There’s a possibility they even make you pay for it. They want to make sure that they can turn around and sell your home with the least amount of work (and money) put into it.

If anything gets turned up in this inspection, it can delay, or in extreme cases, even cancel your sale. Plus, if the sale is cancelled and you choose to list your home with an agent afterwards, you now have to disclose that you know about the issues that came up in your inspection. This can scare off some buyers, even in this market, and possibly even drop your home’s value, all depending on what the issues are. It’s a double loss in that situation.

Staging Your Home

Along with inspections, it’s in your best interest to stage your home to sell to an online company. You want to make it look as nice as possible to get the best offer. But, if you hire a professional staging company, they can cost hundreds of dollars. There’s also a good chance they are backed up and it could take weeks to stage.

If you’re selling with a real estate agent, you can probably get away with minimal staging and improvements compared to previous years. While you should obviously make your house look clean, nice, and in good repair, you can probably get away with smaller, cosmetic issues.

For example, your carpet might be starting to look worn. Normally, it would be suggested that you replace your carpet to sell in this case. Or maybe your exterior could use a fresh coat of paint and some landscaping. As long as the house is visible and there’s no actual damage to the exterior of the home, I would personally take my chances that most home buyers won’t care enough to exclude the home from their search.

In my opinion, my biggest hang up with these ideas is that everyone’s tastes are different. It’s hard to justify installing all new carpet, or painting the entire exterior of your home, just to sell it and have the new owners rip up your new carpet for hardwood floors, or pick a completely different paint color.

In this market, buyers are quickly understanding that some of these cosmetic concessions are necessary in order to get their offer accepted, and are more than willing to do some of these fixes once they move in.


Yes, the online companies offer a no-showing option, meaning no open houses and no showings. This means you don’t need to collect the kids and leave your home for 45 minutes every couple of hours. For many, this alone can be a tempting reason to sell your home to online real estate companies.

However, it’s such a sellers market that you can list your home for a few days and receive multiple offers. For example, you can list your home on a Thursday, and tell your agent to let the buyer’s agents know you’ll accept all offers until Sunday night. Then, you take a family vacation, come back on Sunday, and have multiple offers waiting. In the summer months especially, this can be a no brainer.

The national average days on the market in May 2021 was 39. While that might sound like a long time, “days on the market” is the time between the initial listing and the final closing date. When you consider it takes anywhere from 30-60 days to close, houses aren’t sitting long without accepting an offer.

Is a Quick Closing Good?

Online home buying companies also boast that they can conduct fast closings. While there are times where that might be desired or even necessary, I couldn’t imagine closing on a home seven days after accepting an offer.

There are so many things that need to happen to close on a home. Packing, securing a moving truck, asking friends and family for help, forwarding your address, transferring all utility services, going to the bank for a cashiers check, the list goes on. I only live with my husband, and I don’t think between us both working full time that we could pack our whole house in 6 days. If we had children, I know that would be impossible.

Working with an agent in this situation can be beneficial. If you do need a quick closing, they can disclose that to the buying agents. Then, the buyers can be prepared to make that date happen when putting in their offers. If you’re flexible with your closing date, but don’t necessarily want to drag the closing out, your agent can communicate that also.

We Can Help

If you’re still not sure if you should list your home with an agent or use an online buying company, Homes for Heroes offers another advantage.

Homes for Heroes’ mission is to thank every hero. The way we do that is through our Hero RewardⓇ program, which is a portion of your home sale given back to you after closing. No online corporate buyer is going to offer you that.

Hero Rewards come back to you as a check worth $700 for every $100,000 of home sold. This money doesn’t come out of your equity, but rather as part of your real estate agent’s commission that they give back to you.

Most heroes receive $2,400 with Homes for Heroes. But, if you also use Homes for Heroes to buy a new house, you’ll receive Hero Rewards as well. If buying and selling, your rewards could be well over $5,000.

All you have to do to receive the Hero Rewards is use a Homes for Heroes specialist and be employed or married to a Hero: healthcare workers, teachers, firefighters and EMS responders, law enforcement, or active or retired military.

The only work you need to do is fill out a few questions and talk to an agent, which you’d have to do anyway with a corporate buying company. Plus, you won’t feel like you’re signing your life away just to sell your home. There’s no additional paperwork to enroll in Homes for Heroes. There’s also no cost, hidden or upfront. Plus, you get a qualified, local, licensed real estate agent to work on your behalf.

Original Post – Homes for Heroes