Selling a house in today’s market is not only easier than ever (thanks to a white-hot market where buyers will drool over anything that has a roof and a door), but it also affords sellers more flexibility than ever before.
Thanks to the internet, homeowners are no longer forced to sell a home the traditional way. There is now an abundance of options.
In particular, there are three main ways to sell a house online:
- Sell with a real estate agent
- Sell to a direct buyer
- Sell For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
Today, we’re going to objectively walk through each of these three options so you can make the decision that’s best for you, your house, and your family.
Option #1: Sell Online With a Real Estate Agent
The first (and most traditional) option is to sell your house online with the help of a real estate agent. With this method, you find an agent, they list it on the MLS, and then it posts to aggregate home listing sites like Zillow for maximum exposure.
Going with a real estate agent gives you lots of advantages. For one, they have experience in your market and niche. For example, let’s say you’re selling in the Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona region. The Kay-Grant Group specializes in this area and can leverage their connections to give you maximum exposure online in front of buyers in this area.
When you sell your home with a listing agent, you’re going to end up paying a three percent commission to that agent. That’s the only downside (if you want to see it as a negative). If you’re interested in putting your home on the MLS without hiring an agent, there are a few sites out there that will simply charge you a flat fee to list on the MLS without the services of an agent. They won’t help you sell your house or promote it, but they will get you set up on the MLS so that you can field offers from other agents who find you. This option rarely works in a cold market, but could be something to consider when there’s a lot of activity.
Option #2: Sell Online to a Direct Buyer
A direct buyer is what you call a company that purchases homes in as-is condition for below market price. These can be individual buyers, but are typically larger companies that buy lots of houses and turn them around for a profit after fixing them up.
Depending on the condition of your home, there are a few different directions you could go. If you have a fairly well-maintained house but it needs some basic repairs and lots of cosmetic remodeling, a company like iBuyers will make you an offer. You’ll certainly take a price cut, but the benefit is that the transaction happens quickly, and there are no repair requests or back-and-forth negotiations.
If you have a house that’s not well maintained and has some serious issues (such as foundation problems, excessive termite damage, mold problems, etc.), chances are iBuyers and other similar companies won’t be interested. However, there are always cash investors in every market. You can often find them with a quick Google search. These tend to work well:
- We buy ugly houses + [city]
- Cash house buyer + [city]
- Buy my house + [city]
When you work with one of these private buyers/investors, they’ll typically want to move to closing as quickly as possible after getting it under contract. If you get an offer that you like, be prepared to move fast.
Option #3: Sell Online FSBO
The third option is to just sell your house online through an FSBO transaction. The benefit here is that you save the three percent commission that would typically go to a seller’s agent. However, there’s a reason that only six percent of sellers sold their homes on their own in 2020: It’s much more challenging and stressful. You’ll be 100 percent responsible for pricing, listing, staging, marketing, negotiating, showings, scheduling closing, managing closing documents, etc.
You’ll have to decide how much your time and emotional health is worth to you. If you want to give FSBO a shot, now is as good a time as any to try. However, at the end of the day, listing with an agent or using a direct buyer tends to be a less stressful experience.
Which Option is Right for You?
When it comes to selling a house online, you ultimately have to choose the best option for you. There’s no cookie-cutter answer. Do some research, consider the financial side of things, and then account for any extenuating circumstances (like home repairs, sales timeline, etc.). With a little research, a clear path will emerge.