Best Way to Sell your Home in 2021

best way to sell a home

Did you know there is comprehensive research done every year on how homes are sold across the country in the United States? The National Association of Realtors, or NAR, conducts the research and makes its reports publically available. The organization breaks down how homes sell across the country – down to a percentage point. The report, called NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is often hundreds of pages long, but we will summarize it for you here. Rest assured the report clearly shows each year what makes a home sell and how homes get sold. Hard data every seller could use before making a decision on selling their home.

Top 4 Ways a Home Sells

1. Home Buyer Searches Online – 97% of Sales

Well, of course, you might say. But this category is much more than just people searching Zillow or or Redfin.

We must break down the 97% number.

88% of these online home buyers ALSO used a licensed real estate agent to obtain additional information about the home and write up an offer for them. Where did the Realtor find that additional information about the home? Their local MLS, the same system that put the home on the public internet (in most cases) in the first place. Realtors have to pay for private access into the MLS and are trained to use their local MLS to search for homes and obtain information on homes for their clients. The local MLS is as crucial as being on Zillow and the other public internet portals.

28% of these online home buyers didn’t find the home they purchased online. The Realtor working for them found it online, using their MLS membership in most cases, and send it to the buyer to review.

6% of these online home buyers went to an open house and / or drove by the yard sign of the home they were interested in online.

2% of these online buyers talked to the seller direct after finding the home online (think for sale by owner or some other alternative service).

Less than 1% of these same online home buyers used any other source of information to help them purchase a home.

Bottom line: the best way to sell a home is still to list it with a licensed real estate agent who puts the home for sale on the public MLS, which then broadcasts it out to the public internet and makes the home available to all the other local licensed agents who regularly use the MLS as their primary source of home information.

2. Buyer Saw a Yard Sign or Open House Sign – 6% of sales

A mere 6% of buyers found the home they purchased by way of a sign, open house sign or yard sign. Signs are still important! They are the only other significant way to sell a home. Keep in mind this 6% figure combines regular street yard signs and all open house visitors (public open house and private Broker’s opens).

3. The Seller knew the Buyers – 2% of sales.

This could be an off-market sale to a neighbor or a family sale.

4. Everything else fits into a fraction of 1% of sales.

Radio, TV, postcards, balloons, giveaways, newspapers, magazines, door knocking – you name it and it represents a fraction of 1% of home sales around the country.

Let’s summarize this. How do homes sell?

  1. 97% of home buyers search online. 51% of buyers identify the home they will end up buying online. 28% of the time real estate agents send them a house the buyer looks at online first, then they buy it.
  2. 6% of home buyers purchase a home because they saw a yard sign or open house sign.
  3. 2% of home buyers purchase a home because they already knew the sellers.
  4. 1% of home buyers find the home they purchased any other way.

We push hard on the 97%.

Most agents put a home for sale in their local MLS where it broadcasts out to thousands of third-party sites (like Zillow,, Redfin, and others). We do that and more. After putting it in our local MLS we then pay extra money to 4 out of the top 5 visited real estate websites (including #1 Zillow) so that our client’s homes get more attention and sell faster. Then we also put the home in other MLS systems across the state to maximize our real estate agent exposure, putting the home in front of agents where they prefer to search – their local MLS. Every open house gets broadcasted on all the major real estate websites as well. At the end of the day, we push harder on the 97% than any other real estate agent or team I know of in Oregon or Washington. See our full listing program here. We do this for less than many, charging 4.5% commission max. and offering a cancel anytime policy for no charge to ensure customer confidence.

November 13, 2020

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.5% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.