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December 22, 2020

Is “We Buy Houses” a Ripoff?


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You’ve seen them everywhere. On billboards. On your TV. Home buying companies. And they invariably state one thing and one thing only: “We buy houses.” The names may change from company to company, but the message is generally the same: “We buy houses.”

They’re not particularly attractive advertisements. In fact, they’re frequently the opposite. But they’re effective. And it’s a multi-million dollar industry that’s helped thousands of Americans sell their homes for cash each year for over two decades—safely, effectively and quickly.

If homeowners are lucky. Unfortunately, many cash home buying companies are often fly by night scam artists only far too eager to offer you what seems like an ideal solution to your home selling woes… only to leave you thousands of dollars in the lurch. So how can you tell a legitimate home buying company from an illegitimate one?

1. Do They Ask for a Down Payment?

Home buying companies purchase properties with the expectation they can turn it into a profit. It’s an entirely reciprocal interaction between the seller and the buyer. The seller is guaranteed the sale of their home and the buyer will purchase it at a slightly reduced price, knowing full well they can make an additional profit after renovations (among other reasons.) There’s no need to ask for a down payment. Should you run into a “we buy houses” company that insists on a down payment or title insurance and deed prior to paying their estimated quote, contact your state attorney general’s office immediately.

2. Can They Provide You with References?

Any professional home buying service should have a thorough track record. And while there are some solo cash investors new to the game that are entirely legitimate, they should at least have a prior background in real estate as well as a proven record of testimonials to indicate their trustworthiness. 

But if you’re dealing with a company as opposed to a solo investor:

  • Make certain they’re registered with an accredited consumer protection organization such as the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make certain they have a physical office presence where they can be reached instead of conducting transactions over the phone or online.
  • Make certain they have both a website and professional promotional materials.
  • Make certain they can provide you with a thorough contract which they should be willing to discuss the finer details of with you.

3. Will They Review Your Home Onsite?

Scam artists frequently offer to purchase homes sight unseen, with many offering promises of a cashier’s check. A check which will eventually bounce… after you’ve already sent them copies of your title and deed.

A legitimate cash home buying service won’t just review your home. They’ll have a background in both real estate and home improvement. They know exactly what to look for (and may even bring along a licensed home inspector) and what to take into consideration before making you an offer. More importantly, they won’t try to pressure you into selling your home or make you an offer that seems too good to be true. 

4. How Professional Do They Seem?

It’s not uncommon to see a cheap flyer promising “we buy houses” stapled to a telephone pole with nothing more than a phone number and a free email. For one, that’s actually illegal in most states. And for two… it’s a ripoff.

A home buying company won’t just invest in professional advertising both physically and digitally, they’ll have an extensive profile to review. This could include anything from a Facebook page to a review site like Yelp! They’ll have a professional website as well as a professional blog (yes, just like the one you’re reading.) More importantly, they’ll be courteous and understanding with you. They won’t seem too eager to buy, nor will they try to pressure you into selling. Remember, you’re under no obligation to sell your home for cash. Don’t be fooled by hard sale tactics.

5. How Well Do They Understand the Local Market?

National companies that promise you “we buy homes” may fit any of the above three qualifications. That’s because they’re entirely reputable and trustworthy. But the real question is how well do they understand the market in your neighborhood?

Frequently, not very well. That’s because their offers are based on national averages and estimates, not local expertise. Regional specific home buying companies will understand the nuances of both local renovation costs as well as the local housing market. If they’re particularly well versed, they can even have insight into potential developments in the local economy and can make you an offer higher than you even expected.

If you’re interested in selling your house fast to a trusted cash home buying company like Enlight Homebuyers, then give us a call today or fill out the form below. We can give you a fair offer and close in just seven days. We’re here for you and want to help you out!


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