The housing market has not yet fully recovered since the 2008 bubble burst, and forecasters are predicting that new governments may mean that 2019 will be a year of anxiety and volatility in real estate. Any volatile market can lead many to lead to extreme measures when it comes to coming up with cash or finding unique ways to sell their home.
At the same time, sometimes you can find yourself in possession of a home you didn’t want and need to move quickly for convenience sake. Find out here if alternative methods of home sales such as those “We buy houses for cash” signs you may see are legit.
What Does the Market Really Look Like?
The market in housing is not as good as it could be, but not as terrible as some lenders may make it seem today. The real estate market has taken a beating in the last decade or so, and there has been some recovery.
But at the same time, with every step of recovery, there are often two steps back.
The recent new administration in the government has led to an aggressive trade policy, tax reform, and an increase in the Federal Reserve interest rate.
Up until 2019, mortgage rates have been at a lower place than they have been in recent history. That is expected to change in 2019.
This is going to lead to tightening in the market in so many ways. It is leading to unique lending solutions and unique buying solutions.
Sellers are going to be looking for unique buyers, and buyers are looking for motivated sellers.
What this means is that there will be fewer traditional home buyers in the market in 2019, and sellers are going to be looking for alternative means to sell their home.
This is not great news for sellers that need to move, don’t want to spend on renovations, or just come into a home through inheritance or other means, that they don’t want to keep.
It is around this time of this market fluctuation that you are going to see more and more signs such as the “We Buy Houses for Cash” in your neighborhood, or someone else’s.
These offers can be tempting. And some of them are legit. It’s important to do your research before you sell your home or your family’s inheritance for a cash settlement that may never pan out.
There are a number of ways to tell if the “We buy houses for cash” signs are scams.
Are “We Buy Houses for Cash” Signs Scams?
In every business, there is a market for scams, and real estate markets are no different. This year is not a new year when it comes to “we buy houses for cash” signs.
You can and you should approach these signs with some healthy skepticism. But that doesn’t mean that every sign is a scam.
How can you know?
One surefire way to know is by what is on the sign or ad itself. If you just see a phone number with an obscure name like, “Call Mark to get cash today” then you have more reason to be skeptical.
The person “Mark” in question would be more credible if they had a website, a full name, and some reviews to offer you.
Would you promise your home to a stranger on the street based on a first name alone?
Likely not. And that’s essentially what these signs are promising if you don’t do some due diligence.
What you can expect from a legitimate company that wants to give you cash for your home is a process. You want them to at least see the home before offering you a quote.
They may want to talk about some repairs and discuss market values with what is standard in your neighborhood.
This is a legitimate company.
A company that takes your mortgage information over the phone and tells you they will give you exactly what you owe, doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
The “We Buy Houses for Cash Signs” buyers are looking for someone that is desperate. They are looking for someone that is cash hungry.
It could be worth investing time in the process if you want to get the best value for your home.
Who Are “We Buy Houses for Cash” Signs Targeting?
Someone that wants you to unload your home quickly for a small buck is targeting someone that is desperate, and a little naïve. But even holding out as long as a week while you do your research could help you get the best deal for your home.
At the same time, just because someone buys homes quickly, doesn’t mean they are a scam either. And just because you want to unload a home quickly, doesn’t mean you are distressed sellers either.
There are a number of different kinds of buyers and sellers in this market. The kinds of sellers most easily targeted by these buyers are divorced couples or someone that just got a house as an inheritance but may live across the country.
Sellers that are in bankruptcy or have a home in probate will also be motivated.
But that doesn’t mean you need to give your mortgage information to a scam artist.
Sometimes employers will relocate and that leads to a motivated seller as well.
And sometimes a home is just in need of renovation and sellers want to unload it rather than undergoing the expense of renovation.
To the right buyer, even ugly houses are beautiful, and those buyers will want you to take your time making this decision.
You don’t always get that in real estate, and sometimes not even with real estate agents.
Real Estate Agents Aren’t Always Your Friend
While you may be thinking of calling that number on the “We Buy Houses for Cash” signs, you may also be thinking of calling a real estate agent. Be careful with this too.
It’s natural to think home selling is safer with an agent, but not if you want to keep more cash in your pocket.
Every real estate agent is charming and wants you to believe they are your new best friend. But they are working for their commission, and number one is what they care about the most.
Number two is their client. That could be you, or someone else.
If you want to go through an agent, ask them if your best interest is on their mind, and check the answer. If there is a pause or some dilly-dallying on the answer, you’ve got a problem.
The Consumer Federation of America says to ask your potential real estate agent outright if your interests are theirs, and to watch for their response. If they equivocate at all on this, you want to ask the follow-up question inquiring on the interests they are representing.
It may not be yours.
No matter how you sell your home, or even how experienced you are at it, you are going to have questions. A good sign of a “buy houses for cash” company is someone that intuitively knows how to answer your frequently asked questions about home sales, and encourages you to contact them directly whenever you need to.
How to Know It’s a Scam
When a buyer is hedgy on your questions or wants to give you money sight unseen, these are two big red flags on home sales. At the same time, if the signs posted are obscure and don’t give a lot of information, you should be wary.
There’s often no one clear shot way of determining it’s a scam without question. But if you do a little digging, you can have your intuition either confirmed or not.
Another sign is if you are asked for money upfront. When you are selling your home, the money issues should be going down a one-way street, ending at your house.
You may put some money out for renovations first, but that shouldn’t go to your buyer.
At the end of the day, you want to see a company name, know some testimonials, and trust your intuition. Don’t hesitate to look for reviews online either.
A scam artist will tell you their company hasn’t been around long enough or they haven’t gotten around to setting things up on the computer.
If they can’t afford a computer, how can they afford your home?
Check the names of the buyers, check the addresses they provide as a business address and see if they have a social presence online. Even a blog works.
Never sell your home to somebody over the phone that hasn’t even seen it.
Make Home Selling Easy
When you are looking to sell your home or a family inheritance, you want to do it right. But you also want to get the best market value as well.
At the same time, you want to work with someone that you feel understands your needs, and wants to help you meet them.
Affordability is always going to be a concern when it comes to home buying and home sales, due to ever-changing market trends and tightening belts on tax reform and tax policy.
Home sellers today need to realize that the frenzied marketplace just doesn’t exist anymore. Sellers today need to be competitive.
Sometimes the “We buy houses for cash” signs are legit, and sometimes they aren’t.
We make the home selling process easy for you and want to be sure all of your concerns are heard. Get a quote today for peace of mind tomorrow.