If you’re like most people, you’ve probably seen those ugly signs and billboards proclaiming “We Buy Homes for Cash!” that have sprouted up all over the country in the past ten years. And you’ve probably dismissed them as being irrelevant at best; and a scam at worst.
They’re not. Home buying companies aren’t anything new. But they’ve gained popularity in the past decade, owing as much to reality TV shows depicting house flipping superstars as to the very real predicament that millions of Americans face when confronting foreclosure and debt.
Home buying companies represent an industry worth millions of dollars. And as their popularity grows, everyone wants to find a way to be the next real estate entrepreneurial guru—even if they have no idea what they’re getting into. And that includes scam artists.
Over 13,000 residential properties were repossessed by lenders in the U.S. in the month of October of 2019 alone. Just one year prior, the average mortgage debt per borrower was estimated at being approximately $205,000. And those numbers are only expected to rise. Home buying companies are an immediate solution for millions of Americans with delinquent mortgages. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to fall victim to predatory schemes from disreputable investors during a personal financial emergency. So how exactly do you discern a reputable home buying company from a disreputable one?
1. How Wide Is Their Footprint?
No reputable business can afford to be without a significant digital presence in 2020. That includes home buying companies, as well. Particularly when it comes to social media. But even if they don’t keep a regularly updated Facebook page, a legitimate home buying company should at least have an extensive profile to review online. The more disreputable ones often have nothing more than a phone number to call. Take your time to discern. Do they respond to questions promptly? Do they directly engage with customers on their social media profile? Do their reviews indicate an extensive history? The wider their web presence is will be a good indicator that you’re dealing with a reputable home buying company.
2. Can They Provide References and Testimonials?
No reputable home buying company should be without some form of a track record. Much like buying a used car, do not simply take their word for their legitimacy. Selling your home is a major investment of time and resources; and without validation from a third party, you could be looking at receiving much less than you bargained for. References and testimonials are one of the fastest and easiest ways for a company to distinguish themselves. Ask for references from their last few transactions, if possible. Most reputable home buying companies will have forged relationships with real estate attorneys and title service providers who can add additional support for their validity.
3. Are They Just a Little Too Eager?
If a home buying company is offering high pressure tactics, chances are they’re either a.) absolute newcomers to real estate purchasing or b.) an absolute fraud. A reputable home buying company with a long history will understand that it’s not the best option for everyone and will encourage you to take the time to review offers from other companies. More importantly, they’d prefer to meet you face to face, not offer you an instant quote online or over the phone. They’ll review the condition of your home and current neighborhood prices and offer you an immediate quote; a quote which frequently will be negotiable.
4. One Size Does Not Fit All
It’s easy to assume that national home buying companies will be your safest bet for legitimate service. And they are safe—chiefly because they have a reputation to uphold. Unfortunately, their offers are frequently the lowest because they lack personalized service. They may not have the time, resources or desire to conduct thorough research into the sales history in your neighborhood and are frequently unwilling to negotiate an offer. A reputable home buying company will take the time to cultivate a relationship with you and listen to your personal needs and circumstances.
5. Do NOT Pay Cash up Front
It’s actually one of the oldest scams in the book. A home buyer (often with no real estate background) takes one look at your home and makes you an offer you can’t refuse. But first? There are a few fees for inspection services, title insurance, service and closing costs. Once those are cleared, then you’ll receive the offer. No legitimate home buying company will ask you to pay any fees upfront. That’s because they’re in the business of purchasing homes as is. They’re not lenders. Will the cost of title deeds and inspection be quoted in the final offer? More than likely, yes. But they’re usually quite minor and certainly worth the dilemma of selling your home quickly.
Why Choose Enlight Homebuyers?
“We Buy Homes” at Enlight Homebuyers is NOT a scam. We have been helping people get out of their homes and moving on to their next adventure for years. We'll answer all of your questions and help you decide if selling your home for cash is the right fit for you. Give us a call today at 317-333-7011 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!