You've probably seen the signs all around your neighborhood displaying "we buy houses" or "cash for your house." Maybe you've even called the numbers and it's a company telling you that they pay cash for your house and close in as little as 3-5 days. For people that have a home that needs remodeled, inherited a home, or just need to sell super fast, these companies can be a great option. But you need to do your due diligence in vetting them. They are not all the same. And like many professions, the bad ones give the industry a bad reputation. Hopefully this article can provide a little clarity, and help you find a legitimate buyer for your house.
Don't Call The Numbers On The Bandit Signs
Although a few legitimate companies use these, most bandit signs with only a slogan and a number are going to waste your time. Anyone can get online and order several bandit signs for less than $100. Instead, pull out your phone and do a search for companies in your area that buy houses. For example, if you live in Knoxville, TN. Search "we buy houses Knoxville" or "reputable home buying companies in Knoxville." Any credible business will have a website in 2021. But just because they have a website, doesn't mean they are credible!, though.
Vet The Website
Next, you need to vet the websites. Look at several of them on the first two pages of Google. It's not difficult to purchase a generic, "out of the box" cookie-cutter website, so if you see several websites that look generic or identical, eliminate them from your search. Next, dig into the information on the site. I always recommend looking at other pages in addition to the home page. They should have a section that details who they are, provides all the information about their business, and about them personally as well. They should also have a page that tells you how their process works and how they will come to an offer on your house. Transparent and reputable businesses have no issue doing this! If their website clearly displays who they are, what they do, and how they do it; you have discovered a credible company to buy your house. A great rule of thumb is to look for photos that show the owners themselves, and also photos that show their past projects.
Look Them Up In the State Database
Legitimate house buying companies have a business license that is active and in good standing within their state. You can easily check this within your state's business database. Do a search to see if they are active, and when they were formed. If you can't find the company within the database, eliminate them from your consideration. Companies that do not register to do business in their state are not credible companies and will waste your time.
Never Pay for Fees
A legitimate home buy will never charge you a commission, ask you for repairs, or charge you any fees. They are buying your house at a discount already, and their offer should incorporate this into consideration. Any company that wants to charge a processing fee, transaction fee, or anything else needs to be eliminated from your consideration.
The best way to gauge how credible someone is is to meet them in person. This is why I recommend staying away from national chains. If you are going to sell your home at a discount for cash, you need to do it with a local buyer that you can meet face to face. These business owners depend on giving you customer satisfaction. National chains will low ball you and move on to the next client if you say no without second thought. They don't care about customer service because they have 500 other houses in the pipeline. Always go with your gut! If you the person you see on the website is who you meet in person, they are more than likely credible. But you need to go with your gut feeling on whether or not they can provide you the service they say they will.
I encourage you to do your research if you intend to use one of these companies. Unfortunately, there are many that are not who they say they are. They are just attempting to get your house under contract and waste your time. I always encourage you to explore using both a realtor, and one of these services. Weigh the pros and cons. It's your house, and only you can determine what path is best!