Homeowners who need to sell their properties quickly are turning more and more to real estate investors. These “We Buy Houses” businesses are booming mostly because of the uncertainty of the real estate market. With the promise of fast cash, sometimes within days, it is tempting to latch onto these offers. However, with adequate research, prospective sellers can avoid scams and find reputable home investment firms.
Accreditation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an essential component of choosing a home investment company. This distinction means that the company is expected to operate with integrity in order to keep their accreditation. The BBB gives each company a rating based on their reliability and how well they interact with their existing customer base. Ratings are determined by years in business, customer complaints, transparency of business, and government sanctioned actions against business.
Prospective sellers should avoid using “We Buy Houses” companies that are based in another state or worse yet, another country. Sellers should have the opportunity to meet face to face with potential investors. Local companies will also have a high familiarity with local real estate markets and able to provide comparable home sale information.
A local chamber of commerce has similar goals as the BBB: protect consumers from companies with unsavory business practices. In a 2012 survey conducted by The Schapiro Group, two-thirds of customers reported that they found active members of a local chamber of commerce to be trustworthy in participating in good business practices. Local chambers of commerce screen their members in order to maintain a positive community image. Real estate investment companies must provide reputable care to their customers in order to be accepted into the organization.
Online reviews of a company will give sellers insight into whether they can trust the business before handing over their deeds. Although a single negative review shouldn’t deter sellers, red flags are raised if multiple reviewers have written negatively about the company. Sellers need to look at more than one source for reviews as well. Browse online review websites and social media platforms such as Yelp, 5 Star Reviews on Facebook, and Google Plus.
Before choosing a real estate investor, sellers need to ask the company for a list of references. The references can be past home sellers or the title company that the investor uses. Years in business need to be taken into consideration as well. Receiving referrals from friends and family members who have used the “We Buy Houses” company can also steer customers to a reliable company.
A reputable company will not be pushy over signing the dotted line. Although the agency may promise up and down that they are offering the best deal, sellers can’t be sure unless they compare offers from multiple vendors.
Although “We Buy Houses” negotiations are meant to be quick and painless, the information given to the seller over the phone after the home inspection isn’t always accurate. The contract may show completely different terms. Prospective home sellers need to have every aspect of the sale spelled out on paper before signing on the dotted line.
Consumers may turn to “We Buy Houses” companies for fast closings, but they should not skimp out on the research. There’s always a risk of fraud when dealing with cash real estate transactions. Avoid scams by reviewing all paperwork thoroughly before signing over the property.