You’ve likely seen the signs posted in medians or at the curb while sitting at a stoplight. “We buy ugly houses,” or “We pay cash for houses!” It’s hard to get away from them. It seems they’re everywhere. But are these just another scam or is it a legitimate industry?
At any given point in time, there are any number of individuals out there that would like to take advantage of you. This is particularly applicable to those needing to sell a house fast. Let’s take a look at this “industry” to see if it’s on the up and up, or if it’s something you need to wary of.
Buyer Beware Companies That Advertise in This Manner
Any time someone wants to buy your house, even if it seems legitimate, you should always make sure that everything is on the level. Especially when people are vulnerable, dishonest individuals prey upon them. Selling and buying a house is a massive business transaction and should always be entered into cautiously. Know ahead of time how to recognize the tactics scammers use in order to arm yourself against them.
What Makes Someone a Prime Target?
As suggested, people who are vulnerable are prime targets for house buying scammers. This is why going with a reputable realtor is always your best bet. Here are the people most often at risk:
- People with homes that need massive repairs – excessive water damage, rotten wood, cracked foundations; these are all types of damage that make it extremely difficult to sell a home. Ordinarily, someone wanting to sell a house like this would need to find a purchaser interested in an investment. This buyer would need to be willing to spend money on the repair issues and have enough knowledge to know what they’re getting into.
- Individuals who need to sell quickly – whether it is bankruptcy, foreclosure, or something else, sometimes people need to sell their homes quickly. When they feel that they are out of options, they may turn to these types of house buying scams.
Scam Artist Tactics
Here are some of the tactics that are used by unethical house buying-groups:
- In order to check out your house, they want to send a few people over (they’re showing it to real investors for a wholesale fee).
- For a “small upfront fee”, they will offer you the perfect solution to your dilemma (so now you’re paying them to buy your home?).
- They said the offer was all-cash when you talked to them on the phone. In person, things change (this can go wrong in a multitude of ways).
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Run a check on anyone who offers to buy your home:
- See if there are any questionable situations associated with the person who wants to buy.
- Do they have a website? Does it include their name? If not, why would they be worried about posting their name on a website if they were legitimate?
- Have there been any complaints about these homebuyers? Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau?
- If a contract actually gets put together, make sure that you understand it completely, read it over word for word, and show it to a lawyer.
At N.J. Lux, we pride ourselves on our reputation. No scams, no tricks, no lies… no kidding. We represent our clients with 100% integrity. We have earned the trust of many through the years and will continue to offer the very best in real estate services. Contact us if you are in the market to buy or sell a home.