Scam Warning! What to Know Before Selling A House for Cash
Scam Warning! What to Know Before Selling A House for Cash
With the steep increase of online marketing and activity, and the deceptive brilliance of online scammers, finding what you really need online can feel like tiptoeing blindfolded through a field laced with traps. Selling a house for cash is a scam-prone field filled with companies posing as the “home team” but are really corporations, not invested in the local community, looking for a fast, easy dollar. Orca Homes is different. We are a local cash-for-house company in the Seattle and Tacoma area, and we operate differently, treating each client and situation with the unique care and consideration required. Identifying the common scams with cash-for-home buying is the best way to protect yourself and your assets. Here we share a few important concepts and warning signs to think through and avoid, if you are looking to sell your house for cash.
Are you a target for scammers?
Needing to sell a home quickly usually means there are specific and extenuating circumstances surrounding the sales process. A sudden life change, multiple properties, inheritance, disrepair, or other situations can make it necessary for a quick, hassle-free home sale. When people are in a time crunch, and need to get out of their situation quickly, it’s easier to fall for a scam. Deals with fast time lines and prices too-good-to-be-true, usually are rushed, and there is more behind the scenes favoring the company, not the homeowner. Scammers know what to offer to get homeowners to bite. It’s important to not miss signs that the company, and the deal they’ve put together, might not be what it’s promising. Homeowners whose properties need significant repair are commonly victims of these scams. When a home needs significant repair, a quick, seemingly easy deal can be tempting to accept.
How to spot a scammer while selling a house for cash
There are two common scams in the house-for-cash business that every homeowner should be aware of.
Because every home is unique, a scamming company will claim they will make an offer on your home without seeing it. This company is taking advantage of the situation and is most likely not legitimate. They might claim they’ve driven by or used Google street view, or they’ll see it after you’ve signed the deal. They might say they are an expert on your neighborhood and can make an offer sight-unseen. However, unless your home has the exact square footage, layout, lot size, look, feel and in the same condition as every other home sold within a 1-mile radius, then they cannot value your home accurately. Without seeing your home in person, they only have public information available, and will either undervalue or overvalue your home. Either way, they’re counting on you saying yes, but they’re guessing on price, and anytime you guess on price, mistakes are always made. The result is unprofessional at best, and fraudulent at worst.
Because there are so many online tools homeowners can use to estimate the value of your home, most people have a general idea of what their home is worth. If you’re in negotiations with a cash-for-home buyer, and you ask for a high price, and they agree immediately, they are most likely a scammer. A legitimate cash home buyer purchases homes below market value in order to turn a profit. A company paying top dollar for homes could not afford to stay in business. A price that feels too good to be true, usually is. There will be a catch, and the seller will always lose.
Unreliable communication is a telltale signal to a homeowner that the deal on the table could be a scam. Most cash-for-home companies pose as the buyer, but many times these companies are a middle man between the buyer and seller. When the buyer (the cash-for-home company) is unavailable or not responsive, think twice about signing any papers. Another indication the situation is a scam is if the company wants to speak through an attorney, and not directly. If there’s a lot of pressure to sign immediately as well as pressure surrounding the deal, if the interactions with the company makes the seller feel uncomfortable, chances are high this situation is a scam.
If you see red flags, or with a little research uncover any of these warning signs, get out of that situation, and look for a qualified buyer. They do exist! A qualified cash-for-home buyer will feel different, and stand out for positive reasons. They will prove the lookout for the seller by providing a pressure-free deal. They will come see the property. The communication will be direct and available. Orca Homes does it differently, and provides attentive customer service throughout the entire process.
How to protect yourself while selling a house for cash
It is vital to research before getting into a cash-for-house deal. Look for positive social proof. Read positive and negative reviews of companies. Crowd source with friends and family, and other people who have used cash-for-house buyers asking for opinions. Find out where a company is based; if a company is based in a different state than the property, it’s not local, and without knowledge of the location and market, the deal might not be sound. Many cash-for-home companies are franchises of larger corporations based in markets that are not attached to the one the property is in. Without local market knowledge, you might not get the right deal for the area. See if the company is rated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and how they achieved that score. Put in your due diligence by getting multiple offers and comparing not only the price, but the details, service, and terms within the deal. With each offer, read the contracts slowly, ask questions, and make sure you understand the fine print of the offer. If the company is unable to answer and explain the answers to the questions, or if you can’t get a hold of anyone, think twice about signing the deal.
Selling a home for cash can be extremely beneficial in the right circumstances. Don’t be a target for scammers. With some research and due diligence, the homeowner can avoid getting scammed. Protect yourself from scammers. Don’t be so desperate that you sign the first deal without understanding the deal itself or the company behind it. If you want to learn more about finding a cash home buyer, contact Orca Homes. We are a locally owned and operated company in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, and we prioritize customer service. We have decades of experience with the area’s unique housing market, and we aren’t scared of daunting, complicated or unusual circumstances surrounding a home. Our team will answer the phone and all the questions you might have. Find out more about Orca Homes, and how our unique process is your best choice in cash home sales.