If you’ve been driving around the Houston and Sugar Land area, you’ve probably seen the signs that say “WE BUY HOUSES.” Or maybe you’ve gotten several postcards in the mail that say “I want to buy your House.” This article will help you understand how to know which ones are legitimate, and which ones to avoid…
“What’s The Truth About All These WE BUY HOUSES Companies In Houston?”
House Buyers are a recent phenomenon. In the old days, your options were selling through a realtor or becoming a FSBO (for-sale-by-owner). But in the last 15-20 years, Home Buyers have created a whole new industry…. Especially now with the onslaught of shows like Fixer Upper, Flip of Flop, Property Brothers and the likes.
The short answer is YES: there are credible House Buyers in Houston who are professionals and provide a much needed service. But, like a lot of industries, there can be some bad ones and many who are just “fly by night.”
Full disclosure: I work in this industry. I used to be a Realtor and now work for American Home Buyer in Houston. I’m going to try and share how to spot the good and the bad without being too biased!
First, let’s look at the pros…
- Reputation. This is a big one. You can measure reputation by three things:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a good rating with the local Better Business Bureau?
- Do they have good reviews and testimonials?
- Stability. Do they have an office and staff to help you? Do they answer the phone during normal business hours?
- Knowledge & Experience. They should be able to answer your questions, or get an answer pretty quick. Hopefully they have already handled transactions like yours and can answer from experience. This is especially important when dealing with foreclosure, divorce and probate.
- Financial Strength. Make sure the company actually has the money to buy your house. Many *”wholesalers” do not (see below for more info on this).
- Use a licensed Title Company. Title companies are professionals at closing real estate transactions and this helps ensure your transaction is being done correctly.
In general, if a company has been around a while, has a good reputation, has a stable office, uses a licensed title company to close its transactions, is competent in answering your questions, and can demonstrate they have the funds to actually close the transaction, then you should be ok.
Now lets look at the nonprofessionals. These are usually obvious with a little investigating…
Watch Out For These Signs Of A Non-Professional:
- Sign Over Your Deed – If the Home Buyer wants you to sign over your deed without going through a title company, be leery. This is not necessarily illegal or even immoral, but you want to make sure you know what your doing before taking this drastic risk.
- High Pressure – If a House Buyer is strongly pressuring you to act right now or within a few days, this is another red flag. Again, it may be perfectly legitimate, but it could also be a sign that he has limited funds.
- Just Started – There are a lot of “newbie” and “wanna-be” investors out there (especially in the Houston area right now). Nothing inherently wrong with this except it’s likely not in your best interest. New investors probably don’t have the experience needed to tackle all the issues that typically come up in a real estate closing. Most important though is their lack of access to funds, which translates into them not being able to close as promised. This happens a lot.
How To Ensure You’re Working With A Reputable Local House Buyer:
Here’s some questions you want to ask:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many houses have you bought?
- Do you have a listing with the Better Business Bureau? If so, whats your rating? (You can log onto the BBB website to verify this information.)
- What is your website address and do you have any testimonials listed there?
- Where are your offices located?
- Are you a wholesaler or are you actually going to fund this purchase yourself? (*See below for more on “wholesalers.”)
- What title company do you use to close transactions?
“So, Do You Need A House Buyer Or Should You Use A Realtor?”
Professional Home Buyers are a legitimate option for selling your home. The question you should now be asking is whether to use one of them or go the traditional route via a realtor. For a detailed analysis of this visit: COMPARE: Home Buyer vs. Listing.
The short answer is: It Depends! How you answer the following questions will help you make your decision:
- Do you need to sell fast due to financial hardship like foreclosure, job loss, medical bills, etc?
- Does your house need a lot of work?
- Do you want to avoid spending the time and blood sugar to deal with the listing, showing and marketing of your home through a realtor?
If you answered Yes to any of these questions, then you should definitely get an offer from a Home Buyer.
A professional Home Buyer will provide you the following:
- An immediate cash offer for your house.
- The time to decide if this is your best solution.
- The ability to close whenever YOU are ready.
- An offer with no contingencies (don’t need inspections, appraisals, or financing).
- The ability to take your house AS IS, with no need for repairs (and no need for your to clean or haul off left behind items).
Here’s My Shameless Plug For AMERICAN HOME BUYER:
We offer all of the 6 items listed above. Further, we have been doing this since 1998 here in Houston. We have bought and remodeled hundreds of Houston area homes, and we would love the opportunity to buy yours. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We have the funds pay cash for your house, and we can close as fast as 3 days or we can close in 60-90 days... whatever time table you’re on! We buy homes in ANY CONDITION and regularly purchase homes in Probate, Divorce, Foreclosure etc. Visit our Who We Are page for more info on our company.