When someone offers to buy your home out of the blue, it’s not unreasonable to question their motives.
You don’t have a “For Sale” sign in the yard. The house is not listed on the market. You weren’t even considering moving. So why is this person interested in your home?
Not all so-called "home buyers" are legitimate, so it’s understandable if you’re a bit taken aback by such a proposal.
However, there are ways to tell who’s serious about making an offer and who’s playing you. Here’s how to spot a scammer when selling a house.
Some common home-buying scams tend to follow the same format. You can also tell if the person you’re dealing with is not trustworthy by looking out for general warning signs.
One of the most common types of home-buying scams involves the alleged buyer asking for an administrative or processing fee upfront. You agree to pay the charge and send the money. Then, you wait for the next step in the sale. However, the next step never comes because the so-called buyer has made off with your money.
Another common scam entails the alleged buyer sending you the wrong amount of money for the house. Let’s say you agreed to sell your home for $70,000, but when you receive the check, it says $75,000 instead. The so-called buyer apologizes for the mistake and asks you to wire the difference back to them. When you do, you’ve just lost $5,000, and the house remains in your possession.
If someone is legitimately interested in buying your home, you should be able to retrieve information about them. If the buyer doesn’t offer any references, something’s wrong. If their references are sketchy and can’t be verified, you need to rethink doing business with this person.
When someone is serious about buying your home, they are professional. They should know state and federal laws, as well as use proper forms and state-regulated documentation. If they communicate poorly over the phone or via email, you need to be wary.
Here are some other red flags. The buyer is:
There are plenty of licensed real estate agents, wholesalers, and other "experienced" investors who, while not necessarily "scammers", will take advantage of you.
Hot take: Not all unsolicited offers are not legitimate.
But let's look at the ones who aren't.
There are a few ways to tell if a home buyer is local to the area or if they are an out of town investor looking to flip a contract.
Check their phone number. Is the area code local to your region? If not, it's probably a good idea to move on.
Do they have a Google Business Profile? When you search for them, do they have a business? What about a Facebook page? Do they have any reviews? If they do not have any reviews, they may not be local.
*Beware of profiles with reviews that do not include names. These can also be a sign of someone who is not legitimate.*
This is often the biggest characteristic that sets legitimate cash home buyers apart from wholesalers or scammers. Even a small mom & pop investor will have some past projects they have worked on. Wholesalers will not have any past projects because they are only selling your contract.
New Again Houses® buys houses for cash and works hard to fully remodel as many of them as we can. We will never sell your contract, even if we are unable to remodel your home. It is our goal to improve neighborhoods and communities by making each house we purchase even better than it was before.
Now you know ways to go about identifying a scammer when selling your home. But remember, scammers are not the only problem.
There are plenty of licensed real estate agents, wholesalers, and other "experienced" investors who, while not "scammers", will certainly take economic advantage of someone who might be interested in selling their home.
Make sure you can trust who you sell your home to.