How to Avoid Being Scammed When Selling Your House
When someone offers to buy your home out of the blue, it’s logical 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.
How Can I Tell If I’m Being Scammed?
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.
Common Home-buying Scams
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.
Scammer Warning Signs
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. There’s a problem if you can’t determine whether the buyer has a real estate license or certification. 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:
- Difficult to contact
- Eager to buy the house sight unseen
- Hesitant to have a third party look at the paperwork
What Are the Pros and Cons of Accepting Unsolicited Offers?
If an unsolicited offer comes your way, and you can verify it’s legitimate, there are some situations where you may consider selling your home.
For example, you may have inherited a property from a loved one or ended up with the house after a divorce. Perhaps the home is too much trouble to take care of or you’d like to get away from the unpleasant memories it evokes. Accepting an unsolicited offer would be a way to relieve the burden.
Let’s say you are thinking about selling your house, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a real estate agent, listing the home on the market, and waiting for a response. Moving forward with an unsolicited offer would cut out a ton of steps and get you to closing day faster.
With an unsolicited offer, you’re likely not going to receive what the house is worth. If you were to list the home yourself or with a realtor, you could get fair market value or higher. There’s not much room for negotiations with unsolicited offers because wholesalers and investors are looking to buy cheap and move fast.
Agreeing to an unsolicited offer will probably lock you into an exclusivity agreement. This means you can’t talk to other buyers or entertain offers that may come up later. If you don’t make your home available to all potential buyers, you’ll never know if you could have received more money for it.
Avoiding Scammers When Selling Your House
Now you know ways to go about identifying a scammer when selling your home.
If you get an unsolicited offer for your house, use caution if the buyer:
- Doesn’t have a real estate license or other certification
- Asks for administration or processing fees upfront
- Overpays and then asks you to wire the difference
- Wants to buy your home sight unseen
- Communicates unprofessionally
- Can’t provide references
With New Again Houses, you get a fair cash offer from a trusted, local home buyer. We have been in the business of helping people sell their homes since 2008 and approved through the Better Business Bureau since 2009.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, contact us today!