Have you ever wondered if those “I Buy Houses” signs belong to legitimate companies? The answer is yes and no. Many of the signs and billboards offering to buy houses in any condition for cash belong to private real estate investors. Others belong to large real estate companies who specialize in buying distressed properties; while some are outright scams.
Before selling your home to an “I Buy Houses” company it is imperative to engage in due diligence and make certain you are working with a reputable organization or individual. Whenever there is money to be made, there is usually a group of scam artists lurking in the background. Unfortunately, the real estate market is currently a prime target for seedy characters.
Fortunately, the Internet allows us to locate information on just about anyone. Where real estate is concerned, there are five organizations that can help you determine if the company is reputable.
Legitimate business owners must register their business in any state where they plan to conduct business. In most states, the Department of Revenue oversees business registrations. Some businesses are registered through the Secretary of State.
The Attorney General’s office handles both consumer and criminal complaints. The AG office can reveal if a real estate company is being investigated for mortgage fraud or other wrong doings.
The Better Business Bureau retains records of consumer complaints and provides detailed information on how the company responds. The BBB also shows if the organization is a member in good standing and the length of time they have been associated with the Better Business Bureau.
Real estate companies, realtors and brokers must be licensed through their state’s Real Estate Commission.
To locate these resources, type in the name of your state plus the organization (e.g.; Idaho Secretary of State) at your favorite search engine. These agencies can verify if you are working with a licensed, registered company or individual.
As a private real estate investor, I buy houses primarily in southern California. Nearly every week I hear horror stories from innocent homeowners who have fallen prey to foreclosure scams.
In today’s sour housing market, homeowners are becoming desperate to sell their house. Oftentimes these people are facing foreclosure, bankruptcy or divorce and need to sell their real estate quick.
Every day, I speak to people who want me to buy their house. Usually by the time they call me they are only a few days away from losing their home. They procrastinated and kept putting things off and now they are going to lose their home because they failed to take action.
I will offer the same advice to you as I offer to everyone who contacts me. If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, you need to call your lender now. Not tomorrow or the next day – right this very minute. Once your house enters the foreclosure process it becomes quite challenging to reverse the process.
If you have exhausted all options for getting back on track with your mortgage payments, ask your lender to engage in a short sale. Using this type of real estate transaction, lenders agree to accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage loan. However, the homeowner must locate a buyer within a set timeframe.
Short sales are rather complex and require time to orchestrate. On average, a short sale takes 3 to 4 months to complete. The process can be expedited by selling your house to a private investor. When possible, it is best to work with an investor who possesses short sale experience.
Selling your home to a private real estate investor isn’t any different than selling to a typical buyer. The primary difference is investors are experienced in real estate transactions. They know what needs to be done and when to do it. Working with an experienced investor can simplify the process.
Whether you work with an “I Buy Houses” specialist or organization, it is always important to read and understand any legal documents. Prior to signing, it is highly recommended to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure the documents are legitimate and legally-binding.