How to Avoid Cash for Houses Scam

When you’re in a financial pickle, it’s much easier to fall prey to scammers. Scammers know that desperate people are easier to target. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your house payments or trying to avoid foreclosure, it’s tempting to try anything.

While you can sell your home for cash to legitimate buyers, like Brick, there are a few common scams you can easily avoid with a bit of research.

“We Buy Houses for Cash” Scam

One of the most common ways nefarious folks scam people is through signs you may have seen tacked up on electric poles or around your neighborhood. Homeowners who reach out to scammers are often looking to sell their property. Instead, the scammer gets the homeowner to sign over their rights to the property. The scammers take control of the house and lease it out to new tenants. The homeowners lose access to the management of their property but are still on the hook for the mortgage payments.

Scammers can double dip by finding tenants who believe they’re getting into a rent-to-own situation. Instead, scammers charge a hefty upfront fee and vanish.

You can avoid being scammed with a little bit of work.

How to identify a potential scammer

If you want to sell your home for cash but want to be sure that you’re working with a legitimate buyer, there are a few things you can do.

Find out if the company exists:  A quick google search can often help determine if a company or individual is legitimate. You can also find business licenses on your state’s website. If a person reached out to you, ask them to provide proof that they are qualified. Many scammers will argue or back off if you ask too many questions. Don’t forget to check LinkedIn and the Better Business Bureau.

Talk to them in person: Avoid communicating by email only. If possible, set up an in-person meeting. You should be able to talk to the individual by phone or video call. You can do a reverse phone search to ensure the number is from a legitimate person.

Pay attention to how they talk: Scammers will push. They may try manipulating you with stories about why they need the sale. Don’t work with someone who is too eager or has strong reactions (particularly anger or frustration) when you have questions. Additionally, any cash buyer will want to see the property in person.

Watch the check scam: Some scammers will offer to pay you more and ask for a refund. For example, if they agree to buy your house for $250,000, they send a check for $300,000 and ask you to send them a check for the difference. This is always a scam. The check they sent will bounce, and you’ll be out $50,000.

Don’t sign the deed without cash: When you sell your home for cash, the buyer gives you the money, and then you sign the deed. Ideally, a real estate attorney should be present when the deed is signed. Do not sign the deed before you get paid for your home.

Trust your gut: If you are uneasy about working with someone, trust your gut and walk away. Scammers are getting better at what they do, so if you feel uncomfortable, you can step away.

Note: Scammers target particularly vulnerable populations like the elderly. If you have a parent, grandparent, or family member who wants to sell their home quickly, ensure they have someone reliable to work with, so they don’t fall victim to scammers.

When you sell your home for cash, the sales process will feel like the traditional buying/selling process. While it often goes faster and smoother since financing isn’t an issue, much of the process feels the same. There are phone calls, meetings, and documents to sign. The buyer should want to see the home in person. If any process feels off, that’s a good sign you might want to double-check who you’re working with.

If you’re interested in selling your home for cash, consider working with an established company like Brick. Working with an established iBuyer can ensure you get the best deal, and that the sales process runs smoothly.

Ready for a quote? Reach out today to find out how to get a quick cash offer on your house.

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Further Reading

How to Sell Your House Fast.

Sometimes you just don’t have time to put your home on the MLS, wait for interested buyers, and then hope the potential buyer doesn’t back out or lose their financing.

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