“We Buy Houses” Scams-
Red Flags You Should Watch Out For:
Many are looking to sell their home quickly for cash so they look to “We Buy Houses” companies that offer exactly that. While there are certainly companies that offer to pay for houses for a fair sum, sellers have to beware of other “we buy houses” scams that are quite rampant especially online. Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
Foreign Buyers Who Want to Buy Your Home Sight Unseen
This type is really easy to spot as it has two very obvious elements. One, an overenthusiastic foreign buyer who seems to want to buy your home for an amount more than what you were hoping to get. Two, a cashiers check will be offered, but it will conveniently take a long time to arrive given the buyer’s supposed distance. Often, the prospective buyer/scammer will not be available for an in-person meet and will only communicate via phone or email. Also, the correspondence will be riddled with typos since the buyer does not speak English very well but is conveniently very wealthy.
When a buyer does not care to see what the property looks like, or even send for someone to see it on his/her behalf, you should go running for the hills because you are about to be scammed. At first sign of this scenario, be sure to cease all communication and move on to other prospective buyers.
Overeager Buyer Who Sends “Money” Up Front
This scam seems to be elaborate but it is actually quite cut and dry. The bogus buyer sends a check for an amount that is way more than the agreed-upon price of the home. The buyer, or his “representative” then asks you to wire funds to cover the excess amount, which you are likely be inclined to do given that a check has already been sent. By the time the wire transfer is completed, your bank will notify you of the fraudulent check, and the fact that you need to cover for the funds you withdrew in anticipation of the check clearing.
Never give any amount of money to any prospective buyer or his representative at any given time. The only person who should be parting with funds is the one buying your home. The goal is to make money, not lose it.
Buyers Telling You to File for Bankruptcy
Scammers have the uncanny ability to smell desperation and they capitalize on this. Upon initial contact, perhaps via the phone or email exchange, you may seem a bit in a hurry to sell your home for financial reasons and that is how they get their foot in the door. Beware of other “we buy houses” scams that encourage you to file for bankruptcy and try to convince you that it is the best course of action. No buyer or anyone other than yourself should have to decide when it is time to file for bankruptcy.
Only transact with legitimate companies that buy homes for cash. These companies are very easy to spot as they have been around for many years and have spotless reputation in the business community.