Do you get those pesky yellow letters or post cards in the mail from the “I’ll Buy Your House Fast”, “Cash Offer in Three Hours”, or “Rent to Own”? These can get pretty annoying and quick, right? You think if you just ignore them they will get the message and stop, but they don’t and it is like even more mail or calls come pouring in.
The absolute best way to make this stop is to call, email or write them and politely ask them to remove you from the mailing or call list and that your are “Not interested”. I say “politely” because they are people too and some actually provide a valuable service for people that need to sell their homes. It just happens that you aren’t one of them. You don’t get mad a Pizza Hut for sending you mail.
“NO” is better than “maybe”. If you say you’re not interested right now you have left the door open for future contact. So be firm if “No, Not Interested” is your final answer. If you have a home that is updated and in good condition it is almost certain that the best method of selling that property is with a local real estate agent/broker and listing the house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You have the best chance of capturing the best price and reaching the widest audience available for that home.
As mentioned before an ethical home buying company can be a valuable service for some people. A distressed home (needs a lot of repairs, damaged home) or distressed home owner (sick, divorce, loss of job, behind on payments) often can’t sell through traditional means. If you are going to engage with a home buying company here are some tips.
1. Know your repair costs. Get some estimates from reputable contractors in your area. You can get a range on websites like HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. For example, the average replacement and install of a new roof in the greater Boston area costs $8,649 plus materials. Home Depot also covers most types of services so you can call them and get a quote.
2. Know your property value. A quick gauge is using the tax assessment from your town’s tax assessors website or property record card. Also websites such as Trulia and Zillow provide an estimate of the homes value. These are not always accurate, but it gives you a ballpark figure. While on Zillow or Trulia look at the properties around yours that sold in the last 6 months or are for sale. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Houses that you are comparing to yours should be close in size, location, and year built. If your neighbor sold for $200K and their house was 2,000 square feet and built in 2014 that is not a comparable home to your 1,200 square foot house built in 1958.
3. Know your needed price. This is different from your wanted price. We all want top dollar and in some cases deserve it. The “needed” price is the amount that will satisfy whatever debt is on the house such as mortgages, liens, judgements, etc. If that needed number is higher than what you owe then a cash offer may not be best for you and you may have to consider a short sale or renegotiating your mortgage terms with your bank.
4. Understand that they are in the business to make money. For many ethical home buying companies they are in the business of helping solve real estate problems, but they also have to make money and feed their families. Know that they need to fit in their profit to make the deal worthwhile for their risk. Additionally, they incur many other costs that shows on HGTV don’t cover such as attorney fees, closing costs, insurance, utilities, and realtor fees when they re-sell it after being fixed up.
5. Make sure there is an attorney. Real estate transactions in Massachusetts require an attorney. Make sure the home buying company is using a reputable attorney or use your own. Have all monies go through the attorney in escrow.
6. Follow your gut. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a DUCK! If your gut tells you that something just doesn’t seem right then it might make more sense to disengage. Research to confirm or deny your suspicions, but normally your gut is right.
In conclusion, if you get unwanted mail call the number and let them know you are not interested. If this is a service you can benefit from then follow the tips to prepare yourself. Real Estate is an amazing industry that allows for many traditional and creative solutions for your particular situation. Just know what is right for you.