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Think Before You Sell Your Home for Cash to a ‘We Buy Houses’ Site

Whether it’s billed as “I buy ugly houses” or “We pay cash for your home,” the number of cash home purchase sites has ballooned in recent years. 

Those cash buyers can range from individual local investors to high-tech, well-financed iBuyers, but their sales pitch is the same: They’ll give you a fast, hassle-free home sale that leaves you with cash in hand in a matter of days. 

In some situations, that can be a godsend. But if you’re not careful, you can find yourself having sold your home for much less than you would have gotten through a traditional sale, or even the victim of a scam. 

Here’s what you need to consider before deciding to sell your home to a “We buy houses for cash” site

What are your other options?

If you’re in dire straits and need to unload a home quickly—maybe it belonged to a deceased family member, and you need to come up with the money to cover their debts—selling a home as fast as possible for some cash can make sense. 

Typically, investors and cash purchase websites want to spend no more than 50-70% of what they could resell the home for. That’s right: if you sold your home the traditional way through a real estate agent, you could end up with 30-50% more money from the home sale. A tool like this home value estimator can come in handy here. 

So it’s worth taking a close look at why you’re considering selling a home for cash. If you have any other options, it’s a good idea to explore them. 

At the very least, contact a real estate agent to get an opinion on how much your home is worth and what work would need to be done (and how much it would cost) to get it ready for sale. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which route is truly best for you. 

How does the site structure their offers? 

Different sites will use different structures when it comes to how they make offers. 

Some have specific criteria, like only buying homes in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure. Some investors want homes in specific neighborhoods. iBuyers will typically purchase homes in good condition for decent prices, but they’re still marking them up significantly when they resell. 

Then there are other platforms, like HomeLight’s Simple Sale, that offer home sellers more control over their home sale, by gathering cash offers from bidders across the country, while also providing you with an estimate of what you could get by putting the home on the market. 

These sorts of platforms still give sellers a streamlined, hassle-free process, but they’re much more transparent. 

For one thing, you get access to hundreds of cash buyers through the platform. Those buyers then bid against each other for your home, making it much more likely you’ll get a higher final offer than you would through a “we buy houses” site. 

For another, you’ve got that estimate to help guide you. While you’re deciding whether to take the cash, you can take that number to a local real estate agent for a second opinion. If he or she thinks it’s realistic, you may decide to refuse the offer; if the market is slow or saturated, cash may be a good way to go. 

Selling your home to a “we buy houses” site can be a smart decision for some, but you’ve got to do your homework—especially if you’re a first-time home seller. And consulting with a real estate agent first will help you make a better informed decision and avoid any potential regrets. . 

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