Scammers now in the cash-for-homes market as real estate remains hot, NC warns

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — In this red-hot real estate market, buyers are everywhere, and you may be thinking you’d like to sell your home without all the hassle of going through a traditional agent or broker.

If you decide to do that, beware — simple may not be better. Like everything else, scammers have found a way to capitalize on this trend of cash for homes.

If you are willing to sacrifice profit in exchange for a faster and simpler sale process, a third-party home sale could be just what you need — but beware of where the offer comes from.

“Do your research on these companies and brokers and make sure you are really with someone who is not going to scam you,” said Nick Hill of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says scammers will post roadside signs and send postcards proclaiming, “We buy homes.”

Stein says what they really want to do is to convince you to sign over control of your home. Then, the company leases the property to a new tenant.

As a result, the owner loses rights to their home but is still responsible for making the mortgage payments. The BBB says one way to recognize this type of scam is the excessive cash offer.

“These scammers will prey on sellers who want to move their homes quickly and typically offer them a deal too good to be true,” said Hill.

There are legitimate third-party companies that will buy your home for cash — but make sure before you accept an offer you:

  • Know the true value of your home before making any commitment
  • Don’t be forced into making a quick decision.
  • Never pay money upfront

Hill said if you are selling to one of these investor firms, don’t worry about prepping your home.

“Typically if you are selling to an investor or iBuyer the prep work will be as little as possible,” Hill said. “They might not require any prep work at all.

“If you are selling to a traditional buyer, they may require more work like cleaning, taking photos and landscaping and staging,” he said.

If you are looking to maximize your profit on a home sale, it’s best to go the traditional route if you have time on your side.

Remember, buyers can require a 45-day escrow period to allow for appraisals, mortgage approval, inspections, and the like.

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