How Do I Find Cash Buyers for My Home?
There are numerous benefits to selling a house for cash. The process takes significantly less time than a traditional sale. There’s no need to list your home or stage it for showings. There’s no chance of a sale falling through at the last minute because a buyer can’t get funding. The buyer typically takes care of repairs. Best of all, when you agree to a cash offer, you might have your money in days.
Still, there are some pitfalls to be aware of. So, here’s everything you need to know.
What Is the Process?
You can sell the house yourself without professional help, but most experts don’t advise that. Real estate agents have all sorts of up-to-date market information at their fingertips. They can tell you how briskly houses are moving in your neighborhood and what they’re selling for.
Agents working on a quick-sale basis get the job done largely by phone and email. Commissions or flat fees for quick sales are much lower than for standard sales.
The first thing you must do is come up with a realistic asking price. If you forgo an agent, at least do some research and get an appraisal. Find comparative pricing on the Internet. Once you find a buyer and agree on a price, be sure to ask for proof of funds. When the buyer signs on the dotted line, collect a nonrefundable deposit.
The buyer is usually responsible for finding a title company to close the sale. The title company will perform a title search, verify that tax payments are current, and issue title insurance. Most states collect a transfer tax. If you have any suspicions about the buyer, hire a closing attorney to represent your interests.
How Do I Find a Cash Buyer?
Cash buyers can be as elusive as snow leopards if you don’t know where to look. According to the National Association of Realtors, just 21 percent of buyers paid cash in 2017.
To help with your efforts to secure a cash buyer, here are five tips for finding them.
1. Make friends with a Realtor
Again, good information is at a realtors’ disposal. Agents don’t necessarily have names, but they can search for recent sales and provide a list of properties that were cash purchases. From there, it’s a matter of searching online for public records by address.
Most metropolitan areas have real estate associations or investment groups. Find a local organization and go to a meeting. Meet some agents and ask to be introduced to any cash buyers who attend.
2. Do your own homework
Search the public records in your county for information about every home sale. The tax assessor’s website is a good place to start. It will be obvious to you if a home purchase was financed since the county must record the change in ownership as well as the lien from the mortgage or deed of trust. If the sale was a cash purchase, no lien will be recorded.
A local title company can also furnish a list of properties that have no lien on record, but you might have to pay a small fee.
Access to identifying information varies by state and county. If it’s not provided in online records, you may have to visit the tax assessor’s office in person to get names. You can then reach out to cash buyers by mail or on social media.
3. Attend property auctions
Auctions that take place on the steps of the courthouse are quite revealing. Whoever has the winning bid must pay with cash, so those deep-pocketed, highly motivated bidders are the people you want to get to know.
Take some flyers with your contact information and a description of your home. Include a few photos. Introduce yourself, make small talk, and ask new acquaintances to spread the word.
4. Advertise on Craigslist
This is a free, convenient way to find a buyer. Phrase your post to include “must sell” and “cash offers only.”
As in any industry, scammers abound. Bad apples prey on homeowners who are threatened with foreclosure or who just want the bitter divorce over and done with.
When interested parties contact you, verify their legitimacy and standing in the community. Avoid companies that litter the neighborhood with so-called bandit signs offering cash for homes in any condition. Most are unscrupulous.
5. Put up a sign
If yard signs are allowed in your community, hire a professional to make one for you. Your contact number and cash-only requirement should be prominent.
The Best Sites to Find Cash Buyers
Several websites provide access to cash buyers. Here, along with their pros and cons, are three of the most popular.
Opendoor has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Fortune, and other respected sources.
The process is simple. Log in, provide information about your home, and request a cash offer. If you accept the offer, Opendoor promptly pays you and starts preparing the house for sale to another buyer. It’s completely hassle-free.
However, offers are typically five to 10 percent below market value. Sellers pay 10 to 12 percent in fees. An inspection is required, and sellers must pay for all necessary repairs.
2. Zillow Instant Offers
This program is similar to Opendoor, but it is only being tested in certain markets. If you accept Zillow’s offer, you could have your money in just days.
The site is attractive and user-friendly. You’ll find Zestimate, a tool for pricing your home. There are tips for selling a home, comparing mortgages, and even decorating.
There is a downside. Zillow has an extremely limited number of potential buyers in its program. They are large, institutional real estate investors, so your chances of getting an offer are somewhat slim.
This site features more than two million pages on real estate, more than one million members, and countless educational resources including blogs, forums, and podcasts. It’s designed to help buyers and sellers connect and form business relationships.
Unfortunately, not all the information is free. You may connect with a verified cash buyer, but it could cost you a few hundred dollars. BiggerPockets doesn’t offer refunds, and your subscription will renew automatically if you don’t opt out.
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