What's the deal with those "We Buy Houses for Cash" companies?
Updated: Nov 16
In today's real estate market, homes stay on the market for about 25 days on average before going under contract. That's better than back in 2010, when homes were averaging 140 days to sell, but it's still not fast, and there's no guarantee that your home will sell in 25 days. Location, season, and many other factors affect how quickly you can sell a home.
If you need to sell your home quickly, those "We Buy Houses for Cash" billboards may have caught your eye. Can you really sell your home as-is in just a few days?
Who are they?
We buy houses for cash" buyers are not your typical buyer looking for a home to live in or rent out. They are real estate investors looking to make a quick profit.
As such, they are looking to purchase a home for the lowest price possible, fix it up as needed, and sell it on the open market a short time later. These types of investors can make a huge profit on a home in just a few months.
Who do they target?
These cash buyers are looking for motivated or desperate sellers. For example, let's say you listed your home, but the listing eventually expired without resulting in a sale. At this point, you would probably be contacted by a cash buyer. They're hoping you'll be discouraged by your failure on the open market and will be willing to sell your house for cash at a reduced price.
In the same vein, cash buyers go after people in situations that require a fast sale such as divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and probate sales.
Are there benefits?
For many people in situations such as these, selling a home quickly might be the number one priority, despite the potential to maximize return. And selling to a cash buyer certainly is fast.
The typical financed purchase takes about 30 days to close. Appraisals, contracts, and other procedures take time, and they must be done before funds are released.
Cash buyers don't have to deal with that. They'll typically come to your home within a day or two of you contacting them and make an offer on the spot or soon after. They often process the sale in-house and have a title company at the ready to clear the title.
Cash buyers also eliminate the inspection and objection process by simply buying a home "as-is". In only a few days, your house will be sold and you'll be turning over the keys.
Sounds easy enough. What's the catch?
Say goodbye to any profits and probably the equity that you've built up in your home. The offer that cash buyers make is often suspiciously just enough to pay off your mortgage. You will likely only receive 50-80% of market value.
80% of market value might seem like it's worth it to avoid the hassle of going the conventional route, but the average is more like 65% of market value.
Another reason to be extremely careful with these types of companies: scams. Phony investors have all sorts of tactics and tricks to extort money from desperate sellers. You don't want to lose money, or worse, your home, just in an effort to save time.
In short, if you are considering selling your house to a cash buyer, do your research first. Selling a home to get out from under it isn't the only alternative you have. There are other, more profitable options.
To save or to splurge? That is the question.
When decorating your home, saving money is great. Who doesn't love finding a deal on an item and then not-so-subtly bragging about it when guests come over? Bargain-hunting does, however, have its limits, and the impulse to save now might cost you in the long run. Here are a couple places to splurge, and a couple ways to save when decorating your home.
Furniture is a mixed bag. You can get away with an inexpensive coffee table found at a vintage store, and you may be able to score a killer deal on a dining table that looks far more expensive than it is. But when it comes to upholstery, proceed with caution, especially with large pieces. Cheap textiles can pill, rip, wear out easily, and stain permanently. Plus, the material often gets scratchy and uncomfortable.
If you consider the amount of space a sofa occupies, and how often you're using it, it's best not to cut corners. Spring for something with quality construction and materials, and it could last 15 years or more. That being said, furniture manufacturers are facing the same supply chain and labor issues that are impacting the prices of many consumer goods right now. If you are considering splurging on a sofa this year, it might be best to sit tight and wait for things to cool off.
While some designers will tell you that price is no object when it comes to art, the reality is that most of us aren't playing with Picasso money. Luckily, online marketplaces like Society6, Minted, and Etsy allow you to find unique pieces without breaking the bank, and, as a bonus, you'll be supporting emerging artists instead of buying stuff that's mass-produced.
Skimp out on your flooring and you may find yourself needing to replace it prematurely—or live with the consequences of a poor choice. Everything from thin wood, to poor adhesive, to carpet that won't stand up to kids and pets, can cause problems sooner than you expect. Save yourself the time, money, and headache, and pay to get it done right the first time.
Area rugs are one of the best items for bargain hunters because there are myriad options that are both durable and affordable. A natural sisal rug can hide the appearance of dirt and take a beating, but at a price point that won't make you cry when Fido has an accident. Flatweave wool rugs are another popular-yet-affordable option.
When in doubt, just consider the room your rug is going in. Is there a lot of foot traffic? Pet and kid access? Potential for food or drink spills? If the answer is yes to any of the above, save your money and go with something inexpensive and replaceable.