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Don’t Get Burned: What to Know About North Carolina We Buy Houses Scams

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In every big city and every small town in North Carolina, you’ll see them – neon signs stapled to the sides of telephone poles with a phone number scrawled across the bottom and the slogan “We Buy Houses for Cash!” in bold lettering.

The question is whether these cash home buyers are really going to buy your house, or if the North Carolina offerings are scams. Could these quick sell offers be too good to be true?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward.

We buy houses North Carolina scams are prevalent

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It’s important to be clear here – there are a lot of scammers out there in North Carolina.

When selling a North Carolina house, odds are you’ll get a lot of solicitations from potential buy houses companies interested in giving you a cash offer. Sometimes these are legitimate, and oftentimes they aren’t.

Part of the reason these scams are so widespread is that cash home buyers really do exist and they really do offer cash for a house fast. North Carolina companies generally target people who have distressed properties or who need to sell fast, and criminals see that vulnerability as an opening for them to get a quick, dishonest buck.

How to spot a buy houses scam

North Carolina house near Asheville in Buncombe County

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Avoiding a we buy houses North Carolina scam starts by knowing what to look out for. There are common, telltale signs that scammers use again and again.

What should you look out for? Here are some of the biggest red flags from someone who says they are a buy houses company in North Carolina.

  • They ask you to sign over the title of your home without a written contract.
  • They tell you not to talk to your lender about the deal.
  • They ask you to give them money upfront prior to closing.
  • They say that they “overpaid” and you need to send them a refund.
  • They offer you more than fair market value for your distressed property.

If any of these things come up from a buy houses company in North Carolina, you should promptly walk away from whoever you’re talking to.

Though you might think that there won’t be other opportunities for you to sell your house, it’s never worth the possibility of getting involved with fake real estate investors. You’ll lose more money by dealing with a buy houses scammer than you ever will be waiting for another potential buyer.

It’s worth noting here that cash buyers who’ll give you a no obligation offer are not rare in North Carolina. If you’ve come across a scammer, then you should look for other cash buyers to sell your house quickly.

Reporting fake real estate investors

North Carolina Home with a no obligation cash offer

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If you find that you have had a run-in with a cash homebuyer scam artist, it’s important that you take steps to report them to the authorities so that you can protect other homeowners from getting taken advantage of.

One place that you can report a scammer to is the Better Business Bureau. The unfortunate reality is that if they are a con artist, you’re unlikely to find any record of them with the BBB. The good news there is that you can vet potential buy houses for cash companies by looking them up through the BBB.

Where you really can make a difference if you think you’ve fun across a cash home buying scam in NC is to report the person you’re speaking with to the North Carolina Attorney General. It’s easy to contact the Office of Josh Stein, the NC Attorney General, through the official NC Department of Justice website.

You can also contact local law enforcement in the North Carolina county that you live in. This might be the sheriff’s office if you live outside the city limits, or it could also be the city police department if you live in a city like Raleigh, Charlotte, or Asheville.

Are cash buyers a ripoff?

Raleigh skyline in Wake County, NC

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Depending on the situation that you’re in as a homeowner, honest cash buyers can offer you a positive solution to sell your house fast.

What can feel like a scam, even with cash home buyers who are being honest, is that a “we buy houses” company might offer you a very low price. Keep in mind, there is no obligation to accept a cash offer, but even the offering can feel like a ripoff.

Talk over your options before committing to anyone. Be sure to calculate real estate agents’ fees and service fees before you make a commitment to selling your home to anyone. Creative real estate solutions like a cash offer might make the most financial sense for your home in Forsyth County, Wake County, or Johnston County, depending on what needs you have and whether you want to sell your house as-is.

Though you might not get as high a price for your home with a cash offer, repair costs and extra fees could eat so far into the profit from a fair market sale that you come out better with an instant cash offer.

Distressed property buyers

Oftentimes, buy houses North Carolina companies are focused on buying distressed property. Basically, they buy ugly houses and then either turn them over to another buyer or fix them up and sell them. Only occasionally is a cash buyer interested in buying a distressed property for themselves.

In order for these cash companies to stay profitable, they have to purchase houses for a low price. It doesn’t matter where the property address is in North Carolina, from Orange County to Durham County and beyond, they’re often willing to pay cash for the house so that they can fix it up and sell it.

Doing all the repairs requires a significant investment, which is why these companies can’t pay market value. They won’t make a profit if they do.

How do We Buy Houses companies turn around NC property so fast?

Aerial view of a house in North Carolina

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The simple speed of the sale with a cash offer from local investors can make it feel like a potential ripoff.

The average real estate process takes around three months in North Carolina. This is because the selling process involves determining the repair value through a home inspection, the market value through a home appraisal, and the mortgage value through a mortgage company.

A local investor who buys burdensome houses fast doesn’t have to participate in any of these things if they are coming to offer cash. In fact, the thing that slows down home sellers in Mecklenburg County and across NC the most is the need to deal with a mortgage company. Banks demand a lot of hoops that slow down the process, where an investment firm doesn’t have to do any of those things to complete a home sale.

Life changes often lead to alternative home selling

For many reasons, a homeowner in NC might not want to go through the traditional home sale process. You might need to sell your house in Guilford County quickly because of a divorce, the loss of a family member, a relocation, or a North Carolina hurricane.

These companies are another option for buyers who have properties so badly damaged they cannot be financed through conventional buyers.

How much do We Buy House Companies in North Carolina pay?

We buy houses companies and local real property investors generally offer less than the market value of a home. You may be able to find an approximate value for your home by viewing comparable listings for comparable houses that have been recently renovated and looking at the price they sold for before that renovation.

In North Carolina, the average listing price of a home is $359,500. If a We Buy Houses company believes you have value after making necessary repairs, $50,000 for example, they might offer you roughly $251,000. You can always negotiate with the potential buyer through the selling process.

Remember that what you get from a home investor first is always a no obligation offer. No one is going to force you to sell your house fast in North Carolina. You have the right to walk away from a deal if you don’t think that it’s fair, even if you’re trying to avoid realtor fees and sell your house as is.

Don’t agree to cash offers without some investigating

Close-up of a person realizing their NC Real Estate deal is a scam

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While there are many cash buyers out there in North Carolina who are above board and genuinely want to buy your house fast for cash, criminals are also right there in the mix, ready to take your money and be on their merry way.

To weed out the potential scam homebuyers in NC and find dependable homebuyers, there are some things that you can look out for.

  • High rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Positive reviews online
  • Sizeable website with testimonials
  • Multiple methods of contact – phone, email, text, etc.
  • Verified proof of funds document with call to their bank

Making sure that you don’t get taken in by a scammer isn’t that difficult if you make sure that you follow up with outside research.

If you’re unsure about the process, you can always reach out to a real estate agent or a real estate attorney to make sure that the cash buyer company you’re working with is one of the good home buyers.

Other home buying scams to watch out for

Cash home buyer scams are the only thing that North Carolina home sellers should watch out for. Too often, people prey on homeowners who are in tough situations with a variety of real estate scams.

Here’s a list of real estate scams that have happened to North Carolina home sellers in the last two decades:

  • Escrow wire fraud
  • Predatory loan flipping
  • Fake foreclosure relief
  • Rent to own home sales

All of these scams are avoidable if you watch out for the signs of a scammer. The good news is that they’re easy to spot because the all get their scams from the same playbook.

When you go to investigate the home buyers, there will always be things that don’t add up. Though you might be eager to get out of your North Carolina house fast, you’ll only end up in more trouble if you ignore red flags.

If you’re ever in a place that you feel isn’t quite right, contact an NC credit counselor, a real estate attorney, a real estate agent, or real estate investors that you know to ask if the deal sounds good. It’s always a good idea to get another set of eyes on your potential deal before you get yourself into trouble.

The simple act of talking out the deal with someone you can trust will often weed out potential scams in NC and keep you from getting burned.

Why people work with cash home buyers

Trying to sell a house on the open market, with commission fees, taxes, repair costs, closing costs, and all of the other added money that comes in at closing can be intimidating and frustrating. Working with dependable homebuyers takes the stress out of those transactions because the home seller can just opt out of much of that hassle with the house.

For many homeowners in NC, getting fair market value comes second to getting out from under a burdensome house. Buy house companies in NC offer an opportunity to get the property address off of their hands and give the owner the freedom to do other things.

Sometimes, it’s not so much about getting a huge number for a home, but being smart by avoiding agent fees and costs associated with selling a property address in NC. A fair all cash offer can solve lots of problems, depending on your situation.

This need to get moving on a house fast is a big reason that people end up in real estate scam situations. When you have to get your house sold fast, you’re willing to entertain lots of things.