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How to Sell a Property When You Still Owe Money On It

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When you first qualified for your mortgage and bought your home, you were probably over the moon with excitement. Mortgage repayment generally runs from fifteen to fifty years, but in those first few heady days, you likely were more focused on moving in and enjoying your home. 

Eventually, most people have to sell their home for one reason or another, and often that loan is still on it. This might be because of a divorce, a new job, the desire to relocate for retirement, because of an expanding family, the need for more space, or even because of a financial hit. It might be as simple as the realization that the house isn’t right for you. It might be that the neighborhood was rezoned and now there’s a strip mall right behind your back garden. Whatever the reason, the mortgage isn’t cleared and the property needs to be sold.

Most homeowners don’t own their homes

Here’s something you might not know: if you still owe money on your home, you don’t actually own your home. It’s true! Until a mortgage is paid off completely, the lender technically owns the house. Whatever mortgage lender you financed your house through is the legal property owner. 

Legally speaking, a mortgage is the transfer of interest in a piece of real property to secure repayment of money. Your lender is securing the payment of the money you’ve promised to pay back to them through ownership of the property itself.

If a home loan falls into default because of missed payments, they can call up the secured asset; your house. That’s why when someone’s home goes through foreclosure, they are subject to the eviction process just like a landlord evicts a tenant. The lender repossesses the home just as a car lender can repossess a car. The difference of course is that the house can’t go anywhere, so the person living there has to go somewhere. 

The mortgage holder/homeowner relationship isn’t legally all that different than the tenant/landlord relationship. What a strange thing to realize!

The great news is that it’s not cost-effective for a mortgage lender to foreclose on a home. They are much more likely to lose money this way than if they can keep a homeowner in their home. It’s also a better deal for a lender if the house can be sold prior to foreclosure.

If you want to sell your home while owing money on it, the lender will have to sign off on the sale.  

Understand your mortgage payment

Though you might already know off the top of your head the buying price of your home, keep in mind that a mortgage is much more than that. Unlike rent, which is the full cost to live in a house and its straightforward, a home loan has lots of components. 

Mortgage payments include lots of different things.

– Principal
– Interest
– Taxes
– Insurance

The principal is the actual amount of the home. This is where you put equity into the house, where you’re paying down the price of the home. Interest is the fee that you pay the lender for allowing you to use their money. Taxes are the local fees that the government takes. Property taxes are built into every mortgage. 

Finally, there is insurance. Homeowners’ insurance covers damage to the home or accidents that happen to people on the property. That’s included in every monthly payment for every homeowner. Unless you put a significant amount of money into the down payment of the home, you’ll also likely have mortgage insurance to pay. This is a safeguard for the lending company for risky investments.

Principal and equity

home equity piggy banks

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All of this adds up to mean that the full amount of your monthly payment doesn’t go to that sale price that you paid for your home. On the contrary, depending on the interest rate that you pay on your home loan and on other fees, you might end up paying as much as one quarter to one third of the sale price on top of the principal. 

Note that early on in the life of your mortgage, you’ll be paying more on interest and less on principal. The first five years of payments are much different than the last ten or twenty-five in terms of breakdown. 

Equity is the amount of principal that you’ve paid off on your mortgage. The more equity you have in your home, the higher percentage you own rather than the bank owning.  

Determine what you owe

Your mortgage statement will have a breakdown of everything that’s included in your mortgage payment. If you want to find out how much you need to pay the lender to clear the mortgage, you’ll have to request a payoff amount. 

This is a common request that mortgage lenders get all the time. If you have an online platform that you pay your home loan through, you should be able to get a payoff amount through an automated system. This might take a couple of days. The payoff amount is guaranteed for a certain amount of time, usually thirty days. 

Know your home selling options

sale of property

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If you haven’t paid off your mortgage yet, you can still sell your home. 

Your selling options are all about getting more for your home than what you owe on it. That’s why it’s important to know the payoff amount. 

The lending company wants to know for sure that they’re going to get their money back. That’s really all they’re interested in. If they’re sure that they’re going to get the amount loaned to you back out of the deal, they’re more than happy to allow the sale to go through. 

If you work with a cash buyer, a real estate agent, or a real estate attorney, those experts will be able to tell you what you need to know about selling your property. They can work with the holder of the loan and with a title company to get the closing documents together ahead of the closing date. You might also need a settlement statement or a proof of funds document depending on the regulations in your area. 

Many buyers have ways to make financing work, through a lease option or a contingent offer deal with the person selling their current home. Even if you have a second mortgage or an old house, you might still be able to cover the remaining amount on your loans. Never hesitate to get professional help from a tax expert or a real estate agent if you are unsure of your loan terms or the affect the sale will have on your credit.

You can sell your property with a mortgage on it to a cash buyer or to a buyer with a lender. A seller financing deal can help to satisfy the mortgage lender and pay off the loan balance. It doesn’t matter to the mortgage company as long as they have a guarantee that they’ll get repayment. 

When a home loses value

The real estate market tends to trend up. This is why real estate is considered such a great investment. However, there are always factors that can change that. 

For instance, remember the house with the strip mall from the beginning of this blog? Rezoning and new construction of commercial buildings can reduce the value of a home. Needed repairs, devastating natural disasters, etc. can also cause the price of a home to go lower than the mortgage cost. 

If you’re not able to sell the home for more than the amount owed, sometimes a mortgage holder will allow another buyer to assume the debt under the same terms. They’ll have to meet income requirements and go through a credit check just as if they were qualifying for a mortgage. 

You might also be able to work out a seller-financed deal to cover the mortgage debt. A bridge loan is another option if you can’t reach the mortgage payoff amount with traditional financing. You’ll want to seek out professional help for all of these options.

Selling a house with a mortgage

house with mortgage payments

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How can you sell a property with a loan on it? It’s actually pretty straightforward assuming you can sell the home for more than you owe on the loan.  Closing costs are a consideration, even for sellers working independently of real estate agents. Today’s market is generally favorable to sellers, so a traditional lender is usually more than willing to avoid short sales or foreclosure in favor of a sale.

Once the house is sold, the money from the sale is used to pay the mortgage company the remaining balance. This lets the homeowner walk away and pocket any leftover cash. Most mortgages are structured so that selling your home to a buyer with good credit and a bank to finance their new loan is an easy sell for mortgage lenders.

Having an existing finance agreement on your home doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. It just means working with the right people to help you sell a property with a loan on it.

Open Door vs. We Buy Houses – Which is Best for You?

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In today’s white-hot real estate market, there are tons of options for homeowners to sell their house for a great price. The question isn’t so much whether it’s possible to sell your house fast, it’s more about finding the right buyer. Looking for a homebuyer with integrity who will give you a fair shake is ultimately what it’s all about. 

New ways of selling your home

The internet changed everything in all aspects of our lives. Where it used to be that you had to either go to a traditional real estate agent to list and sell your home or put an ad in the local paper to sell it yourself, today there are a huge range of options available.

The rise of online home selling means that homeowners can connect with cash buyers all over the United States. It doesn’t matter if you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, or Grand Rapids, Michigan – you can open a search engine and find dozens of potential buyers in an instant. 

Finding out which homebuying company is the best fit for your situation isn’t easy, even with all of these choices available. The average price on the open market isn’t always easy to find. If you rent homes, then you’ll likely run into some issues with buying criteria, even on an all-cash offer.

Decision fatigue

Did you know that it actually takes a lot of brainpower to make decisions? In fact, the huge number of home selling options available can lead to something called decision fatigue. The mental overload that we experience can lead to extra stress, even if the choice seems logical. 

Depending on what time of day you make a decision and what other pressures you have pushing you, the mental stress of it all can have a real effect on what you do. When you’re selling your home, the most important thing is to be dispassionate about it. Coming to the process with an open mind but a sharp sense of the financial ramifications is the best way to get the best deal. 

Selling your home is a major decision that feels like it has serious consequences. What happens if you don’t make the right choice? If you go with the wrong buyer, will you miss out on money? What if you’d just have clicked on that other website or scrolled down to another page? The huge number of choices can make all of the decisions seem impossible to make. 

Research to narrow your options

One great way to combat decision fatigue is to narrow down your options to something that’s manageable. That’s why we’ve pulled down all of the potential cash buyers online to just two, Open Door vs. We Buy Houses. Both of these will give you a cash offer and a quick closing date. Each company’s fee structure is different, but they both have an online form for home sellers.

There’s always the option to go with a random real estate agent. You’ll be likely to get fair market value if you work with a licensed real estate broker, but you’ll also pay real estate agent fees. Local agents are fiercely competitive with other real estate companies, and they’ll always know the estimated retail value of ugly houses. Home sellers in San Antonio, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth, or anywhere in the country can find a local agent.

The traditional home sale involves real estate agent commissions and transaction costs, so your fair market value is just an estimate. The purchase price could be higher or lower, and once local agents with a real estate company add in all the hidden fees, all-cash offers might sound more like a fair price.

These are two of the biggest names in cash home buying, so they’ll have the volume and experience to help most homeowners. You’ll be able to feel confident with either of these investment companies. It’s mostly a matter of understanding the differences between these two options and seeing which is the best fit for you. 

What is Open Door?

The online world of real estate buying and selling is huge today. Open Door is a website that went live in 2014 with the mission of connecting homeowners and real estate investors. It’s what’s known as an iBuyer, or Instant Buyer. That means that the closings are fast and the process is streamlined. With this platform, the offer for a home will be quick, but so will the timeline for closing. It all happens incredibly fast. 

There are only thirty-five markets in the United States where Open Door operates. That limitation alone can functionally keep a lot of people out of this service. For half of them, you can buy a home or sell a home. For the other half, you can only sell a home through their online home selling platform. 

Details about Open Door

Buying process for a piece of property

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It’s important to note that, beyond the restrictions on the location where Open Door will buy homes, there are lots of other restrictions as well. 

The limitations on buying mean that many sellers aren’t a great fit for Open Door. Here are some examples of property restrictions with this home buying company. 

– Homes listed between 100K and 600K (though in some instances they will go higher)
– Built after 1930
– Not in a flood zone
– Maximum lot of 2 acres
– Single family homes, townhomes, duplexes in all markets, condos in a few markets
– Only owner-occupied homes or vacant homes

The other thing to consider with Open Door are the fees associated with using their service. There’s a service charge of five percent and around one percent in closing costs. Those add up significantly. Open Door will also deduct the cost of projected repairs from their sale price. They aren’t a buy ugly houses company or a real estate investment company.

Where a buy ugly houses venture or a real estate investor might give you a cash offer and then fix up and flip your home, Open Door is more in the business to sell your home directly to another buyer at a profit.

Opendoor makes money through their undisclosed referral fee and potentially through a cancellation fee if the deal doesn’t go through. Though the closing date is closer than if you work with a real estate agent, the cash offer from this company might not meet your expectations. Closing costs and service fees mean you’re losing money versus what you could get on the open market.

There are lots of reviews that praise the fast and easy process of selling to Open Door. There are also lots of reviews that say that the offers are low and the repair estimates are high. 

What is “We Buy Houses”?

There are two possibilities for We Buy Houses. One is a slogan that lots of independent home investors use to advertise their services. Another is a branch of a direct home buyer. There’s even a variation that’s called We Buy Ugly Houses, which franchises its name to independent investors rather than being a monolithic company. 

Here, we’re going to talk about real estate investors who license the We Buy Houses name in their local real estate market. Licensing means that you’ll only find one of these in your real estate market – the rights are exclusive. There are more than two hundred licensed We Buy Houses companies in the United States. 

This conglomerate of real estate investors has its toes in markets from Kansas to Michigan to Phoenix to North Carolina and everywhere in between. 

What to expect from We Buy Houses

new house in Colorado Springs

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No matter where you live, the process is the same if you work with We Buy Houses. There’s a phone number to call. During that initial phone call, an agent will ask lots of questions to evaluate your home and see if it’s possible for them to buy it. 

After that initial call, they’ll connect to a local licensee who’ll come look at the property. Then they’ll make you a cash offer if they can. It’ll be up to you to see if that offer meets your needs. 

Here’s what you can expect from We Buy Houses:

  • Cash offer in 24-48 hours
  • Closing date in around two weeks
  • Can buy homes on the brink of foreclosure or that are behind on payments
  • Remote closing options
  • Short sale for underwater mortgages
  • Buys homes in need of repair as-is

One of the big cons here is that you may not get the level of cash that you want for your home. The offer is what the offer is, and you’ll have to decide if it can work for you. The timeline is also fast, so you’re trading control over the process for a cut in the price and for convenience. 

Keep researching home selling options!

real estate in Las Vegas

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It’s well worth the time that you put into the research process for you to get the best price for your home. Selling a house is a major commitment, just as buying your home was a major commitment. Current market trends mean selling a home for top dollar on your own timeline is easier than ever. The net proceeds when you transfer ownership, even if you’ve reduced the cost for needed repairs, is still a testament to the strength of the housing market.  

Though you may want to sell your house fast for cash, you also want to feel good about it! Don’t let decision fatigue get the best of you. Sit down with a sheet of paper and write down what works for you and what doesn’t. Open Door and We Buy Houses are both viable options, depending on your home selling needs. 

Tips for Selling Your House Fast in Raleigh, NC

The real estate market in the Triangle has been moving higher for decades, but in the last few years, it’s even easier to sell your house fast in Raleigh, NC. Thanks to the recent housing boom across the country, homes stay on the market for less than thirty days on average. The tightness of the market in Raleigh creates a seller’s market, but you still need to know what you’re doing in order to get the best price for your home. 

Even in this seller’s market, you’ll still need some insider tips if you want to sell your home fast for cash.  To sell your house fast in Raleigh, NC for a fair cash price with a quick closing date, empower yourself with knowledge!

Know your property

What kind of Raleigh, NC property are you trying to sell? The difference between a home that sells quickly and one that takes its time has everything to do with a smart seller who is read to sell their house fast. A real estate agent or real estate investors will often try to leverage their experience to get you to sell your Raleigh house with them, but you can get more money in Wake County if you find an honest price yourself.

The condition of your property, your motivation for selling it, and the location and size of your Raleigh property are all factors that will affect your selling method. Here are some examples of homes that would require different strategies for sale.

  • Abandoned property in Hillsboro
  • Home in need of repair in Zebulon
  • Inherited home in Cary
  • Foreclosed house in Wake Forest
  • Condo in Downtown Raleigh

Unique properties in Raleigh that are surrounded by new residential developments could have special conditions. If you want to sell your house after divorce in the Triangle, you might also have different parameters than someone who’s selling an inherited home. Anyone who wants to buy houses will do some kind of walkthrough for validation purposes before they buy houses in Raleigh.

Know the area around Raleigh, NC

Even if you have a vacant house or a home with bad rental tenants, there are still real estate solutions for property owners in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas. Buyers in Johnston County, Franklin County, and Durham County are all interested in Raleigh houses. The NC house market is not captive to just the immediate area around Raleigh, NC.

If your property address is further afield than the Triangle, you can still complete a short property information form and then have a home visit for validation purposes to sell your house quickly. Unwanted property for any reason can be sold without an agent’s expensive fees. A fair all cash offer from a company who wants to buy houses in Raleigh, NC often doesn’t involve any fees at all.

Think about your situation in the context of the Triangle market. Though your circumstances might seem familiar, competing sellers will have different situations. Factor in what else potential homebuyers in Raleigh are looking at.  Real estate solutions are available for helping homeowners avoid the time-consuming expense of traditional sales.

Know your home selling goals

Depending on your situation, you might just want to sell your house fast for cash or you might want to take your time with an agent. If your goal is to buy another house in Raleigh and move in, then you’ll need to have a timeline that accommodates that. 

Think about your financial goals too. Do you want to make the most profit possible, or are you ok with making less money in exchange for a more hands off process? Is your goal to move out fast or to transition in a few months?

The process of selling a home is not the same for everyone. Your goals might be better served with a we buy houses company or an independent cash buyer if you don’t want to make home repairs before sale. If you need to take your time and have a relationship with an experienced real estate agent, then that might be the way to go. All that hassle with making repairs isn’t necessary to sell your Raleigh house. Your house can be left unchanged and you can get cash quickly if you take control of the selling process.

A burdensome rental property can still qualify for traditional bank financing. Cash buyers are often willing to pay closing costs if you’ll sell your house fast Raleigh. Unlike selling to an investment firm, burdensome houses can get an honest price and a no obligation cash offer from cash buyers. Property simply doesn’t have to sit there. If you’re facing a difficult situation with a family member, sometimes you need to sell quickly. A no-hassle offer is a way of helping homeowners.

Sit down and write out your goals for the sale of your home before you decide on a strategy to sell your house in Raleigh. This will make it easier for you all along the way. 

Know the value of your Raleigh home

Fayetteville Street Condos in Raleigh, NC

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How much is your Raleigh home worth? It’s worth as much as a buyer will pay for it. 

Fluctuations in the Raleigh real estate market change the price of homes constantly. If you sell your North Carolina home today it will go for one price. If you sell your Raleigh home in six months it will go for a different price. You can’t know the exact price ahead of time, but you can get a range. Look at how much comparable homes have sold for recently in your area. 

It can be tempting to look at websites like Zillow and Redfin for estimates of Raleigh home prices, but those are wildly changeable. Don’t look at the projections on websites. Instead, look for the actual sale prices of properties within the last six months. That’s a much more accurate way to find the market value of your home. 

“Comparative analysis” is the method that professionals use to decide the list price of a home. Through this process, they look at sale prices of similar properties. Projections from real estate sites are not generally accurate. You can always talk to an agent to list your home and do this for you. You’ll pay a hefty commission, but it does take the legwork off your plate. 

A cash buyer or a we buy houses company is likely going to make you an offer at the low end of the price range that you determine for your house. That’s not just because they’re looking for a deal. Cash homebuyers generally buy homes “as-is”. That means you don’t have to make repairs to your Raleigh home. The lower price is also a trade off for fewer steps and a faster home sale.

Know how much you want to put into your home sale

Unwanted real estate property in Raleigh, NC

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Do you want to make repairs to your Raleigh home, or do you want to sell the home “as-is”? Maybe you’d like to work with a Raleigh home stager? Do you want to freshen the interior and exterior? Home tours and open houses in the Triangle can get you a higher price for your house, but the trade off is that you’ll put more time and money into the process. 

It’s notable here that you must always, always let a potential buyer know of any issues with the house. If there’s been a flood in the basement every spring due to North Carolina rainfall, let them know. Maybe the HVAC started acting up in the Piedmont heatwave last August. Don’t hide things from a buyer, even if you’re selling your home as-is.

Property information for both traditional homes and rental properties must be communicated. Your property can still be left unchanged if you need to sell quickly. An all-cash offer for an as-is house can be reasonable no matter what its condition is.

Just as you’d like honesty and transparency in the process, so do buyers. Disclosure laws in North Carolina preserve the right of homebuyers to know that’s going on with a house before purchase. It’s much better just to be honest if you don’t want to make repairs. You’ll still be able to sell your house fast in Raleigh if you want to sell it as-is.

Know your options to sell your house fast

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina

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It’s easy enough just to throw a “for sale” sign up in your front yard with your phone number on it and see what happens. FSBO isn’t going to get you the fastest sale, the highest price, or the easiest process. However, Raleigh homeowners can list on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or in local newspapers like the Raleigh News & Observer. These are all tactics to get the word out about your home for sale. 

If you decide to work with a real estate company, find one with experience. In the fast-changing market in Raleigh, experience matters. There are dozens of independent agents who can help walk you through the process in exchange for a commission. 

Finding a company to buy your house fast

Choosing a home buying company like a we buy houses company is another way to go. These companies will buy your home as-is and will waive some steps in the process. Don’t ever pay anything upfront. A common homebuying scam is to ask buyers for fees before the sale. If a cash buyer or agent asks you for payment, find someone else to work with. 

Selling your home fast in Raleigh doesn’t have to be stressful! With these tips, you can navigate the process quickly and get your Triangle home sold. 

Read This Before Selling Your House to a Cash Home Buyer in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Getting a fast turnaround on a home is important, especially in today’s real estate market. Before you sell your house in Kalamazoo, you’ll want to understand the top factors affecting the real estate market in western Michigan.

Cash home buyers in the Kalamazoo area are ready to pay a fair price to homeowners for both properties that are in great condition and for property that needs repairs. If you need to sell your MI house, you may not realize that a fair all-cash offer is even an option.

Traditional real estate sales or selling to an investment firm have long been a comfort zone for people who are selling their homes. With the rise of the no-obligation cash offer, it’s now possible for homeowners to unload burdensome houses fast.

Though that sounds like a great deal for helping homeowners, learning about the whole process before you put your Kalamazoo property up for sale is the best way to go.

Prepare your home for sale

Normal wear and tear on a home from living in it day in and day out leave a house in a state that’s not attractive to potential homebuyers. Though it can seem like this is cosmetic, and to a certain extent it is, that doesn’t make it superficial.

Cleaning and decluttering your home before the sale is the first step. Start by packing away anything and everything that you can, from household items to personal belongings. The reason for this is to allow prospective buyers to envision themselves in the home and to let them see what the space really looks like. You can’t do those things if someone else’s stuff is everywhere. 

Hiring a professional cleaner to do a deep clean of your house is a worthy expense here. Once you’ve packed things away, let them do the heavy lifting to prepare your home for sale. This can extend to having the carpets cleaned and the landscaping freshened.

Always come to this with an eye for what you’d like to see when you flip through real estate listings. Your house doesn’t have to look like a design magazine, but it does have to look neat. Again, the goal is to let people see the architecture of the home and to imagine themselves living there.   

A little work goes a long way

Even if your goal is selling your home to a cash buyer, you’ll be able to get a better price for your house when you give it a bit of a facelift before pursuing sale options. 

This can look like painting the front door, making visible home repairs, and decluttering. A good tip here is to get a second set of eyes to look at your house. Invite a trusted friend over to walk through your home with you and ask them what they’d notice if they were a potential buyer. An outside perspective can be really helpful here. 

Don’t put in a ton of work or spend a lot of time doing this though. Unless your agent has told you that something has to be addressed before putting the house on the market, you should leave it alone. No potential buyer is expecting your house to be perfect. All homes in Kalamazoo, Michigan have some problems, especially given the cold winter weather and the intensity of the cold in the winters here. 

Put your focus on the pieces that are most visible. Individual homebuyers are driven by the emotions of imagining their family living there. There’s a reason people say that they “fall in love” with a house. Give them something to fall in love with! Think of it like getting ready for a date and dress up your home appropriately. Even though we buy houses companies, cash buyers, and real estate investors are less emotionally invested in the homebuying process, they still want to see the house in great shape at first glance.

You have options for selling your home in Kalamazoo

Don’t let anyone pressure you into selling your house. You have tons of options. In today’s real estate climate, you can be confident that your home will sell quickly thanks to current trends in the Michigan real estate market. All you’ll need to get started is the property address that you’re interested in selling either in Kalamazoo, MI or the surrounding areas.

Here are three ways to sell your Kalamazoo house:

– FSBO: Sell it yourself

– Sell your home to an investor

– Sell your home through a real estate agent

Sometimes homeowners like to retain the most control over how it all goes. If that’s you then you’ll want to sell your home yourself through the for sale by owner or FSBO process. Do your research and consider the amount of work that you’ll have to do if that’s your choice. Also know that it can be an extremely satisfying way to go.

Hands down, the fastest way to sell your home in Kalamazoo is to do it through a real estate investor like a we buy houses company. The reason is that these companies specialize in quick turnover and are experienced in home sales. You have a distinct place to start and someone to follow you through all the steps to selling your house. 

The traditional route of selling your house in Kalamazoo through a local real estate company is a viable option. There’s a reason people do it this way! Working with an agent will give you the most support through your home sale. A professional agent will be able to give you advice and guidance all along the way. In exchange, they’ll take a hefty commission.

With this process, you’ll go through the entire process with all the paperwork, the open houses, closing costs, and the fees associated with selling a burdensome property. In addition, there may be repairs needed to sell your Kalamazoo house. Potential home buyers will have to go through a lot of paperwork for validation purposes as well. All of that might be well worth it to you, depending on your personality and your situation.

Understand the Western Michigan market

Kalamazoo River in Michigan
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Kalamazoo is a college town, and the students at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College weight the real estate market towards rentals in the areas close to those universities. In addition, recent research points to Kalamazoo as a center for lifestyle renters. Higher-income Millenials are increasingly interested in renting instead of buying in this area. This pushes the average homebuyer in this area towards GenX.

If your home is near the Kalamazoo River or one of the lakes in town, then you’re well-positioned to attract a family or potentially higher-income buyer. Homes in Portage and Oshtemo are also attractive to buyers who are interested in getting a little further afield of the city. 

When you’re putting your home on the market, you’ll want to know as much as you can about what competing home in Kalamazoo county are going for. You’re not just competing with other houses in your immediate area, but with homes across the county. Making sense of the total reality of home sales all over the area of southern Michigan can help you to have the right expectations. 

Every situation is different

Though selling your home is a common experience, keep in mind that every situation is unique. You could be facing foreclosure, and if you are you should know that Kalamazoo cash home buyers have the potential to help you turn over your house fast.

Given its location next to the beautiful Kalamazoo River, the cultural and arts opportunities in the city, and the fact that the Kalamazoo area is a top Michigan city to raise a family in, it’s no wonder that houses in Kalamazoo are selling fast. Other nearby cities like East Grand Rapids, Sturgis, and Coldwater are also growing.

Unwanted property can take many forms, and burdensome houses or don’t require creative real estate solutions. If you need to sell your house fast and get out from under mortgage payments, to take care of back taxes, or untangle from bank financing, all you need to do is connect with a trusted cash buyer to get the fair offer you deserve as well as to get the money fast.

Homeowners in all kinds of situations can work with problem solvers who buy houses and are experienced with selling houses in Kalamazoo. Before you go to a listing agent to sell your house, you should absolutely explore all of your options.

Watch Out for These 5 We Buy Houses Scams!

It can be overwhelming to try to sell your house, especially when there are life pressures that pull and push you in lots of different directions. It’s understandable that those pressures would give you reasons to sell your house fast, and cash buyers offer a way to turn over a piece of real estate quickly and put money in your pocket. 

An important thing to keep in mind is that many of these fraudulent homebuying plots are intertwined. That makes them even harder to spot. For example, mortgage ripoff can come alongside a dishonest house improvement dealing. That can then be hidden within a fake cash investor business.

The complexity of the selling process and the emotional turmoil that homeowners are in can make it difficult to parse the truth of a situation.  Even a market value traditional sale of a home can be confusing. It’s easy to see why getting a fair cash offer warrants research to prevent common scams.

The good news is that there are plenty of reputable “cash for homes” options out there if you want to sell your house. The bad news is that there are also plenty of “we buy houses” scams out there too. To help you avoid losing your money, here are five signs that you’re dealing with a cash offer ripoff scheme.

1 – Honest cash home buyers never ask you for money upfront

Neighborhood of homes for sale at market value
Image by Breno Assis on Unsplash

If the cash home buyer you’re working with asks you for money upfront in any amount, it’s a major red flag for a “we buy houses” scam. A seller should never, ever have to pay any kind of fee before closing. The offer that you get from a cash buyer should be free from both real estate fees and commissions.

Remember, the buyer is coming to you with cash for your house. Just as you wouldn’t expect to pay someone to buy your car, you shouldn’t expect to pay someone to buy your house. 

Another real danger when selling your home for cash is dishonest homebuying fees. These are sometimes called “market risk fees”. They can be folded into the closing costs, greatly reducing the amount that you’ll get for your home.

Outlandish service charges for processing paperwork or mailing documents are sometimes snuck into the contract price. That can eat into your sales price. Though these don’t constitute an outright cash home buyer scam, it’s still a shady way to do business. Hidden fees will mean you get an unnecessarily lower price for your property.

In this same realm of real estate fraud are cash buyers who offer money before closing, then claim that they overpaid. They’ll ask for a refund before the original, bogus check clears, then run off with the cash. All of the money exchanged in a real estate transaction should trade hands during closing, never before. 

2 – We buy houses scams often come through phishing

Phishing through a laptop for a we buy houses scam
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

A fake home buyer might show up in your email inbox via a type of scam called phishing. Phishing is the use of email marketing to attempt to get personal information from a person and then to defraud them. What they’re looking for are things like bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information that would allow the people behind “we buy houses” scams to steal money from you. 

The identity thief might find your contact information on a foreclosure notice or through other public real estate records. The problem here is that reputable cash buyers can also get your email from those same kinds of sources. Both will reach out to you if you fit their profile.

If you want to sell your house fast, it can be hard to tell the difference initially between good and bad real estate investors.

Ask cash buyers lots of questions

To avoid getting scammed by a fraudulent cash buyer, ask lots of questions. Only give the buyer information that’s directly related to the home. A reputable cash offer company will never ask for bank account information. Again, a business should never ask for any money upfront. In fact, the cash buyer should offer to provide a proof of funds that shows their ability to complete the sale of the house.

Fast cash investor companies don’t need to put their phone number on telephone poles to find someone who wants to sell as is. They don’t need to resort to phishing to find potential sellers in the open market either. A business will have an actual address. They’ll also have a depth of experience in the market dealing with people who want to sell your house.

Most homebuying con artists don’t like to engage in identifiable forms of contact. You can protect yourself by asking for a phone conversation or a video call with a real person. Any honest real estate investor will be happy to talk to you on the phone. They’ll be ready to engage in multiple ways of communication. Ensuring that any potential buyer has things like a physical address, business cards, and positive ratings will give you peace of mind because you’ve done your due diligence. Never, ever give information to prospective buyers through email without vetting them first.    

3 – Fake foreclosure relief from ripoff real estate investors

This scam is particularly sinister because it preys on people who are in the vulnerable position of facing foreclosure. It’s unknown, scary territory for most homeowners that generally comes alongside other life events that are already destabilizing. 

In these kinds of “we buy houses” scams, a company, usually parading as a law firm or a real estate agent, approaches a homeowner who is in danger of foreclosure and offers to take over part of the house payment in exchange for equity in the home or a future cash home buy. They ask the homeowner to send them a partial house payment, then they say they’ll send that plus the portion they’ve agreed to pay on to the mortgage company. The trick is that they never send anything to the mortgage company – they take the homeowner’s money and run. 

There are federal laws that prevent lawyers from taking payments from homeowners without modifying the loan with the lender, except in very, very exceptional circumstances. In order to make any kind of modification to a home loan, it must be agreed upon with the lender.

Though it can be tempting for homeowners in a foreclosure situation to take any kind of help that comes their way, it’s never worth the risk of getting scammed. Only ever make payments to your lender and never work with a third party who is unwilling to communicate jointly with both the person on the note and the company who holds the loan on the house. 

4 – Equity skimming that puts you in a worse situation

Foreclosed home sold as is
Image by Birgit Loit via Unsplash

Equity skimming or equity stripping is a nefarious practice. It targets homeowners who have either defaulted or who are in danger of foreclosure. The cash offer scammer swoops in and offers the homeowner a deal with a new loan. Then they pay off their existing house loan and acting as a foreclosure rescue. Or so it seems. 

In exchange for paying off the property loan, the perpetrator of this we buy houses scam asks the homeowner to sign off the deed to the property as collateral on the loan. That sounds reasonable, but it’s a red flag in this situation.

Often, these buyers will refinance the home and pull all of the equity out of the house. They might keep the homeowner as a tenant, only now demanding a high rent that pushes the person out. They might also just skip out of town and leave the homeowner right back in foreclosure. 

Oftentimes with this real estate investor sale, the homeowner doesn’t understand that they’re selling their house. The intentionally complex nature of the ruse makes it difficult to parse out what’s happening for someone who isn’t knowledgeable about real estate dealings.

The parameters of a foreclosure can allow a real estate investor to buy a property for a reduced price. That doesn’t necessarily mean it covers the cost that the original homeowner is facing. Equity skimming takes advantage of this feature of the foreclosure process to leave vulnerable homeowners in a terrible situation where they owe even more than they started with. 

5 – Cash buyers who put pressure on you aren’t reputable

Ugly house for sale as is

Image by Phil Hearing via Unsplash

A hard sell is never a good sell. If anyone tries to put any kind of pressure on the deal, it’s a no-go. Experienced real estate agents know this, and so do experienced cash offer real estate investors.

Consult with a real estate attorney and do your research before you sign anything. Always take your time when making the decision about selling your home as-is. A few days and some investigation to ensure you’re getting a good deal is always worth it. 

A cash buyer company that is above board can show you proof of funds documentation before you close the deal. This can come from an attorney or a bank. It’s as close to a guarantee that you’re dealing with a high-quality investor as you’ll get. How much money a company has to buy your house is part of the calculation, and investors know this.

Consult with homebuying experts

Any investor will run a title check on the property to be sure that the title is clear. When skipping the involvement of a real estate agent for the connection or lender for the sale price, many of the processes that slow things down are cut out.  Though quick turnaround cash buyers will often offer to skip things like a home inspection or an appraisal that will speed up the process, that speed should never come at the expense of your ease as a seller. 

Before agreeing to sell your home, again it’s important to take the time to consult with an expert like a real estate attorney or your mortgage holder. An honest cash buyer will never have a problem with you checking with real estate professionals before you enter into a contract. They’ll be happy to have someone look at the contract they’re offering because they know that it’s a win-win deal.

Most “we buy houses” companies are invested in doing the right thing. They might be in the business of buying and selling property, but they’re also in it to do the right thing. Integrity in real estate means allowing homeowners to be comfortable with the process. 

Remember – lots of people out there pay cash for ugly houses. No one investor is the only way sell your house as is.

Don’t ignore these red flags when selling your house

Justice in a criminal real estate investor scam
Image credit: Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash

Doing your due diligence can be as simple as a quick review of potential scams or a google search to get more information about the investor you’re thinking about selling your house to. It’s a small price to pay for selling your house to a person you can trust.

Look for what people with similar houses have experienced before you negotiate with someone to buy your house. A good rule of thumb is to talk to other home sellers, look for a well-reviewed company online. You can also seek out investors who have a personal connection to you when you’re trying to sell quickly for cash.

The worst part of all of this is that there is usually very little recourse for a seller who has been hit hard by one of these “we buy houses” scams. Law enforcement can and certainly does prosecute fraudulent companies. However, it’s rare for victims to get any of their hard-earned money back. That’s even true when the cash buyer con artist is caught. 

Take solace in knowing that reputable cash buyers are out there and ready to buy your home! Not everyone is out to make dishonest money on the quick sale of property. Look for businesses that have a public presence, are quick to communicate, and have a long track record of working with sellers for a quick turnaround that’s a good deal for everyone.