If you aren’t careful, a cash for houses scam can leave you without a home and without any money in your bank account.
There are several different types of house scams that can catch you if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why we’ve put together this guide that’ll help you spot and avoid cash for house scammers.
Make sure you keep reading below.
Are You a Prime House Scam Target?
Knowing if you’re a prime target for cash for house scams will help you recognize a scam if you come across one. Once you know what scammers are looking for, you’ll be able to avoid them.
Before you put your house on the market, take some time to figure out if you’ll be a target for these scammers.
Here are the two main things that will attract scammers to your house.
Your Home Needs Repairs
Most buyers will avoid houses that need a lot of major repairs. This might include things like rotten wood, water damage, cracked foundations, etc. This makes these types of houses hard to sell.
One of the only ways to sell a house with such significant damage is to seek out an investor. They’ll have enough money to spend on repairs.
If someone who isn’t an investor is eager to buy your house regardless of these problems, be cautious.
You Have to Sell Quickly
Scammers like to focus on homeowners that need to sell their houses quickly. Because they don’t have a lot of time to wait for offers, these homeowners are easier targets.
People facing a foreclosure, bankruptcy, or sudden move don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to selling their home.
If this is you, make sure you analyze every interested buyer to make sure they aren’t part of a scam.
How to Spot a Cash for Houses Scam
Major repairs and a fast-selling time are two of the main things scammers look for in a house. But that doesn’t mean everyone who’s interested in your home is a scammer.
People can have many other reasons to buy a house that needs repairs or that has to sell quickly.
Here’s a quick list of behaviors to look out for when selling your home. These should serve as warning signs to potential scams.
They Want You to Transfer the Deed to Their Name
This type of scam is known as equity skimming. Here’s what it looks like.
A scammer will convince you to transfer the deed of your home to their name. However, the scammer will let you keep living inside the home. All you have to do is pay monthly payments, like any other rental home.
If you move out, they might rent to another family.
On top of making money on the monthly payments, the scammer can also use the home’s equity to get a loan. After this, they can sell the house to another party.
The problem is, once they make all the money they can from the property, the scammer can just stop paying the mortgage payments. Because the scammer never assumed the loan, you’re still responsible for these payments.
That leaves you without a home even though you’re still making mortgage payments.
They Keep Coming up with Changes to the Agreement
This scammer will seem normal and professional at first. They’ll take an interest in your situation, spend some time getting to know you, and gain your trust.
Once they make an offer on your house, they’ll provide a written agreement. You read through it and sign on the dotted line.
After this, the scammer will keep coming by with updated agreements. They’ll explain that the changes are minor, and each time they show up, you’ll read the document less carefully.
By the last time you sign, the agreement doesn’t look anything like what it did at first. This can cause some serious problems for you.
The Buyer Doesn’t Live in the Country
This scammer will tell you they’ve seen your house online and will pay the entire cost with cash.
But, because this foreign buy doesn’t live in the country, they will ask you to send them some money to help them work around a “small glitch.” They might also try to get your bank account information so they can steal all your money.
These scams are particularly dangerous because it’s hard to get your money back from someone who doesn’t live in the same country.
They Don’t Want to See the House
Only a scammer is willing to buy your house without seeing it first. Even investors who buy rundown homes will send someone to the house to take a look at it first.
A “sight unseen” buyer doesn’t have any real interest in buying your house. Instead, they just want to scam as much money from you as they can.
How to Protect Yourself from House Scams
Knowing what to look for can help you avoid scammers. But it’s a good idea to take some measure to protect yourself and your home from potential scams no matter what kind of buyer you’re working with.
Here’s a quick list of things you should do every time you get an offer on your house.
- Read contracts slowly and carefully and make sure you understand what they say
- Ask the buyer a lot of questions
- If they own a company, make sure their website looks professional
- Find out if they’re registered with the BettBusinessnss Bureau
- Search their name on google to find out if they’ve been involved in any scams before
A buyer’s website should include their name. It’s a bad sign if it doesn’t. Why wouldn’t the owner put their name on their website?
You also want to make sure the buyer is registered with the BBB. Make sure they don’t have any serious complaints.
Don’t Sell If You Get a Bad Feeling
If you ever have a bad feeling about a buyer, don’t move forward with the process. They might be trying to pull a cash for houses scam. It’s better to back out of the deal and take some extra time selling your house than to lose your property and get scammed out of your money.
Looking for a professional and reputable company to buy your house fast for cash?
We explain our buying process in detail so you know for certain you aren’t getting scammed.
If you need to sell your house fast, you can contact us and request a cash offer.