If you are a homeowner, you might have received an "I want to buy your house" letter. You head to the mailbox and pull out a letter from someone who claims to be looking for properties in your area. Someone might even show up at your door. Your first thought is likely to be that it’s nothing but a con or fraud of some kind. In some cases, your intuition might be correct. However, that’s not always the case, not by a long shot. In most cases, these letters are very genuine, and they could be a great opportunity for you. Many investors, including myself, use these letters as a creative marketing tool in addition to their online marketing. Real estate agents even send out variations of this letter; although their angle is “I want to list your house”.
Hold Your Horses
Even though many of the companies mailing these letters are legitimate, that’s no reason to sign paperwork right there on the spot. As with any other business you’re considering using, you need to do your research first. You wouldn’t buy a car or a TV without doing the proper research first; and you certainly shouldn’t sell your home without putting in the same, or even more, effort!
Make sure you research the company thoroughly. Look at the length of time the company has been in business, and make sure they have strong online reviews. Also, ask the investor if they can supply a few references of past sellers (and make sure you call them!). A quick phone call with a previous seller can give you better insight on what to expect.
Use a Reputable Escrow Company
Working with a good and reputable escrow company is important. If there is anything fishy about the investor, an escrow company should catch it before you run into any real problems. Although this is more homework to do, it’s a very important step. When selling on the MLS, you would need to do this research anyways.
Consider Hiring a Third-Party Intermediary
While only about 1% of the homeowners I purchase from request this, I am always glad to do it. Selling is an emotional time and sellers should be comfortable throughout the transaction. If hiring a third party, such as a realtor or attorney, helps ease your worries, then by all means use one.
If you really don’t trust the person who wants to buy your home, and this goes for hiring real estate agents too, then don’t sell to them. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes, you have to trust your gut. If you decide that investor isn’t the one for you, but you still want to sell, you can look for an investor on your own. By this point, you’ve already done most of the homework anyways.
Bottom line, don’t be scared, just be smart, of the “I want to buy your house” letter. It could be a win-win situation.