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The traditional home sale process, in which you prep your home for the market, work with a Realtor to get it priced and listed, host multiple showings and eventually negotiate with a buyer, can be time-consuming. There are many reasons why a seller might want to move a little faster than that — if you’re experiencing financial hardship and need the cash fast, for example, or if you need to relocate for work in a hurry.
If you need to sell your home in a time crunch, you might consider selling to a company in Austin that advertises “we buy houses.” These companies will typically offer all-cash and close the deal quickly — within weeks or even days — and they usually won’t require you to do any prep work or repairs, either. The efficiency and convenience of selling to one of these outfits is certainly attractive, but there’s a downside: They typically pay much less than you might make on the open market. Read on to learn all the pros and cons of selling your Austin home to a cash-homebuying company.
Types of companies that buy houses for cash in Austin
If you want to sell your Austin home to a “we buy houses” company in Austin, you’re in luck: The Austin housing market is very popular, and you’ll have a wide range of local and national options to choose from. Here are some of the homebuying outfits that operate in your area:
- We Buy Houses: One of the most well-known options, perhaps because of its very direct brand name, is We Buy Houses. This firm, which is actually based in Texas but operates all across the country, buys homes in as-is condition, provides an offer within 24 to 48 hours and can close in 7 to 14 days.
- HomeVestors: Otherwise known as We Buy Ugly Houses, HomeVestors is another option that operates in much the same way, buying homes regardless of their condition with quick offers and closings.
- Lisa Buys Austin Houses: This outfit, run by a local married couple, buys homes as-is, lets you choose your closing time and takes care of all closing costs.
- I Buy Austin Houses: A family-owned company founded in 2006, this firm says it will buy houses in any condition across the Austin metro area, including those in foreclosure or severe disrepair.
- Austin All Cash Home Buyers: Another local, family-run option, operating in the area since 2014. They also let sellers close on their own timeline and buy fast, for cash, promising to close in as little as 7 days.
- These online-only businesses also make fast cash offers and can close the deal quickly. However, they may charge steep service fees and typically don’t buy distressed homes. The two best-known iBuyers, Opendoor and Offerpad, both operate in the Austin market.
How do ‘we buy houses’ companies work?
“We buy houses” companies are known for their flexibility — most will buy homes in any condition, no matter how much work they need. This can be a godsend for owners of homes with serious maintenance issues that they cannot afford to repair or simply don’t wish to deal with. Some companies will even buy homes with legal entanglements such as liens, foreclosure or probate issues, or rental properties that still have renters in residence.
Why are they willing to take on these projects? Because most of them are house-flippers, looking to buy a bargain, fix it up and resell it at a profit. In exchange for the ease and convenience of your transaction, the price they offer you is likely to be low. In some cases, this may be a fair trade — certainly some homeowners are happy to just be done with the process quickly and easily. But in most cases the seller could have made more of a profit by selling the traditional way, with a real estate agent.
If you choose to sell to a cash-homebuying company, the process is very simple: You simply reach out to them, whether by phone or online, and they will give you an offer quickly, usually within 48 hours (or sooner). Some companies base their offer on publicly available data, and some will send a representative to your home to assess its condition first. You are not obligated to accept the offer, but if you do, you’ll then arrange the payment and closing time. These transactions can move with head-spinning speed, so be sure to read all the paperwork and contracts carefully before you sign anything. It’s not a bad idea to have a real estate attorney look over your contract first.
If you’re not sure that a “we buy houses” company is right for you, there are a number of other selling options available:
- Work with a real estate agent: Enlisting the help of a professional real estate agent is the most common route for selling a home. The right agent will know the ins and outs of your specific Austin neighborhood and can help you sell your home at a competitive price. As of September 2023, homes in Austin were selling for a median price of $548,000 and spending a median of 60 days on the market before going into contract, according to Redfin data.
- Sell by owner: If you don’t want to work with an agent, you can choose to sell it yourself, known as “for sale by owner” or FSBO. In this scenario, you won’t have to pay a listing agent’s commission, but you’ll still have to pay your buyer’s agent. And you’ll be responsible for preparing and marketing the home all on your own, which is a lot of work.
- Rent it out: If you don’t need the proceeds from a sale right away, consider becoming a landlord. It’s a lot of responsibility, but rental income can be lucrative — especially in a popular market like Austin.
A “we buy houses” company can get your house off your hands quickly and with minimal hassle. But you’ll likely profit less from the sale than you would if you went the traditional route. Shop around and compare offers from multiple companies to boost your odds of getting a better price. But if you have more flexibility on time, you’ll probably see a bigger profit selling your home with a local real estate agent.
Yes, most cash-homebuying companies are legit businesses that buy and resell homes. However, you should definitely do your research on a company’s reputation before you work with them, checking local reviews and the Better Business Bureau, and make sure you understand all the details of the contract before signing it.
“We buy houses” companies, in Austin or anywhere, typically pay homeowners less than they would get in a traditional market sale. These outfits need to buy low and sell high in order to turn a profit. How much they will offer for your home depends on a number of factors, including its location and condition — but if you’re looking to earn the best price possible, a local Realtor is probably a better option.
Most “we buy houses” companies don’t charge any fees or commissions for your sale. By comparison, traditional home sales come with closing costs and agent commissions, which typically run between 5 and 6 percent of the home price and are covered by the seller. However, you’ll still likely pocket more money if you choose a traditional home sale, since “we buy houses” companies typically pay below market rate for homes.