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There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to selling a house in Los Angeles. While most homeowners hire a real estate agent, others opt to sell their houses themselves. Another option? Working with a “we buy houses” company.
These businesses speed up the home sale process by making quick, all-cash offers for houses, which is great if you need to sell your house fast to relocate or need the money in a hurry. And they typically buy in as-is condition, which is great if your property is in rough shape — you don’t need to make any repairs or do anything else to get it market-ready.
Of course, there is a downside, too: Because they work so quickly and remove much of the hassle of selling your house, cash homebuyers usually offer less money than you might be able to get otherwise. If you’re considering the option, here’s what you should know about companies that buy houses in Los Angeles.
Types of companies that buy houses for cash in Los Angeles
In California’s largest city, there are plenty of businesses that buy homes for cash. Whether you want to sell your house to a large national chain or a family-run team, you can find what you’re looking for in L.A.
If you’d prefer to work with a well-known national entity, the appropriately named We Buy Houses firm has branches in Los Angeles. HomeVestors, also known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses” company, is also well-established in the L.A. market. Both follow a similar process: After you reach out to the company, they’ll send someone to assess your home’s condition. You’ll receive an all-cash offer, generally within a day or two. If you accept, you can typically close in as little as one to three weeks.
L.A. home sellers also have an online-only iBuyer option: Opendoor, one of the biggest iBuyers in the country. It has more restrictions on the types of homes it will make offers on, though — for example, it will not buy homes in serious disrepair.
Local and regional options
There are also a wealth of local companies that buy houses in Los Angeles, including:
- SoCal Home Buyers: Led by a husband-and-wife team — one a certified home appraiser, the other a licensed Realtor — this company purchases houses in any condition for cash across Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
- We Buy Los Angeles: This company, based in Beverly Hills, promises cash offers in just seven minutes.
- Tarek Buys Houses: This is L.A. after all, so of course you can sell your house to a bonafide TV star. Founded by HGTV personality Tarek El Moussa, known for “Flip or Flop” and several other shows on the network, this company extends all-cash offers within 24 hours and says it can close in as little as seven days.
How do ‘we buy houses’ companies work?
No matter what type of cash homebuying company you work with, the process is fairly similar. However, each business has slightly different guidelines and timelines, so make sure to confirm the specifics before you agree to sell.
In general, “we buy houses” companies buy most kinds of residential properties, including single-family homes and condos. They often specialize in houses in poor condition or difficult circumstances, so they can flip them and make a bigger profit. A company that buys in as-is condition will not require you to make any repairs or even clean up. And most do not charge fees (although iBuyers might) and cover most or all closing costs.
The process of selling to these companies kicks off by sharing some details about your home, either over the phone or online. Sometimes, a representative will visit your home in person to assess its condition. You’ll receive a cash offer quickly — sometimes on-the-spot but more typically within 24 hours or so.
You can spend some time considering the offer, but be aware that it probably has an expiration date. There’s no obligation to accept, and in fact, you could request offers from multiple companies to compare your options. If you decide to move forward, you can usually choose your own closing date, which can often take place in as little as seven days, or sometimes even faster.
The speed of cash homebuyers is one of their primary advantages, but it can also be a bit dizzying. Make sure you read all paperwork carefully, especially contracts, and that you understand all the details before you sign anything.
Working with a cash homebuyer can be tempting in terms of speed and convenience, but this type of sale is typically less profitable than others. Here are some alternatives to consider:
- Use an agent: It will take longer — according to Redfin, Los Angeles homes spend a median of 42 days on the market before selling — but hiring a local real estate agent can pay off financially. The median home sale price in L.A. was $998,000 in October, up almost 8 percent since October of last year, and homes on the market get three offers, on average. An agent’s expertise can help you take advantage of the hot market to maximize your profit.
- Sell it yourself: The major benefit of a “for sale by owner” (FSBO) listing, beyond being in full control of your transaction, is that you don’t have to pay a listing agent’s commission. If you assume a typical 3 percent commission on a median-priced L.A. home, that’s a savings of nearly $30,000. Keep in mind, though, that this route requires quite a lot of work.
- Rent it out: Finding tenants to rent your house is another option to consider — assuming you don’t need the money from a home sale right now. Renting out your property can be lucrative, especially in a hot market like L.A., but being a landlord isn’t easy.
In some cases, selling to a “we buy houses” company can be a good choice: For example, if you need cash quickly, inherited a home you don’t want, or are unable to fix up a home in poor condition to get it ready to show. Get offers from multiple companies to see who can offer you the best price.
However, if your main goal is to earn top-dollar on your home, go with a traditional agent-assisted sale. Like the city itself, the Los Angeles housing market is vast and diverse — an experienced local agent will have insight into your specific area, which they can use to determine the right asking price, attract more buyers and negotiate the best deal for you.
For the most part, yes. Companies that advertise “we buy houses” in Los Angeles make money by purchasing properties, fixing them up and reselling them for a profit. Still, before you decide to work with a particular company, it’s important to do your research. Take the time to look up online reviews, check its Better Business Bureau rating and read the full contract very carefully before signing.
It depends on several factors, including your home’s location, size and condition. However, you can expect to receive a fair amount less than what you’d be able to get on the open market. These are for-profit businesses, and they need to make money on your home, so they won’t offer full market value. They will get the deal done far faster than an open-market sale, though.