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The most common way to sell a home is to list it with a real estate agent — then host showings, review offers and engage in a lengthy closing process. But that approach may not work for everyone, especially if you’re in a rush to relocate or need to sell quickly.
In such cases, it may be worth considering a company that advertises “We buy houses!” These types of businesses operate around the country, including in Texas. They make all-cash offers on homes and are usually able to finalize the entire transaction quickly, sometimes in just a week’s time. Many will also handle all of the closing paperwork too.
If you need cash fast or are crunched for time when it comes to unloading your home, this can be an appealing proposition. But the “we buy houses” approach to selling your home isn’t right for everyone, and you’ll pocket less money for your home than you would selling it the traditional way.
Types of companies that buy houses for cash in Texas
Companies that buy homes for cash are proliferating around the country. There are national chains with presences throughout Texas, as well as regional and local cash-homebuying companies.
One of the best known national chains, which literally goes by the brand name We Buy Houses, has locations in 31 states and Washington, D.C. We Buy Houses serves dozens of cities in Texas, including Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Waco and San Antonio. The company makes all-cash offers in as little as 24 to 48 hours and does not charge any fees.
Several other national chains also operate in the Lone Star State, including HomeVestors — better known as the “we buy ugly houses” company — which operates in 26 Texas markets. Express Homebuyers purchases homes in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Houston and San Antonio. And Sundae operates in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston markets.
There’s also a variety of local and regional cash home buying companies serving specific parts of the Texas real estate market. Like their national counterparts, these companies are focused on making cash offers, particularly for homes that are distressed. They promise to close the deal quickly and typically do not require that any repairs be made to your home. Local cash homebuyers in Texas include:
- Texas All Cash Home Buyers: A family-owned business that promises to make a fair offer on your home, no matter what condition it’s in, with no hidden fees. The company operates in San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas.
- Big Texas Home Buyers: Founded in 2014, this company buys homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It also offers as-is home purchases with no fees and no closing costs.
- House Buyers Texas: Serving Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, this company promises to make a cash offer on your home within 24 hours and does not charge any closing costs.
Not to be confused with “we buy houses” companies, iBuyers also pay cash for homes and promise to close the deal quickly. However, that’s where the similarities between the two types of companies end. iBuyers are mostly online-only operations. In addition, most iBuyers do charge fees (sometimes steep ones) and typically do not buy distressed homes in need of major repairs.
Both of the country’s two biggest iBuyers, Opendoor and Offerpad, operate in Texas. Opendoor serves Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Killeen and San Antonio, while Offerpad buys Texas homes in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
How do “we buy houses” companies work?
Most “we buy houses” companies typically follow a similar business model. They focus on buying homes that are often distressed or in bad shape, purchasing them as-is as completing the transaction as quickly as possible. That’s good news for sellers, because it means you don’t have to spend a dime on repairs, and you get your money faster than you would with a traditional sale.
However, there’s a trade-off for this quick and easy process. “We buy houses” companies need to turn a profit, and they make money by repairing your home and flipping it. For this reason, cash-homebuying companies will usually offer you well below market value for your home, meaning you’ll pocket far less than you might selling with a Realtor.
The process of selling a home to a cash homebuyer generally involves the following steps:
- Contact the company via phone or complete a form on their website
- A representative gets in touch to ask about your home and your selling goals over the phone
- An in-home visit is scheduled to assess your property in person
- After the walk-through, you’ll receive a cash offer. Depending on the company, this may take place on the spot or you may receive the offer in 24 to 48 hours.
- You can accept or reject the offer. You’re under no obligation to proceed, but these companies typically do not entertain price neogtiations.
- If you decide to proceed, it’s time to sign a contract and move on to closing. But read the sales contract very carefully, ensuring you understand exactly what you’re signing on for.
Selling to a “we buy houses” company is fast and easy, but it is not likely to be the most profitable way to sell your home. If you have a more flexible timeline or are in a position to consider other alternatives, you may benefit financially. Other options include:
- Working with a real estate agent: Selling with a Realtor will almost certainly involve a longer timeline, and you may have to spruce up your curb appeal or even make some repairs. But you’re likely to make more money in the long run, as a listing agent’s job is to help you secure the most competitive price possible. The median sale price for a home in Texas is $336,000, according to Redfin data. When selling to a “we buy houses” company, you’re likely to get only around 70 percent of what you’d get in a traditional sale.
- Selling on your own: Selling your home on your own — known as for sale by owner or FSBO — is another option, but it’s not for the faint of heart. While you won’t have to pay a real estate agent’s fee, you will have to do all the work yourself, including negotiating offers and navigating the closing process. If you don’t have the time or experience, it can be daunting.
- Renting out your home: If you’re interested in generating an ongoing stream of income and don’t need the lump sum of cash from a sale, then renting your property may be worthwhile. Of course, being a landlord is a lot of work as well.
Before selling your home to a “we buy houses” company, consider all of the pros and cons, as well as your short- and long-term goals and needs. If time is of the essence or you have a pressing need for cash quickly, then a cash homebuyer may make sense. This approach can also be a good choice if you simply don’t have the money or wherewithal to engage in needed repairs on your home in order to prepare it for being listed. However, if you have the time, selling a home the traditional way will almost certainly put more money in your pocket.
If you decide to proceed with a “we buy houses” company, be sure to shop around before settling on one company. There are many operations doing business in Texas. Read past customer reviews for the company you’re considering, and check their status with the Better Business Bureau as well.
While there is skepticism surrounding “we buy houses” companies, most are legitimate, particularly the bigger players. Some have Better Business Bureau accreditation as well as verified five-star reviews from users on Google. But there are bad apples in every bunch, so it’s important to do your due diligence, and vet the company carefully.
Most “we buy houses” companies, in Texas or anywhere, offer less than what you would earn selling your home on the open market with a real estate agent. You can expect to get about 70 to 80 percent of your home’s fair market value.
Legitimate “we buy houses” companies typically do not charge you anything. Most even cover all closing costs. If you work with an iBuyer, though, you may be charged a service fee — some of these fees can be equivalent to what you’d pay in Realtor fees in a traditional sale. Realtor fees typically run between 5 and 6 percent of the home’s sale price.