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One of the most tried-and-true ways to sell a home is working with a Realtor and listing the property on the local multiple listing service (MLS). But that’s not the only approach available to homeowners. If you’re seeking a quicker sale process, there are plenty of homebuying companies happy to help you achieve that goal.
These companies, which often proclaim “We buy houses!” in ads, specialize in fast-tracking home sales. They typically make all-cash offers almost immediately after viewing your property and buy homes as-is, eliminating the need to make repairs or host showings. They also often handle all of the paperwork and can close in a matter of weeks, making them a good option for sellers who want the process to be over quickly and painlessly, or for those who need cash fast. But know this: In exchange for that speed and convenience, you sacrifice some potential profit. These companies need to make a profit on flipping your home, so you’re not likely to earn top dollar when selling this way. Read on to learn all about house-buying companies in San Diego and how they operate.
Types of companies that buy houses for cash in San Diego
There are several “we buy houses” companies doing business in San Diego. Some are well-known national brands, but there are also regional and local options.
Among the big names is the company that actually goes by the brand name We Buy Houses. Another nationwide cash buyer operating in San Diego is HomeVestors, which also goes by the name “We Buy Ugly Houses.” Both companies buy properties in a matter of days, no matter the condition, and both also promise the sale can be finalized within weeks.
Opendoor is another name-brand option that buys homes in San Diego. One of the biggest of the iBuyers, this online-only company will also make a fast offer, pay cash for your home and expedite the closing process. However, it likely will not buy homes in poor condition, and steep fees may apply.
There are also plenty of locally owned or regional operations. These include:
- San Diego Fast Cash Offers: This family-owned and -operated outfit only works with locals. The company buys homes in any condition and can buy in as little as 48 hours, with no fees or commissions.
- Gordon Buys Homes: Started in 2012 by a local surfer, Gordon Buys Homes also makes cash offers, does not require any repairs be made and has no fees associated with the transaction.
We Buy San Diego Houses: This company, run by a father and his sons, says it will make an offer on the spot when visiting your home and can close the deal immediately, or give you as much time as you need.
How do ‘we buy houses’ companies work?
Most cash-homebuying companies buy the homes as-is, meaning the seller does not need to bother making any repairs, sprucing it up, or even cleaning. This can be helpful for properties in very poor condition, but keep in mind that the more work that needs to be done, the less money you’ll likely be offered.
No matter which company you opt to work with, you can expect a fairly similar process. First, you reach out via phone, email or a submission on the company’s website. Some companies will arrange to come visit your home in-person so that they can get a firsthand look and determine its value, while others will ask you to provide photos and other information electronically. Depending on the company, you may receive an offer on the spot (particularly if a representative is making an in-person visit) or you may receive one in 24 to 48 hours. Getting an offer does not mean you are obligated to accept it, but these companies are typically not open to negotiation on price.
If you accept the offer, next up is the closing process. Since no lender or third-party financing is involved, cash homebuyers can close much more quickly than traditional sales can — often in just a couple weeks, or even less. Many are willing to close on a date of your choosing, and many also cover all the closing costs and take care of all the paperwork involved in the process.
While the ease of working with a ‘we buy houses’ company is very appealing, it will not be the most financially lucrative approach to selling your home in San Diego. This is an important consideration because for many people, a home is their most valuable asset — and it’s particularly important in a pricey real estate market like San Diego. The median sale price for a home here was a very high $930,000 in August 2023, according to data from Redfin. That’s more than double the national median price. So, before proceeding with a ‘we buy houses’ company here, it’s a good idea to review some of the other options, which could allow you to walk away with more cash in your pocket.
- Sell with a Realtor: While a traditional sale with a real estate agent may take a little longer, homes actually sell relatively fast in the San Diego market. The median number of days on market is 13, per Redfin, meaning a home that hits the market typically goes into contract in less than two weeks (though the closing process will add more time to that). And selling on the open market with an agent will almost certainly net you more money than selling to a cash homebuyer.
- For sale by owner: For those who have the time and fortitude, there’s always the option of selling the home on your own, also known as for sale by owner or FSBO. The potential upside of this approach is eliminating the listing agent’s commission cost. The downside? You’ll do all the work on your own. That means hosting the showings, negotiating a contract and navigating closing. It’s not for everyone, particularly if you have never sold a home on your own before.
Rent it out instead: If you don’t need the money from your home sale immediately, becoming a landlord may be an avenue worth considering. This can be a lucrative choice, with a steady stream of monthly rental income. However, it’s also a lot of responsibility.
There are clearly pros and cons to working with ‘we buy houses’ companies in San Diego. If you need to sell your home rapidly or need cash quickly, then it certainly makes sense to find out what a cash homebuyer is willing to offer you. If the offer is too low, remember that you’re not obligated to proceed — instead, you can opt to take the traditional route and sell your home with the assistance of an experienced local real estate agent. If you’re not in a huge rush, working with an agent is your best path toward securing the most lucrative deal possible for your home.
For the most part, yes, these businesses are legitimate. But in every industry there are some less than reputable players, so take the time to do your due diligence and research a company before working with them. A good first step is to check with your local Better Business Bureau (remember that the national players have local franchisees, so check for your local outfit, not the company as a whole). And always read a contract very carefully before signing it.
No matter where a ‘we buy houses’ company operates, they will likely offer less than full market value for your home. Much depends on the condition of the home, but in general, you can expect to be offered about 70 percent of what you might receive on the open market.