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If you’re wondering about selling your house in today’s uncertain market, you’re certainly not alone. But you don’t necessarily have to go through the trouble of finding a buyer on the open market. Instead, you can consider selling directly to a company that will pay in full, upfront — an all-cash deal. Here’s everything to know about companies that buy houses for cash.
Pros of using homebuying companies
There are different nuances to the way cash homebuyers operate, but they all generally have the same simple promise: There’s no need to wait for a buyer to secure financing, or wonder whether it will approved. The business model comes with plenty of upsides for sellers:
- No waiting: Selling a home this way is fast — in fact, with some companies that buy houses for cash, you can simply enter your address online and receive an instant offer within a few minutes. If you’re on a tight timeline, need to relocate as soon as possible or need the cash quickly, that kind of speed can be a big benefit. It basically eliminates the work of preparing to list, hosting open houses and waiting for offers to roll in.
- No delicate negotiations on price or timeline: “You also know how much you’re going to sell for, and when you’ll sell,” says Jennifer Dohm, former vice president of brand communications at Offerpad, which buys houses for cash and allows sellers up to 90 days to close. “This empowers people who are looking to buy another home with the knowledge of what they’re working with for their next offer, or to make life decisions with a solid timeline of their choosing.”
- No real estate commissions: With traditional real estate transactions, sellers foot the bill for their agent and the buyer’s agent, which typically takes 5 to 6 percent away from the final sale price. Most cash offers have no agent commissions involved. There can be other fees that add up to just as much, however, so it’s important to read the fine print.
- No need to pay for work before listing: Many sellers invest extra money in their home before listing it for sale, in the hope of attracting a higher price. That might include small repairs, bigger upgrades or home staging to make the property look picture-perfect. When you sell your home to a company that pays in cash, there’s no need for that.
- No worrying that the deal might fall through: If you’re selling to an individual, there are plenty of scenarios in which the sale might not actually happen. Perhaps they decide to back out after a home inspection uncovers an issue, or maybe a lender doesn’t approve their loan. If you receive an offer from a company that’s paying in cash, you can feel fairly confident that the deal will get done.
What types of companies buy houses for cash?
There are a few different kinds of companies that typically make cash offers on homes:
|Company type||What they offer|
|Fix-and-flip||House-flipping companies want to buy properties in poor shape, fix them up and sell them for a profit. Often, these companies advertise that they buy houses “as-is.” If your property is in serious disrepair, this might be an attractive option.|
|Buy-and-hold||On the other hand, buy-and-hold companies are focused on making the house into a rental property. Rather than turning an immediate one-time profit by selling, the house becomes a steady stream of rental income.|
|Trade-in||These companies are designed to help you buy your new home before you actually sell the one you’re living in.|
|iBuyers||The “i” in iBuyer stands for instant. You enter your address online, and the company’s algorithm will generate an offer for your home, generally within 24 hours — or even sooner.|
Companies that buy houses for cash
Traditional cash buying companies
Also known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses” company, HomeVestors was founded in 1996 and operates more than 1,100 franchises around the country. As the tagline implies, this company is happy to buy your house even if it doesn’t look list-ready. The “ugly” isn’t just about physical appearance, either: It buys properties with high-interest financing that isn’t working for homeowners; houses with bad memories due to divorce or death; and a range of characteristics that might make living there less than desirable for the current owner.
- Fees: No closing costs required for sellers (they’re paid by HomeVestors)
- Locations served: 47 states, including New York and New Jersey
We Buy Houses
Founded in the late 1990s, this company is literally called We Buy Houses and has more than 200 independent real estate investing offices across the country. Rather than operating purely online, after you enter your address, a local representative comes to your home in person to assess its value and make a cash offer. Like other companies that pay cash for houses, it purchases homes as-is, so you won’t need to clean or make any repairs. In most cases, it says, you’ll receive an offer within 48 hours, with the sale finalized within one to two weeks.
- Fees: No closing costs required for sellers (they’re paid by We Buy Houses)
- Locations served: More than 30 states, including Florida, California and Michigan
This regional company was established in 2012 and buys houses, condos and townhomes for cash in the mid-Atlantic area and Florida.
- Fees: No closing costs required for sellers (they’re paid by MarketPro Homebuyers)
- Locations served: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Florida
HomeGo buys a lot of homes — one every 20 minutes, according to its website. If you really need cash fast, the company offers closings in as little as seven days.
- Fees: No closing costs required for sellers (they’re paid by HomeGo)
- Locations served: 22 states, including Nevada and Missouri
I Buy Houses
I Buy Houses is a network of individuals and companies that want to buy homes for cash. The company acts as an intermediary, connecting homeowners who want to sell with interested members who might want to buy.
- Fees: Sellers may need to pay closing costs, depending on the conditions of the sale
- Locations served: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Another network of individuals and investors — but with Sundae, you list your home on the company’s network, and it performs an in-person visit. Four days after a home inspection is completed, it presents multiple cash offers from multiple buyers for you to choose from.
- Fees: No fees or closing costs for sellers (they’re paid by buyers)
- Locations served: 11 metro areas across five states, including California and Texas
Flyhomes is a brokerage — it helps customers buy a new home before selling the one they currently live in. In addition, what it provides is not really a true cash offer. The company has a mortgage lending operation, so you’ll have a short-term loan, plus the option for a long-term loan for your new mortgage once your old home sells.
- Fees: Sellers pay closing costs, local taxes and several fees, including 2.5 to 3 percent to Flyhomes and another 2.5 to 3 percent for the buyer’s agent commission
- Locations served: Six states, including Colorado and Washington
Opendoor, which launched in 2014, aims to buy homes with valuations between $100,000 and $600,000. Enter your address and basic information about your home on the company’s website and, based on these details and comps in your area, its algorithm will generate a cash offer for your property within minutes. The company primarily operates in major metro areas, so it might not be a viable option for homeowners in more rural areas.
- Fees: Sellers pay a service charge of up to 5 percent of the home’s sale price, plus closing costs
- Locations served: More than 50 metro areas, including hotspots like Atlanta, Dallas–Fort Worth and Phoenix
Established in 2015, Offerpad is an iBuying company with two solutions for home sellers: Express and Flex. Express provides an offer within 24 hours and up to 90 days to move out; Dohm adds that the company includes a free move within 50 miles of your old home, too. If the cash offer isn’t as much as you’d like, you can opt to list your home through Flex and test the open market, keeping the cash offer as a backup.
- Fees: Sellers pay a service fee (6 percent with Flex and 7 percent with Express) and closing costs (estimated at 1 percent)
- Locations served: 16 states, including Arizona, Florida and Illinois
HomeLight’s Simple Sale offering values your home based on data from your neighborhood. You can get paid in just 10 days, and you have up to 30 days from closing to move out.
- Fees: HomeLight doesn’t charge sellers fees or closing costs, but individual buyers may ask sellers to cover certain costs.
- Locations served: Most of the country — enter your address online to see if your home is eligible.
Orchard doesn’t really buy your home for cash, per se. Instead, its Move First program allows you to buy a new home, move in, and then sell your old property. Here’s how it works: You receive cash upfront, which can be used for a down payment or closing costs on a new home or for mortgage payments on your existing one. Then, Orchard takes care of sprucing up your old home and listing it after you find a new place to live. The idea is to help streamline buying a new home while selling your old one.
- Fees: Sellers pay a brokerage fee, which is typically around 6 percent of their home’s sale price, and a program fee of $2,900. Other traditional home sale expenses, like closing costs, also apply.
- Locations served: Six metro areas, primarily in Texas
Similarly, Knock also allows you to buy a new home and then sell your old one. It’s not actually paying cash, though; the company underwrites a new loan for you. Known as Knock Home Swap, the service also offers homeowners a loan of up to $35,000 for home improvement to increase the sale of their existing home.
- Fees: Sellers pay a 1.25 percent commitment fee when they purchase a new home through Knock Home Swap.
- Locations served: 15 states, including California, North Carolina and Tennessee
How do companies that buy houses for cash work?
Each of these businesses has its own guidelines and regulations, but their processes tend to be fairly similar. As a seller, once you’ve decided that you’d like to sell your home for cash, you reach out to the company of your choice. After a quick inspection of your property, which may be entirely online or require an in-person visit, you’ll receive a cash offer within a day or two (in most cases). If you accept, there will be paperwork to sign — read it carefully! — and potentially fees to pay. Then you can begin the closing process and receive payment, generally within a couple of weeks. It all goes much faster than a traditional, agent-assisted sale, but there’s a trade-off: You will likely make less money than you would on the traditional market.
Alternatives to companies that buy your house for cash
- Sell with an agent: Companies that buy houses for cash aren’t the best fit for everyone. If you’re hoping to get the highest possible price for your property, it’s better to work with an experienced real estate agent and go through the traditional sale process. It will almost certainly take longer, but you’ll benefit from an agent’s professional expertise and earn much more in profits.
- Sell on your own: You could also sell your home on your own, without the help of a Realtor. These listings, known as “for sale by owner” or FSBO, are more time-consuming than cash or agent-assisted sales, since you’re doing all the work yourself. That includes everything from pricing the property to preparing it for viewings to marketing it to gathering and negotiating offers. And you likely won’t make as much money as you would with an agent in the end.
- Rent your home: Finally, if you don’t need the lump sum of cash that a sale would bring, consider renting your home out instead of selling it. Being a landlord can be a lot of work, but in exchange you’ll get a steady stream of rental income every month. This option can be especially lucrative if you’re located in a touristy or vacation-ready destination.
Should you sell your house for cash?
It all depends on your priorities. A cash sale will move faster, but a traditional sale will fetch a higher price for your home. Ultimately, the answer comes down to two key factors: what kind of condition your house is in, and how long you can afford to wait. If your house needs serious repairs that you cannot afford to (or just don’t want to) take on, or if you need the money ASAP, companies that pay cash for houses are a good option. If the house is in good shape and you have time to spare, you are likely to make more money in a traditional sale, with a knowledgeable real estate agent on your side.
If you want to explore your options, you can always see what some cash buyers are willing to offer to get a sense of what you could earn in a speedier deal. Then, talk with a local real estate agent to get a professional opinion on what they realistically believe your home could command on the open market. Do not sign a contract with an agent first, though; you may be bound to pay them a commission even if you opt to sell for quick cash. And keep in mind that while you’re not obligated to accept a cash offer, it may come with an expiration date.
That depends on your definition of “fair.” These companies operate very quickly — so, if you believe in the adage that time is money, perhaps a speedy offer will feel more than fair. However, these companies need to make a profit, too, so you’ll almost certainly receive a lower offer from them than you would in a traditional open-market sale.
By and large, yes. There are plenty of well-established companies that specialize in buying houses for cash; it’s a common practice in real estate. However, scams are certainly out there, so it never hurts to investigate. Research the company’s profile with the Better Business Bureau to see about any past complaints or lawsuits. Additionally, look for reviews from past customers on sites like Trustpilot to see what they have to say about their experiences. And always read a contract carefully before signing — you want to make sure you understand all the fine print.
Very fast. Some companies will make you an offer within one day, or sometimes within minutes, and some guarantee to close on the home within one week.