I’m sure you’ve seen all the billboards or yellow signs on the side of the road as you’ve been driving around town here in Charleston, advertising companies that buy houses.
They usually say something like, “Cash For Your House?” or “We Buy Charleston Houses!”
Are these “we buy houses in Charleston companies” credible?
How do I know if the local house buying companies out there are honest and credible?
Well… sometimes they all look the same at the start… but below we’ll walk you through some things to look for in a local house buying company before you should work with them.
Buying and selling houses is a valid and respectable profession that can help communities and house sellers in many ways. But just like any other line of work – a few bad apples can give the majority of other Real Estate Investors in Charleston a bad name.
There are honest and ethical home buyers who do great work helping out sellers and the community one house at a time.
And then there are some shady, dishonest people who are only concerned about making money, putting their greed ahead of the interests and well being of their seller. And there are new “wannabe” investors who just finished some weekend seminar and don’t have the experience, professional contacts or cash to actually buy your home. They often tell you what you want to hear to get you to sign a contract with a lot of bogus contingencies that allow them to cancel the agreement and walk away since they never intend on closing themselves. They just try to get the price low enough so they can try to “wholesale” the property for a higher amount to an experienced Charleston Real Estate Investor who can actually close and is the end buyer. If they can’t sell your house for more, they walk away and you get nothing. Your time will be the minimum damage inflicted and perhaps a lot more depending on your situation and your need for the money if it is urgent (ie. stop foreclosure, medical expense, etc.).
Yes, these people are out there.
We’ll help you avoid these “shady house buyers” and the “newbies” so you can work with experienced, honest, ethical, and reputable local companies who can buy your house for a fair all cash offer and close on your schedule.
But let’s not focus on the negative – at least not yet.
First, let’s cover exactly what the best house-flippers are doing.
What Reputable Charleston House Buyers Are Doing
- Helping folks improve their lives by accessing the money they need right away. People often need the cash in their house to cover unexpected medical expenses, or to relocate to be close to a relative. We can make that happen in just a few days, and we deliver peace of mind.
- Helping home owners get rid of a burdensome property without the hassle of having to list it with a broker and potentially wait months and months for a sale.
- Helping many sellers help preserve their credit by quickly stopping a foreclosure action, liquidate a property in divorce before the couples financials go side ways, expedite the sale of assets in bankruptcy or in a short sale, etc.
- Creating local jobs. We hire plumbers, contractors, electricians, brokers, attorneys, loan officers, insurance agents, appraisers, property managers, administrators and many other folks along the way. The average real estate transaction involves 86 people from start to finish. Our investments help create real jobs for people around Charleston SC.
- Buying US products. We spend tons of money on materials that are made right here in the USA – that creates jobs in our timber mills, factories, supply shops, distribution centers and more. The US economy depends on steady improvement, and that requires investment from folks like us.
- Increasing the value of Charleston neighborhoods. When we improve a house, we’re helping to increase the value of the entire community. We often repair abandoned and neglected houses, turning them into beautiful homes for families. That activity strengthens Charleston and makes neighbors and everyone involved proud of the change for the better that has been made.
- Increasing the tax base. When a new buyer takes over one of our properties, they’ll pay a higher tax rate based on the new and improved value. Those taxes go to pay for our schools, fire, police, libraries, streets and other valuable pieces of infrastructure. Again, improving our neighborhoods.
Pretty cool stuff, right?
Lots of people think of house-flipping as a get-rich-quick scheme. That’s fueled by silly “reality” shows that amp up the drama because the reality of what we do on a daily basis is actually pretty boring.
Most of our work is coordinating with lots of people to make sure things are happening on time. We have to keep track of lots of moving parts.
So let’s get back to how you can use this information to find out if someone is a credible investor, and not just pulling a house buying scam.
How To Ensure You’re Working With A Reputable Local House Buyer
When you’re looking for a local house buyer to potentially buy your house, be sure to check them out online. A good price isn’t important if you don’t actually get it! They don’t say what they mean and do what they say. You want someone who can and will perform. Some things to look for are:
- KEEP IT REAL – Are they real people with names who are proud of what they have done to help our community or just hiding behind some anonymous website or from some out of state company?
- STAY LOCAL – Are they local people that actually live here in the Charleston area and know our city and are dedicated to helping Charleston sellers in need?
- GO WITH EXPERIENCE – How long have they been in business? If they have an LLC or other entity, look them up and see how long it’s been registered at the South Carolina Secretary of State website. You want someone that has hundreds of transactions, not someone who is looking to covert their recently acquired theory into application after reading a few books.
- GET A RECOMMENDATION – Do they have letters of recommendation and testimonials of actual sellers and local professionals that you can talk to?
- CHECK THE BBB – The Better Business Bureau often rates companies based on complaints, years in business and other factors to help you decide if this is a “fly by night” company or one you can trust.
By now, you will probably have narrowed your list of We Buy Houses in Charleston, SC companies to call on. Either contact them on their website with your property info or if you prefer, pick up the phone and give them a call. When you talk with a local house buyer to potentially buy your house… ask them some of the questions below to ensure they’re reputable, knowledgeable, and honest.
Ask open-ended questions like:
- How do you help your clients?
- What do you do for people?
- Can you tell me more about your services?
- What aspect of your business makes you the most proud?
- How would you describe your investment philosophy?
- How can I know that you’ll close on my house when you say you will?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of funds. This is normal for cash transactions and legitimate companies won’t take offense at this request. You should be assured that who you are about to do business with actually can close.
Next, look for tell tale signs of tactics that those few shady operators tend to use.
- “Kitchen table closings” – If a property buyer tries to get you to sign the deed (ownership) of your house over to them at your house, rather than a professional place like a real estate closing attorney’s office… be very leery. Most reputable House Buying Services in Charleston, SC will perform the actual closing of the sale at a licensed South Carolina real estate attorney’s office. This protects your interests and ensures everything is legal, done right, and on the up and up.
- Pressuring you into a fast closing – If a house buyer tries to pressure you into selling your house and says that you have to make the decision today, be cautious. Most reputable house buying services will make you and offer and that offer will be on the table for at least 2-7 days (minimum) for you to make a decision. The reason reputable house buying services like ours at Charleston Home Buyers do place deadlines on our offers is because the market changes and values can change week to week depending on other sales in the area, also… we buy multiple houses a month and when we make you an offer we’re assuring you that the cash to purchase your house is ready and we’ll reserve that cash for several days so if you do want to sell your house, we can close on your schedule as promised. If you feel the offer isn’t a fit for you, then we’ll use those funds to help another seller with their home sale.
Most scammers are looking for a quick score, and not an in-depth interview.
Chances are good that they’ll find excuses to get off the phone and move on to someone who doesn’t ask too many questions.
True investors who run honest and ethical Charleston house buying services, however, are building long-term businesses based on relationships and community development. That’s why tenure, like with most businesses, is often a good indicator of a company that uses good win-win business practices.
So when you’re looking at one of the “we buy houses in Charleston companies“… never be afraid to ask questions!