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“We Buy Houses” Scams

You see the signs everywhere these days: We buy houses! We buy houses for cash! We buy ugly houses! Cash for your home! Because of your situation – your need to sale fast – you fall prey to so-called “rescuers”, predators who have no problem profiting from debt-ridden homeowners on the brink of foreclosure. The hot house market is attracting new scam artists at an alarming rate. Sellers beware!

There are numerous reasons why a homeowner would want to sell a house fast: debt problems, divorce, job change, and relocation, to name a few. Here’s one pitch you might find on a “We Buy Houses” website or company mailer: “If you need to sell your house fast, we can buy your house in 3 to 7 days. We'll handle your transaction quickly and professionally with no hassles. We don't charge you any fees or commissions to buy your house. We are not real estate agents and we're not associated with any real estate brokers. We don't want to list your house; we want to buy it.”

Even though some investors or entrepreneurs may tell you they buy houses – the illegitimate ones will not buy in the traditional manner because they do not have the cash to buy and are not pre-approved for a mortgage. So, they, the “scammers” will use some creative scheme to take control of your property. A few of the most common scams include taking over your payments or deed, or leasing or buying “subject to”. Before you're even aware of it, these scam artists will have acquired your home for a fraction of what it would have brought at sale. Or, in an even worse scenario, they will have transferred your title into a trust that then enables them to rent or "resell" your property to equally hoodwinked buyers while, to your surprise, you remain legally obligated to make the mortgage payments.

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