I recently had a conversation with a friend and real estate colleague who mentioned that their real estate team was calling around neighborhoods and offering to purchase homes. Their approach is to make an “as-is” cash offer at a fair price with a fast or flexible closing date.
I have also had people show me letters, emails, and notes left on their door with similar offers.
Their strategy is designed to help them find good deals on homes that they can purchase, fix up and then resell for a profit. Sometimes this is done in true carpetbagger style — opportunistic and at the expense of those they say they are trying to “help.”
Just as this practice originated back in the 1860’s, offering to buy property in such a manner is not illegal. It can, however, border on unethical (depending on who you talk to).
On the flip side, an offer like this, when made in a time of urgency or need, can often be a great benefit or relief to homeowners who want to sell a house they no longer need or want. This is particularly true if the house is draining them financially or emotionally.
Back to my earlier conversation… As I was talking to this friend, I said to him, “Please just do me one favor. Don’t take advantage of older people who don’t know what their home is worth.”
Interestingly, a week later I received this text message from my friend:
Ethical or unethical practices? Here is the reality and where the lines can get blurry. My friend is not a licensed Realtor (although he used to be), but his wife is. They are very savvy business people and real estate investors. What they are NOT, is your real estate agents. In other words, they have not been hired to look out for you and your interests, therefore, it is your responsibility! To do this, you really need all the facts.
In the conversation I mentioned earlier, my friend noted that many of his purchases are a “blessing” for the people selling the home because it is turn-key and they are relieved of the pressure of needing to sell and are not responsible for making any repairs or even liquidating what is inside the home.
My friend is right. For many of our clients, elder clients or their heirs in particular, this easy, cash, close quickly, turn-key solution can be a benefit.
The question becomes, “At what cost?”
As a Realtor and advocate for vulnerable homeowners (all homeowners in fact), I have passed up many an opportunity on a “good deal” because to have taken advantage of that good deal, I would also have had to take advantage of the homeowner’s lack of knowledge and insight into the local real estate market.
The point I am trying to make here is this…
Make sure you have a real estate advocate in your corner. Regardless of whether or not you are currently ready to sell a home, buy a home, or transact real estate, insure that you have a trusted real estate advisor in your corner — a person you can call upon when you need the facts and BEFORE you enter into an agreement or contract.
Not only can your real estate advisor help you avoid unnecessary expense related to selling or buying, they can guide you when hiring contractors, service professionals, and taking care of other home-related items.
Be wary of the carpetbaggers and scalawags! They are in full force in Oklahoma City and they are looking for their next “opportunity.”
Please Note: This NOT a political statement and the use of the term carpetbagger in this context is not intended to disparage or endorse a party or cause — it is merely a reference that seems to make sense in this context! My political views run the gamut and so we don’t have time here to even go there!
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