iBuyer Beware

In this increasingly digital age, you can buy and sell just about anything online. There are even companies who imply that also includes houses. These numerous companies are known as iBuyers who are willing to give you a quick offer on your home, sight unseen, without even coming to look at it.

Sounds convenient, right?

In theory (and on paper) it does. For one, when you eliminate realtors, you don’t have to pay their fees or commissions. Gone, too, is the frustrating waiting period staging and showing your house, hoping the right person will eventually come along and make an offer. In traditional real estate transactions, there’s always the possibility that the buyer might rescind their offer if they fail to qualify for financing or see something that changes their mind on an inspection report.

Since iBuyers claim none of these worries apply when it comes to their technological model, what’s not to love?

Truth be told, there’s a lot of gray area in the real estate industry in general and online buyers aren’t always what they claim to be upfront. There’s good reason to beware and trust your instincts on this one.

As the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. iBuyers talk a good game but, more often than not, fail to deliver on what they promise. Just be ready for all the “fees”, inspections and attempts to renegotiate a lower price.

What’s an iBuyer?

The iBuyers we’re talking about in this article are multimillion-dollar companies with massive marketing capabilities, cutting-edge websites, and unlimited advertising resources at their disposal.

They’re typically based on the West Coast or in the Northwest, claim to have local offices, but actually don’t.

Technology Is Not the Same as Local Experience

iBuyers claim to use technology as a substitute for personal and local market expertise. This is one of the primary reasons why they attempt to renegotiate their initial offer or cancel roughly 50% of their contracts.

Let’s be honest: there’s no substitute for local knowledge and this is one of the areas in which iBuyers just don’t measure up.

Why do so many of their deals fall through? After they complete an in-home inspection and assess the property, they see that they’re not really getting the deal they thought they were. Or is it really that they are using a bait and switch tactic with unknowing homeowners to get a lower price? Whatever the reason, the statistics show they fail to close at least half of the properties they contract.

Fees & Lengthy Option Periods

Additionally, iBuyers charge a variety of fees, oftentimes amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in a deal. This isn’t disclosed until you see their offer and certainly isn’t part of their fancy website or informational videos. Their lengthy option periods also give them, as the buyer, the opportunity to back out of the sale whenever they wish all the way up to the closing date.

The Bledsoe Family Home Selling Experience

We were recently contacted by the Bledsoe family who were looking to sell their longtime home in Arlington. Mr. Bledsoe had just retired, and he and his wife planned to relocate so that Mrs. Bledsoe would no longer have such a lengthy commute to her job.

As Mr. Bledsoe explained, they had initially reached out to a couple of different I-Buyers who had made offers on their home, sight unseen, but something didn’t seem quite right. Both offers came with big option periods and guarantees which concerned Mr. Bledsoe.

“I was leery of the extended option periods on both offers and also had some concerns about the companies” practices considering neither of the prospective buyers even came to see our house,” he said.

“As it turned out, they weren’t anywhere near the state of Texas,” added Mr. Bledsoe. “That’s when we decided to check with a local company, Cash House Buyers, USA and scheduled an in-home meeting to receive an offer in person.”

In the Bledsoe’s case their dissatisfactory experience led them to turn to us. Fortunately for them, they did some research and determined the unethical nature of the negotiation tactics of the I-Buyers. They also read consumer reviews which revealed that both companies were closing very few of the deals in which they contracted.

We were their third choice but, most significantly, the only local buyer. This would work to their advantage in that we had an excellent track record when it comes to closing among other things (Cash House Buyers, USA closes on everything we contract subject to clear title).

After we met them in person and made an offer, the Bledsoes decided to go with Cash House Buyers, USA.

As the Bledsoe’s cautionary tale indicates, slick marketing and flashy promises don’t always lead to a happy outcome. It’s true that the internet sometimes gives us the impression that “national” companies are somehow better than a local operation. However, when it comes to buying and selling homes, having someone on-site, in person, and who you can trust is an invaluable fail safe.

Just like the Bledsoes, we often get calls from people who thought they had a better offer but ended up getting put in a corner by a home buyer; their situation led them to believe that they had almost no choice but to close under the iBuyers’ last minute re-negotiated terms. Luckily, they decided to pull back, do some research, and take another look to find Cash House Buyers USA.

Although I-Buyers do little to convey a sense of integrity in a business fraught with fly-by-night operators, it’s very satisfying for us to work with members of the local community to get their homes sold.

Cash House Buyers USA would just as soon get out of the business than compromise our values as honest and well-intended professionals who have built a sterling reputation over the last 15 years.

But don’t take our word for it; visit our testimonial’s page and read out satisfied customers’ reviews. If we can help you sell your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We think, just like the Bledsoes, you’ll be glad you did.