It’s been a week. Two weeks. A month. Two months.

The clock ticks and your old house still hasn’t sold. Your new place is great, but paying two mortgages is getting harder and harder each month. All you need is one solid offer, but none seems forthcoming.

You’ve stumbled across a cash for house scheme, and the offer is tempting. However, you’re worried about the cash for houses scams you’ve been hearing about online. Is this offer a real one, or just another way someone is trying to screw you out of some hard-earned dollars?

If you’ve been asking yourself that question, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll walk you through five principles to help you avoid a we buy houses ripoff.

1. Do Your Research on the Company

The first thing you should do when one of the companies that buy houses for cash approach you is whip your phone out and Google them. See if reviews have been posted online or if they’ve been involved in anything sketchy recently.

If they don’t have a solid social media presence and happy customers willing to testify to their experience online, they could very well be a scam.

2. Never Pay an Application Fee

The way legitimate house investors make money from flipping houses is by taking an older home, fixing it up, and selling it for a higher price. Their income strategy does not include charging homeowners a fee to use their selling service.

If someone asks you to pay an application or visitation fee, run for the hills!

3. Never Provide Very Personal Info 

Never provide personal information to a cash for houses scheme, especially if it isn’t in person. Anything that asks you to send across information online without giving you a solid reason why they need the info is probably just a plot to obtain and sell your information.

4. Never Sign Without a Witness

The only place that you should sign an offer on your house is at a notary, at a title and escrow company, or a legitimate realtor’s office. Kitchen table offers and signatures are not a part of the process. There’s no telling what nefarious purposes a signed offer letter from you could be used for if there isn’t a legitimate witness to back you up.

5. Ask for Testimonials

Any company that runs a successful cash for houses company, like in Milwaukee, will have had previous customers. Those previous customers should be happy ones — ones that are happy to share their positive experience with others.

If you are approached by such a company, ask them for referrals to previous customers that you can talk to. When you get the names and contact info get on the phone or, better yet, visit those past customers in person to get their feedback on how the process was. Any company that can’t produce happy customers is likely a scam.

Avoid Cash For Houses Scams

By following these five solid tips, you’ll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff and avoid all cash for houses scams.

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