Low inventory and high demand have created a seller’s market. Investors eager to turn a profit are using cold calls and texts to get their hands on houses. Many of these offers are legitimate, but they probably won’t get you top dollar for your home.
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If your phone is buzzing with calls and texts from random numbers trying to buy your house, you’re not alone. Unsolicited offers to buy homes are rising, leaving many homeowners frustrated, confused, and wondering: “Why do I keep getting offers to buy my house?”
This can be especially confusing for homeowners who aren’t interested in selling. If you’re getting texts about selling your house, read on to understand where these calls are coming from and what you can do about them.
Why do I keep getting texts to buy my house?
Cold calling is an old sales trick, but you’re experiencing it more than ever because of the state of the housing market.
It’s not news that the market is hot, but just how hot is it? Freddie Mac estimates a housing deficit of more than 3 million homes, making it more competitive than ever to buy a house. Sale prices reflect this: The National Association of Realtors reports that the median existing-home sales price rose to $375,300, an increase of 15% from one year ago.
All signs point to the seller’s market persisting in 2022. With so little inventory and so much money to be made, players looking to make it in the real estate game are resorting to old-school sales tactics (like cold calling) to solicit unlisted houses.
Who are these random people?
It might not seem like it, but there’s a person on the other side of the phone. So who are the anonymous buyers behind the texts about selling your house? In all likelihood, they fall in one of the following categories of buyers:
Real estate is a solid investment. Climbing home prices and shrinking inventory have made ample opportunities for investors to turn big profits. The same factors driving profits for investors have also pushed more Americans to rent, doubling the opportunity for investor gains.
Investors have taken note and account for a whopping 22% of all home sales in January 2022, an increase of seven points in just one year.
But not all home investors have the same aim. The following are some of the most common types:
- Wholesalers: These investors profit by buying properties and quickly reselling them. They often buy properties in bulk and don’t put money into renovating before selling. Wholesalers maximize profits by buying low and selling high, so they probably can’t offer you the best deal on your home.
- House flippers: House flippers purchase properties to improve and then sell them for a profit. This type of investment has been made popular by reality shows like Flip or Flop and Property Brothers. If your house requires major renovations that you’re not interested in pursuing, house flippers could be viable buyers for your home.
- Buy-and-hold: This is a longer-term investment strategy. These investors buy properties to sit on while the market grows. They might rent out the properties during that time to cut down on their overhead, then sell the property when they deem the market favorable.
Real estate agents
Homebuyers will sometimes partner with real estate agents to send unsolicited offers to homeowners to try and make an off-market deal. This type of deal is advantageous to homebuyers looking to avoid bidding wars in especially competitive markets.
Since the homebuyers these agents represent are highly invested in living in your area — or even your home, specifically — they may be open to negotiating a deal that’s favorable to you.
Are the offers scams? Are any of them legit?
The answer is probably both. While most of these offers are likely legitimate, it’s important to evaluate them with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you decide to sell your home, you’ll want to ensure that the deal will make you top dollar while protecting yourself from predatory scams.
Protect yourself with the following steps:
- Verify licenses: Real estate is subject to strict regulations to protect consumers from fraudulent practices. That’s why many real estate professionals must get licensed or certified. Your first step to ensuring that you’re dealing with a legitimate offer is to verify that you are dealing with a licensed real estate professional.
- Corroborate the offer price: Remember, it’s a seller’s market. Investors trying to turn a profit on your home are likely offering you a lower price than you’d be able to get by listing your home. Talk with a real estate agent to understand the market value of your house, and use a home sale calculator to understand just how much money you could be walking away from.
- Securely share information: Financial crimes are on the rise. In 2021, consumers lost $5.8 billion to fraud, a 70% increase compared to 2020. Imposter and investment scams are the primary methods of fraud, and real estate is not immune. Sharing sensitive information — like tax documents, titles, and other financial or personally identifying information — can make you vulnerable to these types of crimes. Ensure that any information you share is done so through secure means.
I’m not interested in selling my home, so how did they find me?
You may be getting texts to buy your house even if it isn’t listed. This can be disturbing for homeowners, especially when the offers are persistent and come from multiple sources.
We live in the information age, and unfortunately, much of our private and personally-identifying information is available online. If investors are specifically interested in your home or neighborhood, they may be able to use contextual clues to find your information online.
More often than not, though, investors buy lists with the information of homeowners who live in their target markets. They can purchase or rent these lists from other companies who already have your information.
Can I stop unsolicited offers to buy my house?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution to halt unsolicited offers on your home. But if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you may be able to ease the bombardment of calls and texts.
Here’s how to slow — if not entirely stop — unsolicited offers to buy your house:
- Add your name to the Do Not Call Registry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created this database to protect consumers from unwanted sales calls. After your number has been on the registry for 31 days, you can report any unwanted calls to the FTC.
- Block the numbers texting you. While this strategy won’t prevent new numbers from soliciting you, blocking a number will stop the requester from following up with repetitive messages. If you’re unsure of how to do this, you can use the Federal Communications Commission’s resources for blocking calls.
- Remove your information from direct mailing lists. If you’re receiving direct mail in addition to phone calls, add yourself to DMAChoice. This service will help you take control of the type of direct mail you receive.
- Ask them to stop. While answering these phone calls or texts might be the last thing you want to do, simply communicating that you’re not interested in selling might be the best way to get investors to stop soliciting you.
Maybe I do want to sell. Is an unsolicited offer my best bet?
If you’ve vetted the offer and determined it’s from a legitimate source, you could be in luck – many investors will offer you cash with no contingencies for your home. If you’re looking to sell your house fast, taking one of these offers could be a quick and easy solution.
But it’s probably not the best deal. Remember, investors are looking to turn a profit, so they are offering you far less than your home’s true worth. Plus, in a seller’s market, it’s generally not a good idea to accept the first offer on your home.
You’re better off listing your home if you want to make the biggest profit on your home sale. But you don’t have to put up with the hassle of traditional real estate to do so. For example, when you use a service like List with Orchard, you get stress-free home prep that can include value-boosting updates at no upfront cost. You can even opt in to a guaranteed sale with an optional cash offer.
These days, homeowners looking to sell hold all the cards — getting texts to buy your house is just another reminder of just how powerful homeowners are in the current market. Whether you decide to accept one of these offers, list with Orchard, or pursue a traditional real estate path, be empowered in your choice.