“We Buy Homes” Scams
Scammers who post signs and send postcards proclaiming “We buy homes!” are trying to take advantage of families who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
How the Scam Works
Homeowners respond to a “we buy homes” ad or mailer. But instead of buying houses, most of these companies want to convince you to sign over control of your home. The company then leases the property out to a new tenant. As a result, the owner loses rights to their home but is still responsible for making the mortgage payments.
Tenants or homebuyers can also be hit hard by these scams. You may be lured by ads touting rent-to-own agreements that turn out to be deceptive, and which typically include big upfront fees.
Avoid “We Buy Homes” Scams
Before you consider replying to a “we buy homes” ad, remember:
- These companies aren’t likely to pay cash for your home or help secure a fast payoff of your current mortgage.
- It could take several years to actually sell your home using this process, if it is sold at all.
- Beware of anyone who asks you to sign over the title to your home based only on their promises to sell your property.
- If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, speak with your lender directly. You can also contact the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project for help at 1-888-442-8188.
- If you’re looking to buy or rent a home, never pay money upfront before signing a lease or contract. Work with a real estate or leasing agent you trust.
- In rent-to-own agreements, always confirm that the person you’re signing the contract with is the actual owner of the home. You can check with your county government, usually online, to see who owns a particular home.