‘We buy houses’ companies in Florida
When you need to sell your home quickly and don’t have time to deal with listing, staging or making repairs, there are alternative ways to close a deal. One option to consider is a company that proclaims “We buy houses!”
These kinds of homebuying companies, which are becoming more common in Florida and nationwide, typically make all-cash offers for homes and might be able to finalize a sale in as little as one week. As an added bonus, “we buy houses” companies typically handle all of the required closing paperwork as well.
While the ease of the process may be appealing, there are some drawbacks to consider. These companies generally pay far less than market value for your home and are not open to price negotiations — they are typically looking for distressed properties that they can fix up and flip quickly. It may not be the most lucrative way to sell your home, and you may even lose money.
Let’s examine the phenomenon further.
Types of companies that buy houses for cash in Florida
There are various types of companies that buy houses for cash in the Florida real estate market. Perhaps the most well-known is the national company that actually uses We Buy Houses as its brand name, which has a presence in 30 states across the U.S., including Florida.
But if you’re looking to sell your Florida home, We Buy Houses certainly doesn’t have a lock on the market. There are several other national cash homebuyers operating in the Sunshine State as well, including HomeVestors, Express Homebuyers and ASAP Cash Home Buyers, to name just a few.
There are also many regional and local cash homebuying companies, which operate in specific parts of Florida. The common thread among all of these companies is their business model, which generally focuses on making cash offers for distressed homes and closing the deal quickly, without requiring homeowners to make repairs or engage in maintenance of any kind. Here are a few of the state’s local players:
House Heroes: This company is based in Sunny Isles Beach, on Florida’s Atlantic coast just north of Miami. It’s been in operation since 2013 and lets the seller pick their own closing date.
Florida Cash Home Buyers: Founded in 2011, this Fort Lauderdale–based company offers a cash advance before closing for those who really need money fast.
Freedom Cash Home Buyers: Based near Fort Lauderdale in Davie and established in 2015, this company says it buys homes “at any price point and in any condition.”
Cash homebuyers are not quite the same things as iBuyers. While both types of companies pay cash for homes and promise to close the deal quickly, iBuyers are typically digital-only operations and steer clear of homes that are in need of substantial repairs. In addition, iBuyers often charge steep fees for their service, similar to (or even more than) what you would pay working with a real estate agent.
Two of the country’s biggest iBuyers, Opendoor and Offerpad, both operate in Florida. Opendoor buys and sells homes in Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville. Offerpad services the Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa metro areas.
How do ‘we buy houses’ companies work?
“We buy houses” companies generally focus on purchasing distressed or run-down properties — in other words, homes that need help. They will buy such homes in “as is” condition, which means the sellers don’t have to invest in repairs, maintenance or even cursory cleaning.
These are for-profit companies, with a goal of making money by repairing the home and flipping it. As such, “we buy houses” companies are known for offering less than market value, and sometimes much less. You’ll often receive the offer in 24 to 48 hours, and closing will take place quickly as well.
The process usually involves the following steps:
You reach out via phone or complete an inquiry form online.
A company representative gets in touch to schedule an in-person home visit and assess the home’s value.
Once an assessment has been conducted, you receive a cash offer. You can accept or reject the offer — there’s typically no obligation to move forward, and negotiation is typically not possible.
If you accept, there will be a contract to sign (read it carefully!), and then you select a closing date.
Selling your Florida home to a “we buy houses” company is convenient, but it is not likely to be the most profitable approach. If you’re in a position to consider other options or have the flexibility to take a less rushed approach, it may be financially beneficial to do so. Other options include:
Selling with a real estate agent: A traditional sale with a Realtor will involve a longer timeline and more work on your part to get the home ready for photos and viewings, but you will likely end up pocketing more money. A listing agent’s job is to get you the most competitive price possible for your home.
Opting to sell on your own: For sale by owner (FSBO) is another option to consider. Selling a home on your own means you do all of the work that a real estate agent would normally do — and as a result, you don’t have to pay an agent commission on the sale. It really is a lot of work, though, which can be challenging if you don’t have a lot of time or experience.
Renting out your home: If you don’t mind being a landlord and don’t need the large influx of cash you’d get from selling your home outright, renting the property out may be a valuable option for generating ongoing income.
Selling your home, in Florida or anywhere, is a very personal decision. To determine whether a “we buy houses” company makes sense for you, consider your unique needs. How soon do you need the proceeds from the sale? Is speed of the essence or is your timeline flexible? Do you have the cash reserves to cover repairs, commissions and other costs associated with a traditional sale?
The field of “we buy houses” companies in Florida is diverse. There are plenty of options: Before signing on the dotted line for any one company’s offer, be sure to shop around and obtain bids from others. It’s also a good idea to research the company you’re considering working with: As is the case in any industry, not all homebuying companies are equally reputable. Read the terms of your sale contract carefully, and look for reviews and ratings on the Better Business Bureau website and elsewhere online.
Yes — for the most part these companies, particularly the bigger players, are legit. Some are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have verified five-star reviews by users on Google. Even so, there can be bad apples in every bunch, so it’s important to vet each company carefully.
Because these companies are for-profit businesses, they typically offer less than you would make on the open market. Most companies will likely offer about 70 percent of a home’s value, deducting the amount it will cost them to repair and sell it.
It should not cost you anything to sell your home to a “we buy houses” company. However, some — particularly iBuyers — might charge service fees and might not cover all closing costs, so read the terms of the deal very carefully.