In this video, we discuss how investors are disguising themselves as professional home buyers to take advantage of seniors and longtime homeowners.
The last several years have been hard on real estate investors. With property values going sky high and inventory being the lowest it’s been in a very long time, the “deals” literally dried up. It’s because of this that professional home buyers (a.k.a. real estate investors) have had to get creative, and creative they have indeed become.
In the past, investors would simply canvas neighborhoods with flyers on door knobs, or they would put signs on corners announcing “We buy homes” or “We pay cash for houses.” These days investors are beginning to collaborate and cooperate, with some even franchising their proven systems for finding and securing the best deals.
One such well-known early franchise system you may recognize is “We Buy
Ugly Houses.” They did, in fact, tend to target houses that were otherwise hard to sell using traditional methods because they were in disrepair (a.k.a. ugly). Don’t get me wrong; they would happily buy a pretty home, too – for the right price.
Since the ugly house guys, however, the investor market has set their sights on an even more specific niche – longtime homeowners relocating to senior living communities, assisted living, and long-term nursing care. Why do senior homeowners present such a robust market for home investors looking for deals? Below are just a few of the reasons:
1. Homeowners who have owned their property for decades may underestimate the current market value of their homes.
Unlike REALTORS ®, unlicensed investors do not have an ethical obligation to educate homeowners on the true value of their property. Investors may make offers that are lower than the true competitive market value, saying things like, “This is a competitive offer.”
Some longtime homeowners with no mortgage to pay off may view these offers positively. This can lead them to accept the offer without seeking a second opinion from a trusted source.
2. Homeowners who are feeling overwhelmed by the process of
selling a home and liquidating remaining items may be susceptible to both founded and unfounded offers of simplicity and convenience.
As a perk to homeowners who are willing to sell at an extreme discount (often 25-50% less than the actual home value), investors may offer to manage the liquidation of remaining items in the home or allow the homeowner to live in the residence for minimal rent until they are able to liquidate their persona belongings.
Homeowners who are unaware of REALTORS with Move Management fairly priced support services may elect to sell at an extreme discount to avoid the hassle of doing it themselves or “bothering” their family
3. Seniors tend to trust people with titles despite proof of expertise or experience and, therefore may not check references.
Creative investors have begun marketing themselves as “Senior Transition Specialists,” with some even purporting to be certified in this area. Claims of such credentials are often simply marketing techniques taught online or over a weekend in local hotel ballrooms full of eager newbie real estate investors.
There are legitimate trainings which require many hours and often months of education, reference and background checks, and testing; however, these professional home buyers have no such training. When asked about their certifying organization, they may share fictitious information or avoid the topic
4. Senior living communities, typically regarded as reliable sources for recommendations (and they usually are), may suggest investors as an option because they believe it will help their prospect with a swift and effortless move-in process.
Sadly, these “creative” investors are now marketing their services to senior living operators in order to connect with potential senior home sellers. They provide assurances to the referring community that they can assist them in getting people to move in faster by buying their home and emptying it quickly. By making contact before a real estate professional is involved, these investors are able to convince homeowners they are getting a “fair value” while saving a commission.
The offer of “fast cash” is appealing to those who may need the money to make the move and who are unaware of more reputable and less expensive ways to access their home equity and to simplify the relocation process. Senior community salespeople may be just as susceptible as seniors when it comes to believing the unfounded claims of certifications and training. They often fail to check references or to fully understand the predatory nature of some home-buying schemes.
5. When people are stressed, grieving, tired, or recovering from illnesses, they are more vulnerable and thereby susceptible to unscrupulous, unethical, and predatory business practices.
Sadly, we have all heard of someone who has been scammed by an unscrupulous business, organization, or con-artist. No one likes to admit it, but we are all at risk of such practices. The people leading these organizations often appear kind, empathic, and even charming. Their hidden motives, however, are anything but honest or fair. When making a major life change, such as moving from a longtime home or into a retirement community setting, stress is just a reality. Investors count on that stress and use it to their advantage.
Rather than encouraging you to get second opinions or have an advisor review their offer, they will encourage you to act quickly to get through the process as fast as possible. When you make fast decisions, you are less likely to see through their predatory and sometimes illegal tactics
WHY INVESTORS DON’T LIKE REALTORS
Let’s face it, despite what they may tell you, these types of investors are NOT
on your side, and they most certainly are not looking out for your best
interests. They dislike REALTORS because they don’t want you to know the
true value of your home. If the investor happens to also be a licensed real
estate agent, that doesn’t mean they are a member of the national or local
associations of REALTORS. If they are not, they are not accountable to the
REALTOR code of ethics, which means you have no recourse as a consumer
should they take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the market. Having a
license alone does not make them a REALTOR.
When an investor tells you they are making you a competitive offer, there is a
high likelihood they are not being completely honest. A competitive offer
means that your home has been exposed to the larger pool of buyers and that
other potential purchasers have weighed in on the home’s value. That is what
real estate agents do when they place your home on the multiple listing
Real estate agents earn a commission when they have fully exposed your
home to the market and procured for you the best possible offer and terms. In
most markets, their commission ranges from 2%-7%. Depending on your
contract with a broker, your agent likely serves as your fiduciary, looking after
your best interests – before their own! Most reputable agents will not purchase
the home of a potential client without careful consideration and full disclosure
by all parties (and multiple opinions concerning fairness of price and terms).
A CASE STUDY COMPARISON
Mary Jane sold her home to Marcus, the investor. Marcus, the investor, said
he would pay her cash for her home and cover all her closing costs. He even
offered to let her leave her remaining personal items behind, verbally
promising he would empty the home and have it cleaned. She wouldn’t need
to do a thing. Her home’s market value was $275,000. Marcus paid Mary Jane
$210,000 for her home and closed in two weeks. After she moved, he put the
house back on the market as-is and sold it in less than 90 days for $275,000.
He didn’t empty the house or clean it as he said he would. He left the contents
for the new buyer. Marcus made a profit of approximately $65,000 in 90 days
by convincing Mary Jane that he was helping her out by making her move
more convenient. Mary Jane essentially paid Marcus a 24% “commission” by
letting him buy her home.
Kenneth also had a $275,000 home. He called his agent, who specializes in
helping seniors downsize. The Certified Senior Housing Professional, who
was also a REALTOR, arranged for and oversaw every aspect of the move
and estate liquidation. The move management team helped Kenneth pack,
unpack, resettle into his new place, and get the house cleaned after the estate
sale. Within a little over three months, from start to finish, Kenneth had a
deposit in his bank for $275,000 less the real estate commission and his
closing costs equaling about $253,000.
MORAL OF THE STORY
There are services and support available to people who may be overwhelmed
or who need some of their home equity to make the move. No one needs to
sell to an investor and give up $20,000, $40,000, $100,000, or more for mere
simplicity. The cost is simply not reasonable nor fair – no matter what an
investor tells you.
Now, it’s not always a bad thing to sell to an investor. Senior Downsizing
Experts have a group of vetted investors that we work with regularly. This can
be a great option for clients who want to sell their home “as-is.” In these
transactions, our REALTORS act as your advocates to make sure everything
is done in your best interest.
Naturally, if you have more questions about your home’s value, the current market, or anything else…just give us a call at 817-330-9235 or email us at email@example.com.