Can You Really Get an “Instant Offer” for Your House?

A New Option for Home Sellers?

If you’re a homeowner interested in selling your house, you have more options today than simply listing your house with a real estate broker. A recent option seems almost too good to be true: The “Instant Offer”.  Fill out an online form and – POOF – you get an instant offer for your house, dropped straight in your email!  Easy, right?  Well, maybe not.  Read on.

Who Claims to Give “Instant Offers” for Houses?

Zillow recently introduced “Zillow Instant Offers” in a few of the hottest real estate markets in the country – Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.   Zillow does not operate a brokerage, and they do not make these offers or buy houses.  Instead, the Zillow program is a lead-generation system; Zillow sells the homeowner information to real estate investors, agents, and brokers.

Other new real estate sites such as Opendoor.com and OfferPad.com (which, unlike Zillow, operate brokerages) claim to offer a better alternative to traditional listings, implying that you can just answer a few questions on their website and get an offer for your house in your email.  These companies will actually make an offer and purchase your house.

Do You Really Get an “Instant Offer” for Your House from these Companies?

Actually, NO, you don’t.  It turns out that there really is no such thing as a real binding “instant offer” for your house from any of these websites.  In a nutshell, it’s a marketing technique.  The intent is to capture the potential home seller’s information before anyone else does.  The “Instant Offer” sounds easy and quick, so home sellers might be attracted to it before considering the more traditional path to sell their home.  Once they go to one of these sites and fill out the form there, they are pulled into that company’s process, and soon they realize that – while an initial, non-binding offer may be presented to them within a day or two, the REAL offer comes later – after the home has been inspected.  In other words, the instant offer is not so instant.

A quick look at Zillow’s Instant Offer webpage confirms these points:
1) They are SELLING YOUR INFORMATION to multiple cash home buyers (“investors”)
2) The investors will need to get a lot of info about your house, and getting an offer will take DAYS
3) The offer is subject to change upon the INSPECTION

The Zillow “Instant Offer” is neither “instant” nor “binding”; it’s subject to change.

The online brokerages such as Opendoor.com and OfferPad.com have a similar pitch – fill out a form, get an offer.  But here again, their offers are not instant offers, and they are also not binding offers.   Let’s take a look at the “how it works” information from those two sites.

Once pulled into their process, they have you sign a purchase agreement with them, and then arrange for a “free inspection” later in the process.  In some cases, these companies may not perform these inspections until several days before closing.  At that point, the seller has likely begun to pack or they may have already moved out.  The information from the inspection can result in a significant adjustment to the offer for “unforeseen” repairs that can total thousands of dollars.  It’s often hard for a seller to back out at this point, as they may have already committed to purchase another house.  In that case, they have to settle for a big reduction in the actual offer for their house.

In addition, these online brokerages also charge commissions and other fees to the seller that are not apparent in their “get an instant offer” pitch.  For example, Opendoor has a 7.2% “service fee” and OfferPad charges for commissions, an “OfferPad Fee” and for the “OfferPad Experience”.  These fees, in their example below, add up to 9%:

CONCLUSION – There is no such thing as an “Instant Offer” for your house.

As we’ve seen with all three of these “new options” for selling your home, they are a bit of an “old wolf” in a “new sheep’s” clothing.  None of these companies will make a real, binding offer on your home – instantly – based upon a form you complete on their website.  What they will do is pull you into their process, get you to commit as soon as possible, then come to you later with a list of “adjustments” based upon the “free” home inspection.  It’s not until then – perhaps a few days from closing – that these sellers learn what the REAL OFFER is for their house.  In some cases, it can be tens of thousands less than the original offer.  The risk for the homeowner is that the actual price that will be paid for their home is unknown until late in the process, leaving them with few options other than to proceed with selling their home to these online companies at a lower price than they expected.

Is there a way for home seller to get a REAL, FAST, BINDING OFFER?

Yes, there is.  They can contact us at WeBuyHouses.com®.  We are local professional real estate investors that are ready, willing, and able to purchase houses fast – with no repairs, no contingencies, no inspection surprises, no commissions, no “experience fees” and NO HASSLE.

WeBuyHouses.com provides home sellers with an On-the-Spot Offer™ – here’s how it works:

  1. The homeowner fills out the form on the WeBuyHouses.com website, or calls their local WeBuyHouses.com office on the phone.  We get just the information we need, and we schedule a time to come see your house ASAP.
  2. Prior to arriving, we do research to determine the value of homes in your area and other factors that will help us determine our offer.
  3. Once we arrive, we will do our own inspection of your property and THEN give you our On-the-Spot Offer™ offer, fully considering any repairs that may be needed.
  4. If you like our On-the-Spot Offer™, we’ll sign a sales contract with you right there on the spot.
  5. Based upon your needs, we’ll schedule a closing date.  We can often close on a house and put CASH IN YOUR HAND in less than 2 weeks.  (At this point, the “other guys” haven’t even sent out their “free inspector” to figure out how much will be deducted from their offer!)
  6. It’s that easy – the On-the-Spot Offer™ from WeBuyHouses.com is REAL, it’s FAST, and IT WILL NOT CHANGE ON YOU at the last minute like those “instant offers” from websites like those mentioned above.

For more information, go to WeBuyHouses.com or contact the company at 1-877-WeBuyHouses (932-8946).

DISCLAIMER:  Local We Buy Houses® offices are independently owned and operated.  Some local offices may not participate in offering an On-the-Spot Offer™, but those that do not generally make a binding offer within 24-hours; still much faster and more dependable than the “instant offers” made by other companies.

About We Buy Houses®

Trusted by more than one million homeowners, We Buy Houses® is the most recognized brand in residential real estate investing.  Every month, the company connects thousands of home sellers to local cash buyers via one of the largest networks of real estate investors in North America.

To sell a house quickly for cash, or for more information on residential real estate investing, call 1-877-WeBuyHouses (1-877-932-8946) or visit WeBuyHouses.com

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CLICK HERE for MORE BACKGROUND INFO about INSTANT OFFERS