As our loved ones age, it's important to keep an eye out for their well-being in all aspects of their life. Unfortunately, there are people out there who seek to take advantage of the elderly, and one of the ways they do this is through unsolicited offers for real estate services.
If your aging parent has recently received a flurry of postcards or phone calls from an investor/wholesaler, also known as a "cash-buyer", it's important to understand what these offers are and how to handle them.
What is a real estate wholesaler (aka "cash-buyer")?
A real estate wholesaler is a person or company who purchases properties at a low cost and then resells them to investors or other buyers at a higher price. They often target homeowners who are in difficult financial situations and may be motivated to sell quickly.
How do they target seniors?
Real estate wholesalers often send out postcards or make unsolicited phone calls to homeowners. They may use language that implies a sense of urgency, such as "time is running out" or "act now." They may also offer to buy the property "as-is" without requiring repairs or renovations.
What are the risks?
While some real estate wholesalers may be legitimate, there are also many who engage in shady or unethical practices. They may offer a low price for the property and then resell it for a much higher price, pocketing the difference that could have gone toward your loved one's care. They may also make promises they can't keep or fail to disclose important information about the property in order to make a deal happen.
What should you do?
If your aging parent receives an unsolicited offer from a real estate wholesaler, it's important to take the following steps:
- Consult with a trusted professional. Talk to a real estate agent or attorney to get their opinion on the offer. They can help you understand the terms of the agreement and whether it's a good deal for your parent. Specifically, they will understand how to FORCE THE HAND of an inexperienced wholesaler and make sure you protect yourself contractually. Even better if you can consult a General Contractor to tell you how to take advantage of the money the wholesaler wants to make. Shameless plug: Our Opportunity Analysis will give you all your options, including selling your property off-market to a cash-buyer/investor.
- Don't rush into anything. Real estate wholesalers often use high-pressure tactics to get homeowners to sign a contract quickly. Encourage your parent to take their time and carefully consider their options before making a decision.
- Be wary of giving out personal information. Real estate wholesalers may ask for personal information such as social security numbers or bank account numbers. Encourage your parent not to provide this information unless they're certain the company is legitimate.
While real estate wholesalers may offer a tempting solution for seniors who need to sell their home quickly, it's important to be cautious and do your due diligence before agreeing to anything. By consulting with professionals, you can help protect your aging loved one from falling victim to unscrupulous tactics. Making an informed decision can save your family thousands of dollars.
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