They pop up overnight like plastic dandelions. These signs offer to give us cash to buy our house. There is a phone number… is it that easy? Sort of, but there is another issue that needs to be looked at. Should you even consider calling that number or not?
Signs on the side of the road or tied to poles at intersections are called Bandit Signs. Many types of companies use them, and it has become a popular way for people to try and buy off-market houses.
Is it just entrepreneurial and cost effective marketing? It works, and in some places, it works well. Imagine you could spend as little as $3 to put up a sign and you could make $10,000. Why fault someone who is a gorilla investor? Investors are repairing vacant houses and helping neighborhoods improve, so is it really a big deal?
There are three big reasons why I suggest that you should not call those WE BUY HOUSES signs if you are needing to sell your house fast…
1. It is illegal
Many cities across the USA (including Fort Worth, and most cities in the DFW metroplex) have laws that forbid these signs. They are called Bandit signs because you can pay someone to go around town and put these up at night. In order to not get caught by code compliance, they will use non-traceable numbers, will send your call to voice mail, or use off shore assistants who do not know who they work for.
Not all signs are illegal. It is not illegal to post a sign on private property with the consent of the owner. Real Estate agents will put signs in the yard of houses they are selling, roofing contractors will offer to waive the deductible portion of your roof replacement if they can put a sign in your yard for a month. It is not illegal to put a magnet sign on your car, or a banner on your fence (as long as your HOA approves it).
2. You don’t know who they are
The signs are designed to give as little information as possible and to peak your interest with solving a need you may have. But the fact that you can’t research who you are talking to, you have no information on their history, or legitimacy of their business practice is concerning. If they do it well, then you will not be able to look up the phone number since they are dodging enforcement officers.
The one thing you do know is that they are willing to break the law to try and get your attention. To me, this tells you a lot about their character. What else will they hide or not be so truthful about?
3. There are better options
I don’t have any problem with people who are trying to earn a living. I would not fault anyone for looking for cost effective ways to compete against large corporate-owned investment companies. In order for a business to survive, you have to be able to make a profit after all the costs, fees, and expenses. But breaking the law and littering our communities is not the way to do business. Trust is a big deal when you are dealing with selling something as large as a home. If you are considering selling your house to an investor, I highly suggest doing research and making sure you are dealing with folks who are transparent with who they are and what they do.
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