Off-market investors & mailbox offers to buy


Dear David,

My house needs some repairs and it’s a bit of a mess. I’d like to downsize, but don’t want to bother my kids. I received a note in my mailbox from someone who wants to buy my house “as-is” for cash. Should I give them a call? – CONTEMPLATING

DEAR CONTEMPLATING: Notes like these are increasingly common — I find them in my own mailbox on a regular basis. They often look handwritten and are worded to sound folksy and friendly, as if they were coming from your next-door neighbour.

Don’t be misled. While these notes appear to be personal, the buyers behind them are shrewd off-market investors in search of vulnerable homeowners. By offering a quick and easy sale, they hope to attract elderly homeowners who worry that selling a dated or cluttered home could be a burden to their children, or uninformed and possibly debt-ridden sellers in search of what appears to be the cheapest way to sell their home.

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By promising to buy homes right now, as-is, without agents or inspectors, the investors are hoping to steer homeowners away from professional real estate advice, so they can snag properties for significantly less than the market value they would bring if listed on the MLS system. Selling off-market and without representation leaves a homeowner completely unprotected, and by not exposing their home to the market, they risk leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

Meanwhile, investors are keenly aware of what these properties are worth. Some will flip them for closer to market value before the initial sale even closes, and make a tidy, low-risk profit in the process. If this were to happen, the investor who wrote you an offer may never appear on title, nor would they take ownership of your home.

If you have a vulnerable person in your life, especially if they are out of town, I urge you to be on the lookout for tactics like these. In a world where few people send personal hand-written notes, homeowners may be duped into thinking that wholesale or off-market investors have their best interests in mind.

PRO TIP: If you’re wondering what your home is worth, please reach out for help. A complimentary, no charge, no obligation market evaluation is always available from me or one of my fellow professional Realtors.

P.S. If anyone has had experience working with one of these wholesale or off-market buyers, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear more about it. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212