5 Important Questions a Seller Should Ask an Off-Market Buyer
Selling your home off-market can be tempting if you want to avoid the hassles of a traditional sale or just need to sell a home quickly. Perhaps you’re relocating, or don’t have the money to put into fixing up the house before listing it. If you’ve already got a buyer in mind, even better. This process can be faster and less stressful than putting your home on the market, especially if your home is in less-than-great condition.
What is an Off-Market Listing?
Selling a house off-market simply means you don’t go through the formal process of hiring a realtor to list your home in the local multiple listing service (MLS). These are called “off-market listings” or sometimes “pocket listings.” You may still be working with a realtor, or you may have told a couple of key people that you’re motivated to sell your house to see if there are interested buyers. You may even have contacted a real estate investment company to see how much they would offer you as-is for your property.
Benefits to Selling Off-Market
- Sell Faster. If you’ve already identified a buyer, and they’re purchasing with cash, the closing can happen much faster than a traditional sale—sometimes as little as 7 days.
- You can sell your home as-is. You won’t have to make repairs and usually won’t have to deal with inspections.
- Flexible Closing Timeline. Whether you need to sell fast, or need time to pull everything together, you can negotiate a closing timeline that works for you.
- No Realtor Commissions. Realtors can charge up to 6% of the sales price of the house, which is split with the agent that brings the buyer. You’ll save on realtor fees by selling off-market.
- Privacy. Many home sellers want to sell off-market because they can’t or don’t want to prepare the home for showing. The home might be filled with junk or there may be a lot of repairs to make. When you sell off-market, you won’t have to prepare your home for open houses and last-minute showings.
So, say you’ve decided to sell your home off-market, and a buyer has reached out. Whether that buyer is an individual or an established company, here are the questions you should clarify before agreeing to sell to them.
Questions to Ask Off-Market Buyer
1. How are they financing the purchase?
Does this buyer have cash on hand or are they going to need to finance the home through a traditional mortgage loan? The traditional financing process can take longer whereas a buyer with cash on hand will be able to close faster and with less hurdles than ones required by lenders.
2. What is their proof of funds?
Does this buyer have proof of funds or a pre-approval letter? If they are providing a pre-approval letter, remember that is not a guarantee that they will close. A pre-approval letter is only a commitment from a lender to provide a buyer with a home loan. They will still have to go through the loan process, which can mean inspections and appraisals.
A proof of funds letter is a document showing cash funds available for purchase. It can be provided by the buyer’s bank. This can be a letter on the bank’s letter head stating the account holder’s name and confirming the funds in the account. In some cases, a recent account statement may also suffice. These funds should be liquid and not tied up in stocks or a retirement fund.
3. What is their past experience?
Is this buyer completely new to the home buying process? If a friend of a friend is just getting started in real estate investing, you may want to scrutinize their venture more closely. If possible, ask to see a list of properties they have purchased so far and how those transactions went. What was the closing timeline? Did everything go smoothly? What was the intention of buying the property? Answering these questions will ensure that you’re selling to the right person for the right reasons.
4. What is their reputation?
Ask to see testimonials. A legitimate individual or company should be able to provide a few reviews from past clients about their experience. The Better Business Bureau, Google, Facebook and real estate specific sites are a few places to check if you’re concerned their reputation is not great. If they have no reviews at all, or a lot of negative reviews, that can be a red flag and may require you to dig further for information.
5. Do you need representation?
When selling your house off-market, you may or may not be working with a realtor. If you are working with a realtor, you’ve likely hammered out some sort of agreement that can be a flat fee or a percentage of the sales price (usually up to 6% of the sales price to find a buyer). However, if you’re not working with a realtor—and you should know that you don’t have to when selling your home—it might be easier and more cost effective to work with a real estate attorney at an hourly rate to help you review your paperwork and make sure you’re getting a fair deal.
When it comes to selling your home, you have options. If you think selling your house to an off-market buyer might be a solution for you, go ahead and request an offer. We aim to be the fast, local and straightforward way to sell your house in the Seattle area. You’ll get an all-cash offer and flexible closing timeline, so you can close on your terms.
Beachworks LLC local, family-owned company in north Seattle committed to improving the value of our community. For those who need to sell their homes quickly and privately, we we provide an all cash offer and close on your timeline.