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Watch Out for “We Buy Houses” Home Buying Scams

If you live in Philadelphia, chances are you have seen countless examples of the “We Buy Homes” signs that are posted in different neighborhoods across the city, you may have even been targeted or contacted by one of these scammers. Due to the rising property values in some Philadelphia neighborhoods, scammers are motivated to push and pressure long term residents into selling their homes for “quick cash,” often for far below market value.

From an article in WHYY, “Residential property wholesalers use predatory tactics and target our most vulnerable residents to profit from the equity those residents have built over the years. Wholesalers go into the homes of seniors and pressure them to sign sales contracts on the spot.  They convince those whose homes need repairs or are at risk of foreclosure to sell for well under market value, even when residents do not want to leave their communities and might have options to save their homes.”

Residents who are experiencing foreclosure or are in need of home repairs should avoid these scams and turn to better and more trustworthy community partners, like Clarifi, which can provide residents with foreclosure assistance and keep them in their homes, or get them access to low-interest home repair loans through the Restore, Repair, Renew program.  Programs like these prevent people from losing their homes or being displaced, and are intended to protect Philadelphians and the intergenerational wealth they have created through their homes.

From the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia:

“On December 1, 2020, Mayor Kenney signed a new law that will curb the worst abuses in this industry.

This new law will:

  • Require residential property wholesalers to provide homeowners with a Bill of Rights at least three days before a sale.
  • Require residential property wholesalers to be licensed with the City and follow a code of ethics.
  • Give homeowners important new rights when residential property wholesalers do not follow the law.
  • Create a Do Not Solicit list that homeowners can join if they do not want to receive solicitations to sell their house.
  • Assess a fine of up to $2,000 if a wholesaler tries to get homeowners on the Do Not Solicit list to sell their home.”

The new law comes into effect on February 1, 2021. Homeowners that are interested in joining the Do Not Solicit list should check in with the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia once the new law is put into place on the first.