Special Reports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)- Have you ever considered selling your home for cash? Following the devastation of Hurricane Michael, it’s a thought that’s crossed a number of residents minds. 

In a sense, community members would like to fix up their homes, but some homes may be so damaged that the insurance money just won’t cover the needed repairs.

According to a local realtor, Lacy Horsley, she said you don’t have to worry about fixing your home before putting it on the market, but not doing so can come with some limitations. 

“We can sell a home in any condition. A home can be move-in ready, or the home can be completely destroyed. What makes a difference for us is the type of funding that you’re going to use to purchase the property. If you have cash, you can buy anything you want but if you’re using financing, then that’s going to limit what home you can purchase.” said Lacy Horsely.

For those homes in the areas impacted by the hurricane, the Florida Association of Realtors has a system for identifying how badly homes are damaged. “We actually have a color-coding system which is really great with our local association of realtors now. It actually helps us realtors to determine before we actually show a home what we’re looking at as far as has a home had damage that has not been completed,” said Horsley. 

If you’re not sure what to do with your home, it doesn’t hurt to ask a professional to weigh in on your situation.

“I would recommend contacting a real estate professional, like myself. We have a lot of great realtors in our community and that would really be the best place to start,” said Lacy Horsley. 

After the storm, signs were popping up all over intersections all with the same message: “We buy your home for cash”. The majority of those signs had nothing more than that and a phone number. While an upfront, cash offer for your home sounds intriguing, is it safe? 

Martin Sandel, a territory manager with TheFriendlyHomeBuyer.com, is well-versed in the world of buying homes for cash. Their company is based in Bay County and they have bought and sold a number of homes, not just in the Panhandle. 

Sandel said it’s a fairly easy process. “No closing costs, no commission, the owner doesn’t have to do anything to the property, and we just pay cash and they move on with their life,” he said.

He said with the conditions caused by the storm, more people are considering going a different route than putting their home up on the market. 

“They don’t want to fix the house up, they don’t want to have showings, they don’t want to have the uncertainty of what they will sell it for, if they will sell it, how long it will take to sell with people coming through their house, but that’s certainly an option but it’s a lot different than what we do,” said Sandel. 

However, it’s not just homeowners struggling when it comes to making repairs. “Some of the biggest struggles that we’re facing is actually being able to have contractors and handymen come out and actually get to those repairs before the home closes,” said Lacy Horsley.

While they do buy homes for cash, Sandel wants to clarify that they are not the same as the people who put out signs. He warns against calling any of those companies without first doing your research. 

“You want to make sure you’re dealing with someone who has the cash, has the integrity, and will follow through,” said Sandel. 

Sandel said not only will a legitimate company show you proof of funds, but they’ll also have an inspector come out and look at the home before making the investment of buying the residence. Once the home is looked at, it can take as little as a week to receive cash for your property. 

“We look at the structure. We look at the foundation, is the foundation shifting? Is there hurricane damage that has created issues inside or was the roof prepared quickly? Is there mold? Mold makes it more expensive to remediate. We also look at parts of the home that can be salvaged,” he said.

However, the amount of damage will impact the amount of cash offered for the property. “We don’t want to insult them with the offer that we make, but sometimes we have to tell them that the damage from the hurricane usually, is so bad here that we couldn’t put enough money into the house and still make a profit,” said Sandel. 

Their job is to buy the home at a price that would allow them to make necessary repairs or sell it to someone willing to complete the repairs and still be able to make a decent profit off of the transaction. Sandel said it’s not just the inspection that can hold a house up, but other issues as well. While he said they do their best to assist a homeowner through this process, sometimes it’s not that simple. 

“We often will tell the homeowner that we’ll incur the probate costs and help you through that process because that could delay the process. It could be that there are several owners of the home. If there are 3 owners and 2 say they want to sell and the third says they don’t, then there’s no deal. So there are issues that pop up including having leans on the house that we didn’t know about,” said Sandel. 

In any event, whether buying or selling a home, it’s important to do your research and check if the proper permits were pulled when it comes to construction. Mike Horsley works in construction and post-storm they’ve been busier than ever, working on over 100 homes. 

Horsely said especially when buying one of these homes in the impacted areas, always do your due diligence. 

“It’s a buyer beware. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to go back to the people they bought it from unless it was advertised that it had permits but that’s why we recommend that if you’re going to buy a home, get a home inspection,” said CEO of Horsley Construction Group, Mike Horsley. 

With any decision, you plan to make, whether it be selling for cash upfront or putting your house on the market, be sure to consult an expert first and address any questions or issues you may have.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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