Sundae: Reviews, How It Works, Top Alternatives

Katy Byrom

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Katy Byrom

June 10th, 2022
Updatedย June 10th, 2022

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What is Sundae? | Is Sundae right for you? | Pros and cons | Locations | How it works | Sundae reviews | Top alternatives | Sundae for investors

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Sundae is an online marketplace that connects home sellers to investors willing to bid on as-is properties with all-cash offers.

The company offers an alternative to homeowners who might want to avoid the traditional listing process and sell directly to a buyer โ€” for example, if they're behind on their mortgage or having trouble keeping up with repairs.

Unlike other "We Buy Houses" companies, which offer sellers a single take-it-or-leave-it price, Sundae helps sellers gain exposure to a nationwide network of active property investors.

Sundae's marketplace is also completely free to home sellers. Buyers are responsible for covering service fees, closing costs, and repairs.

While selling costs are low with Sundae, the final sale price you get might be as well. Exposure to multiple investors can attract competing bids, but cash investors will usually only pay up to about 70% of a home's estimated resale value โ€” minus the costs of repairs.

If your home is in good condition, consider an iBuyer like Offerpad. You can request a free, no-obligation offer on your home in just minutes.

Enter your ZIP code to see if you qualify for an instant cash offer from Offerpad. ๐Ÿ‘‡

What is Sundae Real Estate?

Launched in 2018, Sundae is a real estate start-up that helps sellers market their homes to investors who purchase properties for cash โ€” at no cost to the seller.

Sundae's platform caters to homeowners with distressed or hard-to-sell properties that simply don't appeal to most buyers.

Rather than having to sell to a typical "We Buy Houses" company offering pennies on the dollar, Sundae's marketplace gives homeowners the chance to get the highest off-market value for their home by drawing multiple competing bids from its network of 2,600 investors.

According to Sundae:

  • Homeowners receive around 10 bids on average and choose a buyer based on the three highest offers.
  • The average difference between low and high offers for a home listed on its site is $71,000.

Operating under the slogan "home buyers with heart," Sundae distinguishes itself from other companies that buy houses for cash by promoting a mission of helping homeowners get the best outcome when selling a house that "needs some love." The company recently earned the endorsement of talk show host Dr. Phil.

In addition to its marketplace, Sundae offers funding options and education for real estate investors โ€” including a podcast geared toward women investors. It also offers sellers cash advances of up to $10,000 to help with moving and other expenses before receiving the rest of their payout at closing.

ยป JUMP: How Sundae works for investors

Reviews of Sundae are largely positive, with sellers citing a fast, easy process and better-than-expected offers on their homes (though not always).

The company currently operates in 26 markets, with plans for further expansion following an $80 million Series C funding round in 2021.

Are Sundae's home buyers legit?

Sundae's home buyers are legitimate real estate investors who use its online marketplace to bid on investment properties and purchase them for cash.

To access Sundae's marketplace, investors go through a self-service vetting process that includes providing a social security number or speaking with an onboarding agent to confirm their identity.

However, Sundae does NOT require investors to provide proof of funds or evidence of prior real estate investments.

To keep costs down for the sellers, Sundae requires investors to pay:

  • A 5โ€“7% buyer's fee on each property sold
  • All closing costs
  • Repair and cleaning expenses, including the removal of any items left behind by the seller

As added protection for sellers, Sundae enforces a zero-tolerance policy for investors reaching out or driving by a property without a seller's permission. Any user who does so will be dismissed from the platform.

Where do Sundae's home buyers operate?

Sundae.com currently provides off-market listing services in 26 major metros spanning the following states: CA, CO, FL, GA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA.

Sundae has a much smaller footprint than many other cash buyers, such as national "We Buy Houses" brands. So if you need cash right away โ€” and don't live in one of Sundae's services areas โ€” you might want to look into a competitor such as HomeVestors or We Buy Houses.

ยป JUMP: Alternatives to Sundae

However, before calling up any company offering to buy your home for cash, we recommend talking to an experienced real estate agent. Ask for their opinion of your best- and worst-case scenarios selling on the open market. That way, you can weigh a cash buyer's offer before deciding who to work with.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Find out how much your home is really worth!

Connect with the best agents from top brokerages in your area, and receive a free home valuation! In addition, when you list with Clever you'll also get:

  • A discounted listing fee of just 1% with top local agents

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  • No upfront fees — you only pay when your home sells

Should you use Sundae.com to sell your home?

If youโ€™re considering selling directly to a cash buyer, Sundae is one of the better options because you can get multiple bids for your house and sell on your timeline. However, it's not right for everybody.

Most sellers come to Sundae when dealing with less-than-ideal circumstances:

  • Impending foreclosure
  • A home that needs extensive cosmetic updates or repairs
  • A rental property with bad tenants
  • A sudden or unexpected life event
  • An inherited home that you can't devote time or resources to

In a difficult or urgent situation, homeowners can turn to Sundae to sell their home "as is" โ€” avoiding the costly and time-consuming headache of getting a property prepped for the market.

On the flip side, if your home is already in good condition and you're simply looking to avoid the selling process, a platform like Sundae might prove a disappointment.

While most traditional buyers look for move-in ready homes, investors seek opportunities to buy properties at a bargain and "flip" them for a profit after repairs and remodeling. While the median home price in the U.S. in 2021 was $318,000, investors paid a median of just $260,000.

Pros and cons of selling on Sundae.com

โœ… Pros
  • Zero home prep: You donโ€™t need to worry about making repairs or cleaning out your house.
  • Competitive offers: Because Sundae invites its entire network of investors to bid on your home, you get multiple offers to choose from.
  • Fast, all-cash sales: Once you accept an offer, you can set your own closing date within a window of 10โ€“60 days.
  • Smooth process: Reviews of Sundae are generally positive, with sellers praising its customer service and hassle-free process.
  • Cash advances: Once you sign a purchase agreement, you can get up to $10,000 right away to help with expenses before the rest of your funds are delivered at closing.
โŒ Cons
  • Below-market offers: Because investors buy homes to make a profit, offers on your home will typically be less than its fair market value.
  • Longer wait time for offers: While many cash buyer companies can provide an offer within 24โ€“48 hours, Sundae requires a full inspection before listing your home. It also has a 3-day bidding period before you can review offers.
  • Limited availability: Sundae is currently only available to sellers in 26 metro areas, mostly concentrated on the West Coast and in the Southeastern U.S.

Sundae Real Estate reviews and complaints

Sundae reviews are mostly positive. The company has an average rating of 4.6 across multiple review sites, including the Better Business Bureau[1] and Yelp.[2]


Average rating
Total reviews
Yelp
4
67
Reviews.io
4.8
359
Better Business Bureau
3.79
47
Weighted average
4.6
473

Most sellers are happy with Sundae's service

In review after review, sellers praise Sundae's professionalism, smooth process, and excellent customer service. Sellers often even express surprise at the strength of the offers they received.

Some sellers are unhappy with the offers from Sundae home buyers

While many sellers on Sundae's marketplace claim to have received much higher offers than expected, others are disappointed.

Unfortunately, investors aren't bound to the estimates that Sundae provides, and some homes on the platform have sold for as much as $200,000 less than anticipated. A few reviews also mention offers that were lowered or rescinded altogether AFTER the sellers had already accepted.

Some Sundae customers are disappointed after finding out how much an investor made after reselling their property later on. One customer gave a one-star review after seeing their former home sell for $100,000 more than they'd been offered just six weeks earlier.

However, low offers are the norm when selling to an investor, so if price is your top concern, you might want to consider talking to a real estate agent about your options.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Find top local agents, save thousands on realtor fees!

Several complaints mention being spammed by Sundae

Most of Sundae's negative reviews aren't actually from sellers but from homeowners who've made their way onto Sundae's mailing list and continue to receive unwanted mail despite repeated requests to be removed.

How does Sundae compare with alternatives?


Sundae
"We Buy Houses" company
iBuyer
Top agent
Editor's take
๐Ÿ’ธ Best off-market value
๐Ÿค Faster offers, wider coverage
๐Ÿš€ Higher offers, stricter criteria
๐Ÿ’ฐ Best price, hands-on service
% of market value offered
50โ€“85%
50โ€“70%
98โ€“99%
100%+
Service fee or commission
0%
0%
5โ€“10%
4โ€“6%
Avg. time to offer
4 days
1โ€“7 days
3โ€“7 days
7โ€“36 days
Avg. closing time
10โ€“60 days, flexible
1โ€“4 weeks
7โ€“90 days, flexible
30โ€“45 days

Sundae vs. 'We Buy Houses' companies

Cash buyers such as "We Buy Houses" companies allow you to offload a property quickly โ€” sometimes in as little as a week. They also tend to have larger service areas in the U.S., with some brands like HomeVestors operating franchises in 49 states.

However, offers from companies that actually purchase homes for cash are usually non-negotiable. So if you want a better price, you'll have to find another buyer.

Sundae takes a different approach by soliciting offers from multiple investors at once. With more offers to choose from, selling on Sundae gives you a better chance of getting a decent price for your home โ€” though it probably won't be as much as you'd get on the open market.

ยป COMPARE: 12 Best Companies That Buy Houses for Cash

Sundae vs. a top real estate agent

If you have a little wiggle room with your timeline, an established agent can help you sell your home fast โ€” and for a much better deal than the 70 cents on the dollar offered by cash buyer companies.

As an example, we spoke to Nathan Clark, who leads a top-performing real estate team in Rhode Island and has helped many clients in need of a fast home sale. One of his clients had inherited a home that wasn't in good condition and needed to sell it within a week.

There was no time for a full rehab โ€” and TONS of clutter โ€” so Clark hired a junk removal company for $850 and focused on making the home look brighter, tidier, and more spacious.

Within five days, Clark had the house completely cleared out and professionally cleaned. During that time, he contacted hundreds of buyers in his database and invited them to drive by the home so they'd be ready to make offers when it was listed.

If listed "as is," Clark estimated that the home would have sold for about $300,000 after 30 days on the market. However, after a few days of decluttering, the sellers ended up with an offer of $350,000 within 48 hours of being listed.

If you want to sell quickly, says Clark, "Research your agent and price the home right for the market."

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Sundae vs. iBuyers

If you're determined to avoid listing your home on the market, an iBuyer is another option to consider.

Compared with "We Buy Houses" companies, iBuyers like Offerpad and Opendoor pay much closer to fair market value for homes โ€” usually right around 98โ€“99%. However, iBuyers tend to have much stricter purchase criteria.

Rather than buying homes "as is" to fix up, iBuyers look for homes in decent condition that they can quickly resell for a small profit. They make money by charging sellers services fees of 5โ€“10% in exchange for taking on the required prep work.

Each iBuyer has slightly different purchase requirements, but most look for well-maintained, fairly cookie-cutter homes that fall within a certain price range for the area. Like Sundae, iBuyers operate in limited markets, usually concentrated around large metros with healthy real estate markets.

If you're not sure whether your home will qualify, it doesn't hurt to hop on an iBuyer's website and submit your information. In most cases, youโ€™ll receive an offer (or rejection) within 24โ€“48 hours โ€” with no obligation to commit.

ยป COMPARE: The Best 6 iBuyer Companies Ranked & Reviewed

How does Sundae work for sellers?

If you're interested in receiving offers from Sundae's home buyers, the process is simple:

  1. Submit your information. Start by submitting basic information about your property online or by phone to see if your property is eligible.
  2. Book a home visit. If your property qualifies, Sundae will schedule a walk-through with one of its local "market experts," who will take professional photos and provide an estimate of how much investors might pay for your home. If you decide to move forward, you'll sign an agreement giving Sundae permission to list your home on its marketplace.
  3. Complete a home inspection. Sundae works with third-party home inspectors who will examine your home and complete an inspection report for your property's online profile.
  4. Go live on Sundae's marketplace. Once your home is posted on Sundae's marketplace, investors can begin bidding. All bids are non-contingent, cash offers โ€” meaning the buyer can't back out after entering into a purchase contract. If they do, they'll forfeit the $20,000 deposit they're required to put down on the home.
  5. Review offers. After four business days, you can review the highest offers from investors. You can still back out without penalty, as long as you do so BEFORE signing a purchase agreement with the investor.
  6. Close the deal. Once you sign a contract with the investor, you can receive a $10,000 cash advance from Sundae to help with any expenses. You can expect to close in as little as 10 days or as long as 60 days, depending on your timeline.

How much does Sundae cost?

Sellers pay zero fees when using sundae.com to sell their home โ€” not even for the inspection conducted on your home. Instead, all expenses are shifted to the buyer.

However, what Sundae home buyers pay in fees, sellers will probably more than make up for in lost profits.

Investors on platforms like Sundae look to buy low to avoid losing money when they take on the risk of a home flip. Their offers will reflect:

  • The amount of profit they think they can get from a home, weighed against the amount of time, effort, and risk involved in doing the repairs and remodel
  • The amount of work that needs to be done (based on the photos, virtual tour, and inspection report included on the online property profile
  • How much they'll pay in buyer's fees and closing costs

Because buyers assume all of the costs of doing business on Sundae's marketplace, you can typically expect offers that are well below market value for your home.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Clever can help you sell fast and for top dollar!

Before selling your home to an investor or flipper for cash, it pays to talk to a real estate agent about your options.

Our licensed concierge team can connect you with top-rated agents who know how fast homes are selling in your area โ€” and how to find a buyer quickly while earning the most money from your sale.

How does Sundae's marketplace work for investors?

Sundae.com offers investors three membership tiers: Essential, Edge, and Edge+.

Sundae's Essential plan lets you view all properties listed on its marketplace, but you can only bid on homes located in your primary market, which you select when you sign up.

While the Essential plan is free for investors, you won't have access to a lot of the site's more useful tools โ€” such as insights that show you how your offers compare with other investors on the marketplace.

Investors with the Edge plan get bidding rights in three markets and access to all of the site's tools and features. Edge+ offers the same features as Edge, but gives investors the ability to bid in any of Sundae's markets nationwide.

Signing up

Sundae's investor memberships can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis, with a 20% discount if you pay the annual membership fee up front.

When you sign up for a membership online, you'll need to verify your identity by providing your contact information and Social Security number. You can also be onboarded over the phone if you don't wish to submit sensitive information online.

ยป COMPARE: Sundae's investor marketplace vs. DealMachine

Bidding process

Once Sundae approves your account, you can start searching for and bidding on active listings, which will include property information, photos, a 3D tour, a third-party inspection report, and the seller's asking price. In some cases, sellers might also choose to hold an investor showing leading up to the three-day auction period.

If your bid on a home ends up in the top three, you'll work with Sundae to write up a purchase agreement and send it to the seller to review. If your offer is chosen, you'll need to put down a $20,000 non-refundable deposit to hold the home.

Investors who use Sundae to bid on properties are responsible for all transaction costs, including:

  • 5โ€“7% buyer's fee, which varies by property value and market
  • $1,000 admin fee
  • Buyer and seller closings costs
  • $250 per day late fee for any closing delays requested by the buyer
  • All expenses related to repairs, cleaning, and removal of personal items from the property

Sundae Funding

In 2022, Sundae launched Sundae Funding to help investors finance their purchases.

The company claims to offer investors competitive rates and quick pre-approvals, with underwriting documents reviewed only once a year.

In addition to financing the purchase price, Sundae Funding can also cover remodeling and construction costs. For members who use Sundae Funding to close a deal on Sundae's marketplace, the company promises five-day closings and waives late fees for any financing delays.

Sundae for home buyers: Sundae Homes

Sundae Homes is a residential real estate brokerage owned by Sundae, Inc. Based in Los Angeles, the brokerage specializes in marketing and selling renovated homes โ€” primarily those refurbished by Sundae investors.

While there are currently only a few homes listed on their website, home buyers in the Los Angeles area can browse listings and request showings on sundaehomes.com.

FAQs about Sundae Real Estate

Sundae is a legitimate marketplace that helps home sellers attract cash offers from investors. Reviews of Sundae praise its end-to-end customer service (including a cash advance) and ability to drive relatively competitive offers from investors. Read what customers have to say about Sundae!

There are no fees for using Sundae, and you'll also get to skip closing costs. However, it's important to keep in mind that investors typically pay 50โ€“70% of a home's fair market value โ€” so even with these savings, you still might earn less than you could on the open market. Compare Sundae to other companies that buy houses for cash.

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ARTICLE SOURCES
[1]

Better Business Bureau. "Sundae, Inc."ย Accessed May 24, 2022.

[2]

Yelp. "Sundae."ย Accessed May 24, 2022.

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