If you need to sell your home quickly in Iowa, especially in a rural area, you might think that a “homes for cash” buyer is the best option. After all, you don’t want to take months to sell your home, and it may even need some repairs.

It’s certainly an appealing idea, especially if you think of the real estate process as a major hassle. However, once you really understand what the fast cash buyers are up to, you might change your mind.

How much can you really expect from them? What will they do with your home once they buy it? Is it really a good deal?

Here’s what you need to know.

Are Iowa “We Buy Houses for Cash” Companies Legit?

How do companies that buy homes for cash in Iowa work? How are they able to take a home in almost any condition, and do it so quickly?

Essentially, these companies function as home-flippers. They buy a house in almost any condition for a significantly lower price than market value. Then they either sell it immediately for a significant profit, or they fix it up and then sell it for a profit.

Fast cash buyers move very quickly. Once you contact one, they will arrange to meet with you right away. They will generally have an offer in hand and urge you to sign it immediately. The speed is framed as being helpful to you, but the truth is that it saves them money and doesn’t give you much time to think things through.

While all “we buy for cash” companies are looking to make a big profit from you, some are actual scams. Make sure you know the name of the company you’re dealing with, and check their Better Business Bureau ratings, along with any other reviews you can find.

Before you believe the reviews, make sure they’re from sellers, not from those who bought the homes on the other side.

Finally, watch for any company that asks for a fee or commission upfront. The company is already offering you a low price for your home, so there should not be any fees, especially before the deal closes. If they require prepayment, run the other direction.

How Much Will a Cash Buyer Pay For Your Iowa Home?

Many fast cash buyers will ask you how much you still owe on your mortgage. Generally, they target this number and won’t pay a dollar more. They want you to agree to the sale while maximizing their own profit.

Some companies instead focus on offering you a percentage of the market price, usually between 50% – 70%. While they’ll take an Iowa home in almost any area or condition, you can be sure that homes that are at all difficult to sell will receive a significantly lower offer.

The median home value in Iowa is $149,100. Let’s say you receive an offer of 65%, which is $96,915. Not a bad amount of money, right? The problem is you left over $52,000 on the table — money that will go into the cash buyer company’s pocket.

On the other hand, selling with a Realtor can get you 125% of the home’s value, or $186,375. That’s almost twice as much money! And don’t think you have to pay 6% commission — in fact, you can find low-fee full-service Realtors.

Remember, your home still has a strong market value. Who should get to take advantage of it — you, or a fast cash buyer?

Iowa iBuyer and Cash Buyer Reviews

If you search for a fast cash home buyer in Iowa, you’ll be inundated with results. Before you call them, be sure to check their website and their reviews (including the BBB) to make sure they’re legitimate. Here a few you might find:

FinallySold.com. Finally Sold claims to offer 80% of the home’s market value, which is higher than most buyers. Don’t be surprised, however, if they find several reasons to lower the offer significantly. They will contact you to set up a meeting as soon as you reach out, and give you a cash offer right away. Unfortunately, their only BBB review is negative.

Des Moines Home Buyers, LLC. Des Moines is Iowa’s largest city, a growing area that makes it simple to sell homes quickly with a Realtor. This fast cash company seems to be run by one individual and has strong reviews. Many are from people selling a deceased relative’s home that was in poor condition.

HighestCashOffer.com. This company buys homes all over the country. Like other cash buyers, they will meet with you, make an offer, and close quickly. Their Iowa page mentions Georgia, which makes you wonder about attention to detail. Unfortunately, some of their Google reviews seem to be fake.

In all of these cases, the people who had the best experience seem to be those who needed to make significant repairs to a home but simply couldn’t. They were willing to take what cash they could get and let someone else fix and make a profit on the home.

Sell Your House For Cash vs. a Full-Service Local Real Estate Agent

As we’ve shown, a fast-cash buyer will give you a maximum of 80% of your home’s market value if it’s in perfect condition in a great market. Otherwise, you will get far less.

On the other hand, what can you expect with a full-service Realtor? If your home is in good shape, they will be able to help you sell quickly, and probably for more than you think. Even if your home is a “fixer-upper,” you’re likely to get much more from it with a Realtor than a cash buyer will offer.

What about the cost? Despite what many think, working with a Realtor does not have to be expensive. In fact, with a Clever Partner Agent, you can pay a low flat fee of $3,000 or 1% of the home’s price if it sells over $350,000.

With a professional agent, you get the ability to improve the home to command a higher price. You can also take advantage of a variety of ways to sell your home fast in Iowa. As a result, you’ll get a lot more cash in your pocket and be able to sell quickly as well.