What is We Buy Ugly Houses? | How does it work? | Locations | How much does it pay? | We Buy Ugly Houses reviews | Is it legit? | Pros and cons | Alternatives
We Buy Ugly Houses is a franchise of cash home buyers who, yes, buy ugly houses. According to most We Buy Ugly Houses reviews, the company isn’t a scam. It has legitimate operators who do business under the We Buy Ugly Houses brand name.
The catch is that some We Buy Ugly Houses franchisees won’t pay anything close to what you could make selling conventionally. That’s the trade-off for a fast, easy sale.
Before you sign a contract with We Buy Ugly Houses, we recommend getting additional offers from other cash home buyers in your area. Comparing multiple offers will give you more options and help you be confident that you’re getting a fair price for your home.
If you’d like to get cash offers quickly, Clever Offers is the best place to start. Clever can connect you with a top local realtor who’ll bring you offers from trustworthy cash home buyers. You’ll also get a free home price analysis, so you can discover what your house is worth on the open market. Get cash offers from top local buyers now!
What is We Buy Ugly Houses?
|📍 Locations||More than 800 local franchises across 44 states and Washington, DC|
|⏱️ Time to offer||24–48 hours|
|📅 Time to close||As little as 3 weeks|
|✅ What customers love||Fast, easy transaction with flexible closing times|
|❌ Common complaints||Low offers, limited ability to negotiate price|
|⭐ Customer reviews||4.4 out of 5 across 1590 reviews|
The We Buy Ugly Houses business model is very simple. The company:
- Looks for financially distressed homeowners with undervalued properties in subpar condition (“ugly houses”)
- Offers quick cash payments at below-market prices
- Quickly renovates and flips the properties or rents them out
We Buy Ugly Houses can be a viable option for sellers who:
- Are under extreme time pressure because of a divorce, an impending move, or other circumstances
- Have inherited property after a death in the family
- Have a property that’s vacant or unwanted
- Have a property that’s in disrepair, and they can’t afford the cost of fixes or renovation
We Buy Ugly Houses will purchase almost any property, no matter how poor the condition.
How does We Buy Ugly Houses work?
If you sell your home with We Buy Ugly Houses, you can expect to take these steps:
- Submit information about your home. Contact your local We Buy Ugly Houses franchisee online or over the phone, and give basic information about your property, such as location, age, condition, and square footage.
- Schedule an inspection. We Buy Ugly Houses views the property, often within 24 hours. After inspecting the property, an agent from the company makes a cash offer. This offer is usually non-negotiable — in other words, it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
- Accept the cash offer. If you decide to accept the offer, you sign a purchase agreement and choose a closing date. Cash buyers like We Buy Ugly Houses can offer much more flexibility on closing dates than traditional buyers since there’s no financing involved.
- Get paid. You can finalize the deal, cash in hand, in as little as two to five weeks.
Independently operated franchises
We Buy Ugly Houses is a cash buyer brand owned by HomeVestors. It licenses the name out to franchisees, who work locally as independent operators.
Each We Buy Ugly Houses franchisee has been trained by the parent company, but they work without any oversight or guidance. Your experience may vary based on your local franchise. This makes it doubly important for you to check the reviews and references for any We Buy Ugly Houses buyer you’re thinking of working with.
We Buy Ugly Houses locations
We Buy Ugly Houses has franchise offices in 45 states and Washington, DC, with multiple locations in many counties or cities.
How much does We Buy Ugly Houses pay?
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule for how much the company offers, most franchisees seem to follow the 70% rule. The 70% rule means the buyer offers no more than 70% of the house’s after repair value (ARV), minus the cost of repairs and renovations. This ensures the buyer can reliably turn a profit on a property.
Here’s a breakdown of how We Buy Ugly Houses compares to listing on the open market, assuming the company uses the 70% rule:
|Repairing and listing your home||Selling to We Buy Ugly Houses|
|Sale price||$180,000 (full ARV)||$96,000 (70% of ARV)|
|Cost of repairs||–$30,000||$0|
|Closing costs and commission*||–$16,200||$0|
If you don’t have the money to pay for repairs up front, or if your home’s drawbacks are due to factors beyond your control, like location, a cash buyer could be exactly what you need.
Keep in mind that 70% is the theoretical maximum the company can pay you and still make a profit. If We Buy Ugly Houses can persuade you to take 60% or even 50% of the ARV, it’ll make even more money off the transaction. Some anecdotal reports claim that We Buy Ugly Houses offered as little as 50% of a home’s value.
Many We Buy Ugly Houses reviews describe company representatives using high pressure tactics to persuade sellers to take extremely low offers, often after understating the property’s actual market value.
If you want to sell your home for the highest price possible — but you also need to move fast — try Clever Real Estate. Sellers with Clever get offers 2.8 times faster than the national average AND pay only a 1.5% listing fee. That’s half the typical 3% rate, saving you thousands.
We Buy Ugly Houses reviews: The good and bad
We Buy Ugly Houses reviews from customers reveal several themes. Sellers who just want to unload a property are fairly satisfied with their experience, while sellers who want a profitable deal often have a more negative experience.
|Avg. rating||Total reviews|
|Better Business Bureau (BBB)||1.4||20|
Let’s look at some We Buy Ugly houses reviews and complaints. These represent both WeBuyUglyHouses.com reviews online and We Buy Ugly Houses BBB reviews.
A distressed home sells quickly
This seller had a home with a defective roof, which is a very expensive home repair. They were able to sell the home to We Buy Ugly Houses for cash and came away from the experience fully satisfied.
A quick sale following a death in the family
This seller prioritized speed and ease over maximum profit. They’d inherited the house after a death in the family, and they just wanted to unload it, regardless of price. Under these circumstances, We Buy Ugly Houses gave them exactly what they were looking for.
We Buy Ugly Houses complaints: Lowball offers
In this HomeVestors review (We Buy Ugly Houses’ parent company), a seller was motivated to sell, but they passed up HomeVestors’ insultingly low offer. Three months later, they were able to sell the property for three times what HomeVestors offered. The seller echoes the advice we offer: always get multiple offers from multiple buyers.
Another lowball offer — and unsavory pressure tactics
In another We Buy Ugly Houses complaint, a seller tells how HomeVestors representatives tried to lower the seller’s expectations with an extremely under-market offer. A year and a half later, the seller sold for six times what HomeVestors offered.
We Buy Ugly Houses scams and lawsuits
Independent contractors operating under the HomeVestors-owned We Buy Ugly Houses brand are legitimate cash buyers.
But the company has created an environment that’s ripe for exploitation. It caters to the desperate and highly motivated, dangles fast cash offers, and advertises with signs nailed to telephone poles next to freeway off-ramps. As the We Buy Ugly Houses brand has become more widely known, the number of scams has increased.
So how do you know if the cash buyer you’re dealing with is legitimate? A good rule of thumb is that the money should move only in one direction in a home sale — and that’s toward you, the seller.
If your buyer asks you for money for “processing fees” or anything else, that’s a sign that you’re probably being ripped off.
To avoid scams, always ask the cash buyer for multiple references. If they can’t provide them, or if the references you contact don’t seem legit, look for a different buyer.
In a common scam, a cash buyer will make an offer on your home, sign a contract agreeing to that price, and then stall while trying to sell that contract to another investor at a profit.
This tactic is called “wholesaling,” and it can be a legitimate way to conduct business — but it shouldn’t be done on the sly. If you sell to a cash buyer, make sure there’s a clause in the sales contract stating that they’re not allowed to reassign the contract.
Otherwise, you could be in for a long, frustrating wait as they try to flip your contract for enough cash to pay both you and themselves.
A We Buy Ugly Houses ponzi scheme
In other We Buy Ugly Houses reviews, the brand has received criticism for its ethically murky business practices.
One well-publicized example involved a We Buy Ugly Houses franchisee from Colorado who ran a ponzi scheme, buying a series of properties at below market value with promises of big resale profits — only to use the sale proceeds to pay off previous sellers and investors.
The perpetrator — who, to be fair, committed some of her $14.5 million fraud while working for a company that was not affiliated with We Buy Ugly Houses — was eventually sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
How can I avoid being scammed by a We Buy Ugly Houses company?
Home sellers can look for red flags to avoid being scammed. Red flags include a company:
- Asking for a fee in exchange for an offer
- Making an extremely low offer
- Charging you for closing costs
- Leaving you to figure out the paperwork yourself
Compare multiple offers from other cash buyers to ensure the price you’re offered is fair.
Is We Buy Ugly Houses a reputable company?
We Buy Ugly Houses is a reputable company owned by the parent company HomeVestors. Local We Buy Ugly Houses offices are owned by franchisees, so quality varies by location. Be advised that not all real estate investors or operations with similar names are necessarily legitimate.
We Buy Ugly Houses pros and cons
✅ A fast transaction
The transaction happens quickly when you work with We Buy Ugly Houses. A representative inspects your property within a day or two of first contact, and they often make a cash offer on the spot. Once you accept the offer, you can close in as little as two weeks. That’s a huge difference from the traditional sale process which, even in the best case scenario, takes at least two months.
✅ Less uncertainty
Unless you have a property with wide appeal, you’re going to go into a traditional sale with more questions than answers. How long will it take to find a buyer? Will you find a buyer at all? Will you get above or below your asking price? Will you be able to close before the end of the year, or will the process drag out for months?
With We Buy Ugly Houses, almost all of these questions are resolved. As its name implies, there are very few properties, if any, that We Buy Ugly Houses won’t buy.
✅ Fewer associated costs
Selling a home the traditional way incurs a lot of costs. Between commission and closing costs, sellers can end up shelling out up to 10% of a home’s sale price.
With We Buy Ugly Houses, the seller doesn’t have to negotiate a lower commission or reduce closing costs, because there aren’t any. This is one of the factors that keeps We Buy Ugly Houses cash offers so far under market value.
✅ Fewer hassles
A cash buyer like We Buy Ugly Houses can take your home off your hands as is. This means you can sell your home without investing time and money into costly repairs and renovations.
⛔️ Lowball offers
We Buy Ugly Houses extends offers that are far below market value. That’s partly because it often buys homes that require repairs and renovations before they can be resold.
But part of it is simply built into the business model. We Buy Ugly Houses knows that many sellers are under external pressures, and they will take a very low offer just to get the sale over with.
The company makes a profit for every dollar below market value it avoids paying, so it’ll make the lowest offer possible — sometimes as low as 50% below fair market value.
⛔️ Questionable tactics
Some franchisees use high pressure tactics to push sellers into accepting extremely low offers. While this probably isn’t HomeVestors’ company policy, there are many examples of individual franchisees using unsavory and borderline unethical tactics.
Alternatives to We Buy Ugly Houses
We Buy Ugly Houses fills a legitimate niche for sellers. If you want to sell a property quickly and easily, and you aren’t concerned with making the most money possible from the sale, it can be a viable option.
However, because of the market We Buy Ugly Houses caters to, fraud is a real risk. Make sure you do your research, check references, and get multiple offers.
You should also look at alternative options for selling your home, like:
- Selling FSBO
- Selling to an iBuyer
- Selling with a real estate agent
In a for sale by owner (FSBO) sale, the homeowner handles all the marketing and negotiating themselves. While this can help you avoid realtor commissions and might net you more money than a cash buyer, it has its drawbacks.
The average listing with an agent sells for almost $80,000 more than a for sale by owner (FSBO) listing. It may take slightly longer to sell with an agent, but your increased profits will more than offset the seller closing costs and commission you’ll pay — especially if you use an agent who agrees to work for a reduced commission.
» READ: Our guide to the best FSBO websites
Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyers are another type of company that buys houses for cash. These startups make instant offers on houses and can close in as little as a week.
iBuyers don’t pay fair market value for homes, but their offers are likely to be more reasonable than offers from a company like We Buy Ugly Houses.
However, iBuyers generally have much stricter criteria for the houses they buy. For example, iBuyers usually don’t buy houses that were built before 1950 or houses in need of significant repairs.
Sell with a real estate agent
Selling the traditional way, with either a conventional 3% real estate agent or a discount agent, will almost always net you more money.
We’ve partnered with Clever Real Estate to help you connect with top local real estate agents. These agents provide full service and support for a low 1.5% commission rate.
Even if you need to sell quickly, we recommend talking to a real estate agent. It’s free to ask an agent for their opinion, and you may be surprised how quickly your house could sell on the open market.
A real estate agent can also help you get cash offers from local buyers and advise you on the best one to take. Talk to a realtor to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.
How much does We Buy Ugly Houses pay?
We Buy Ugly Houses usually adheres to the 70% rule. To reliably turn a profit on a property, it typically pays no more than 70% of the house’s market value, minus the cost of repairs and renovations. However, some customers claim that the company offered only 50% of what they could sell for on the open market. Most sellers will make more cash overall by listing with a low commission real estate agent.
Is We Buy Ugly Houses legit?
We Buy Ugly Houses is a legitimate cash buyer franchise. It's owned by HomeVestors and operates in 45 states and Washington, DC. However, because the company offers cash to desperate and highly motivated sellers, it's created a market that’s ripe for exploitation.
We Found the Truth about HomeVestors: In our deep-dive review, we investigate how HomeVestors works — and whether sellers can trust its fast cash offers.
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Jason P says
Very good article, we buy distressed houses as well and always recommend that the seller get other offers before settling with ours. So there are good guys out there that you can sell your home to quickly and for cash
Quinn Harris says
I was skeptical at first when I looked at their ads but turns out they are actually legitimate. A friend of mine contacted them and had his property sold which was In a pretty mediocre condition. It’s a good job they do.