Disclaimer: This post is meant to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Links and mentions of San Francisco area companies in this post do not constitute an endorsement. Individual program details can also frequently change — please visit a company’s website for the most up-to-date information on each program’s fees, market coverage, business model, and more. HomeLight always recommends doing your own research to determine which selling option is best for your situation.
We Buy Houses companies in San Francisco make all-cash offers for homes that often need some work, enabling sellers who lack the time, expertise, and money for repairs to move quickly and receive the cash proceeds from their home sooner if they need it.
Living in Northern California can be very expensive and stressful. For these reasons, many San Francisco residents are choosing to move to lower-cost areas that offer a slower pace, including Texas, Montana, and Mexico. Or you may be planning a move because of an unexpected job change. Or perhaps you need to cash out an inherited property to settle an estate — you may be in a hurry to sell.
If you need to sell your San Francisco home quickly, a We Buy Houses for Cash company could be the best solution. However, before you request a cash offer, it’s important to understand how much a San Francisco house-buying company might offer for your home and weigh your options. Once you’re familiar with the process, you can opt to select a company on our list of some of the top contenders and get moving.
Working with house-buying companies in San Francisco
We Buy Houses companies in San Francisco typically promise to give home sellers quick, convenient all-cash offers, and exceptionally speedy closings, often wrapping up the property sale in as few as seven days. These house-buying companies have polished their processes to help sellers who need to move ASAP, and tend to target distressed homes in need of repairs.
Here’s how the process generally works:
- You request an all-cash offer. The company will ask you to provide information about your house and property. Some We Buy Houses groups will make a preliminary offer shortly after you submit the request. However, the initial offer is typically subject to change after they have inspected your home.
- The company performs a walk-through. This on-site property visit is typically completed within 24 to 48 hours. The timeframe may vary depending on the company and market.
- You receive a firm offer. Your official cash offer is typically received within 24 hours of the on-site visit, but can sometimes be presented at the end of the walk-through. At this point, you can accept or decline the offer. The majority of house-buying companies do not negotiate. They usually present a take-it-or-leave-it sale price.
- If you accept the offer, you’ll both sign a sales contract. With a signed sales agreement, the closing process will begin. Some house-buying companies will initially provide a large deposit or funds to assist the seller with moving costs. Others will pay for the property upfront.
- Close the sale and get paid quickly. We Buy Houses companies can typically close your home sale within seven days to a few weeks. This can vary by company, and sellers who work with a house-buying company often enjoy flexibility in selecting a move-out date that works for them.
Popular We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco
If these benefits of selling to a house-buying company in San Francisco sound good to you, it’s time to find a legitimate operation you can trust.
We’ve compiled some of the top companies that will pay cash for your parent’s Victorian or Rousseau. By selling to one of these companies, you should be able to sell your San Francisco home in as little as a week or two.
Phone number: 877-932-8946
Locations: Nationwide including San Francisco
WeBuyHouses.com was founded in 1997, and buys houses in 200 markets and 30 states in any condition. According to their website, they have been trusted by 1 million homeowners, and have the ability to present a cash offer even if the homeowner is behind on their mortgage or facing foreclosure. The homebuying process starts by gathering information from the homeowner, conducting additional research, and a home tour. A no-obligation cash offer is usually available within 24 to 48 hours after their tour. If the offer is accepted, it typically takes seven to 14 days to close the sale.
Closing costs: Sellers pay no closing costs; WeBuyHouses.com covers them.
Reviews: WeBuyHouses.com is BBB accredited since August 2020, and has an A+ rating. Customer reviews for WeBuyHouses.com speak to their professionalism, and understandable procedure. They express how convenient and easy the process was for completing the sale. According to one review from Rod, when he called WeBuyHouses.com, they came out to his house the same day, made a fair offer, and closed within two weeks.
Simple Sale (a HomeLight platform)
Contact information: homelight.com/simple
Locations: Nationwide, including San Francisco
Simple Sale, a solution from HomeLight, is an online platform where sellers in San Francisco (and across the country) can request a cash offer for their home. Simple Sale has a network of cash buyers on its platform, and partner investors have a wide range of investment strategies, including fix-and-flip and buy-and-hold. This enables Simple Sale to provide cash offers for a wide array of properties, even those that need some or a lot of work, in different locations throughout San Francisco. With Simple Sale, you can get an all-cash offer within five days and sell your home in as little as 10 days, skipping the months it can take to sell the traditional way.
Closing costs: No prep costs, no agent commissions, and no fees charged by HomeLight. Individual investor fees may vary.
Reviews: Simple Sale is a HomeLight platform. HomeLight was founded in 2012 and is BBB accredited and A-rated, with a customer review rating of 4 stars out of 5. The company has 4.7 stars on Google based on more than 500 user reviews. Below you can hear about how Baohan Wu, a seller who used Simple Sale to sell his high-rise apartment, closed within three and a half weeks and what he thought of the process overall.
Brothers Buy Homes
Phone number: 415-849-3286
Locations: San Francisco, Bay Area, and Sacramento area
Brothers Buy Homes was founded in 2018, and their focus is buying houses in San Francisco, and the surrounding Bay Area including Sacramento. Their process includes evaluating the house after receiving initial information from the prospective seller. They usually make a fast cash offer that doesn’t put the home seller under any pressure to accept it. Depending on the circumstances, some houses can be bought within seven days.
Closing costs: Sellers pay no closing costs; Brothers Buy Homes covers them.
Reviews: Brothers Buy Homes has been BBB accredited since March of 2021 and holds a B+ rating. Customer reviews for Brothers Buy Homes speak to convenience and fast turnaround of receiving a cash offer. They express their appreciation for working with a company that understands how to handle difficult situations such as Angela S. who wanted to sell her inherited property while living out of state.
Phone number: 800-208-3243
Locations: San Francisco, Bay Area, Napa, Southern California, and Phoenix
Seller’s Advantage began its business in May of 2015 and has purchased thousands of homes in the Phoenix and California areas that are in any condition. Seller’s Advantage buys all types of homes including condos, duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes. They also purchase manufactured homes if the home seller owns the land as well. Typically homes are able to close between 10 to 14 days after the offer is accepted.
Closing costs: Sellers pay no closing costs; Seller’s Advantage covers them.
Reviews: Seller’s Advantage has been in business for over 25 years and is BBB accredited since May of 2015 with an A+ rating. Customer reviews for Seller’s Advantage speak to their fast and fair offers and how they navigate difficult estate sales for their customers. They express their appreciation for not having to deal with repairs or title companies directly, and how Seller’s Advantage will answer all their questions to make their sale as smooth as possible.
Phone number: 877-804-5252
Locations: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and several states nationwide
Express Homebuyers was established in 2003 and helps ease the homebuying process when home sellers are facing difficult circumstances such as divorce, an inherited home or a property that is expensive to maintain. Express Homebuyers has purchased over 4,000 homes. Besides making a fast offer and overseeing all the homebuying details, they also offer a cash advance of up to $10,000 depending on the home seller’s situation. This money is often used to have some available cash to assist with moving expenses.
Closing costs: Sellers pay no closing costs; Express Homebuyers covers them.
Reviews: Express Homebuyers has been BBB accredited since February 2004 and has an A+ rating. Customer reviews for Express Homebuyers speak to getting immediate offers, good communication through the process, and having the ease of a smooth transaction. They express their satisfaction, including one reviewer who noted how the company made the process easier by arranging for a notary to visit them to do the paperwork since they lived out of state.
Phone number: 800-214-4426
Locations: San Francisco and nationwide
Sundae is a business that connects vetted real estate investors with prospective home sellers to buy their homes for cash. A customer advisor will visit the home seller after getting the initial information to tour the home. Then they market the home to hundreds of investors and present the highest offers to the home seller after four days. Typically they can close in as little as 10 days or take up to 60 days if more time is needed for the seller. After agreeing to the investor’s offer, the home seller may also be eligible to receive up to a $10,000 cash advance for immediate expenses.
Closing costs: Sellers pay no closing costs; Sundae covers them.
Reviews: Sundae has been BBB accredited since April of 2019 and has an A+ rating. Customer reviews for Sundae speak to the ability to review multiple cash offers and make the best choice for their situation.They express how they appreciate the flexibility of the closing date and the lack of stress and pressure to sell. One home seller named Shelley even encountered a medical emergency before the original closing date and worked closely with Sundae to adjust the time frame in order to have a smoother move.
Why sell for cash in San Francisco?
There are plenty of valid reasons a San Francisco home seller may choose to work with a Cash-For-Homes company. Leading the list are the benefits of speed, certainty, and remarkable convenience.
In San Francisco, it typically takes around 29 days to sell a home on the market using an agent. That includes 29, plus the typical 49 days a buyer needs to close on a purchase loan.
Compare that to the typical seven to 10 days promised by many house-buying companies in San Francisco, and it’s clear why these Cash-For-Homes groups are an attractive option, even though they don’t always offer top dollar for the homes they purchase.
These companies are growing in popularity, especially for sellers who do not have the typically required long weeks or months to prepare, market, and close on a traditional home sale. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons San Francisco sellers decide to use a We Buy Houses for Cash company over listing a property the traditional way.
- The home has significant repair issues common in San Francisco such as foundation and related water damage.
- The seller needs to cash in quickly or move ASAP due to a divorce, medical need, financial strain, job relocation, or some other pressing family or life change.
- The seller doesn’t have the necessary funds or desire to make home repairs.
- The seller doesn’t want the stress, work, or headaches of prepping the home, coordinating showings, negotiating, or navigating a lengthy or complex sales process.
- The seller desires the privacy of selling their property quietly off-market to a cash buyer.
- The seller is facing foreclosure and just wants to sell the home and settle their debts with the lender before the situation (or credit history) gets worse.
- The seller wants a convenient and fast way to unload an inherited property.
- The seller is a landlord who no longer wants to manage a rental property, or wants to relieve themselves of a problem tenant.
- The homeowner is growing old and moving in with a relative or into a care facility, prompting their family to sell the property for convenience or to help fund the move.
- The seller is living out of state and desires the benefits of an easy, quick cash sale.
If you are a homeowner facing any of these circumstances, requesting a cash offer from a We Buy Houses company might be a good option to consider. However, it’s prudent to think of this as a starting point in your search for solutions. You won’t know if it’s your best move until you know more about other options available to you, which we’ll help you review in a minute.
Pros and cons of house-buying companies in San Francisco
At this point, you’ve probably noticed that We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco can trigger a mixed bag of thoughts that can be difficult to sort. You may like the idea of speed and convenience, but you might be having trouble balancing these with the premium you might pay for a cash-offer service.
In this next section, we’ll walk you through some of the pros and cons of using a We Buy Houses company so you can better weigh your options.
One of the biggest advantages of working with We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco is that you can sell your home “as is” with no repairs required, and they’ll buy homes in any condition.
If your home was severely damaged in a weather event, or you’ve fallen years behind on routine maintenance, you can still sell without needing to make the extensive repairs that financed buyers may require.
Here are some other pros to consider:
- Speed: You can typically sell your house in as few as seven to 10 days.
- More certainty: With a pre-offer walk-through, a house-buying company can provide a firm cash offer that comes with few contingencies, or no contingencies at all. We Buy Houses companies have refined their transaction methods in such a way that they can clear away many traditional roadblocks so sellers can plan with more confidence.
- No repairs: Again, if your home is in need of repairs you can’t afford, you can skip them altogether. Or, if you don’t have the desire or time to tackle repairs, a We Buy Houses company can be a fitting solution to sell a home in poor condition.
- Less hassle: You won’t need to worry about showings, open houses, fielding offers, negotiating, low appraisals, or the risk of the buyer’s financing falling through. When you work with a reputable We Buy Houses for Cash company in San Francisco, you’re likely going to experience a smooth journey from offer to close.
That all may sound pretty great to you as a seller if you’re looking to move within weeks rather than the months it might take you to list and sell your home on the market with an agent. However, there are downsides to working with Cash-For-Homes companies. Namely, they typically offer substantially below market value for your home.
When considering an offer from a We Buy Houses site, remember that these are house-buying companies, which means they’re ultimately trying to make a profit. They plan to fix up your home and either resell it or rent it out. That takes considerable time, skill, and investment.
Here are some potential downsides to weigh:
- Lower-priced offers: Most companies follow the 70% rule, meaning they’ll offer you about 70% of your home’s after-repair value (or the value that your house could sell for on the market once it’s all fixed up) minus repair costs. This means the cash offer you receive may be markedly lower than what you could get for your home on the market.
- Inconsistent market knowledge: There can be a vast difference in a house-buying company’s knowledge of a market. One may have localized information, such as specific neighborhood data, which enables the company to leverage that knowledge into more competitive cash offers. A company without this expertise may give you a lowball offer.
- A company may be untrustworthy: As with any industry, there’s a risk of falling in with a less trustworthy company. Some cash-offer outfits deliberately make low offers to desperate homeowners and then pressure them into making a fast, unvetted decision. An unprincipled group may even engage in fraud tactics, though it’s rare.
- Pressure tactics: We Buy Houses for Cash companies know that homeowners in need of a quick sale are often facing a desperate situation. While many offer real solutions, some companies take advantage of this urgency by applying pressure tactics. If you feel pressured to accept an offer, step away and reassess your options. There are a good number of established We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco to choose from.
Your home is more than a place where you make memories with family, it’s also likely your biggest asset. Sure, you want to sell quickly, but you could be leaving major money on the table if you choose to work with one of these We Buy Houses for Cash companies.
Always do your research, compare your options, and consult with a trusted advisor before accepting any offer.
Vet cash buyers and know your home’s worth
For many home sellers, We Buy Houses for Cash companies can be a solid solution to get a property sold quickly or to access cash for an expected life challenge. On the other hand, the “cash for your home” rehabbing business model has also led to what some housing advocates call predatory tactics.
The level of integrity and customer service you experience can vary, even within an established house-buying company that strives to maintain consistent business standards. This is because many We Buy Houses for Cash companies are franchises and often use independent investors or local wholesaling outfits. Your experience greatly depends on the character of the person or group making the offer.
If you are considering a cash offer, vet the company thoroughly. Check reviews, read testimonials, and research its presence and performance in the market. And, of course, read the buying agreement carefully before signing.
Before committing to a We Buy Houses for Cash company, HomeLight suggests you consult with a top agent to get a better idea of what your home might be worth if sold on the open market. Then compare cash offers to what a top agent might be able to get for your home. HomeLight can connect you with a top-performing agent in your market.
You can also use HomeLight’s free Home Value Estimator right now to get an initial ballpark estimate in less than two minutes.
Other options to sell your home quickly
Within the Cash-For-Homes industry you’ll also encounter a particular group of companies known as iBuyers, or instant buyers.
iBuyer companies offer sellers many of the same conveniences of other house-buying operations, but they also leverage automated valuation models (AVMs), which use algorithmic technology to apply historic and current market data to their estimates. AVMs allow iBuyers to make a near-instant offer on your home and provide a user-friendly, mostly online home sale experience.
iBuyers have only been around since the mid-2010s, but are now widely available across California.
iBuyers provide all-cash offers for homes and can close a sale in a matter of days to a few weeks. However, unlike typical We Buy Houses for Cash companies, iBuyers generally seek out homes that are in better condition and usually provide cash offers that are closer to market value, typically in the 90% range. iBuyer offers can sometimes be even higher, depending on the location and market conditions.
Sellers who may be a good fit to work with an iBuyer in San Francisco include those who prefer to skip staging and showing their home, who live in an area with somewhat similar housing, and who have a home in relatively good shape.
Listing with an agent
It might be surprising to see this agent option included in our story about Cash-For-Homes businesses. Most homeowners seeking information about house-buying companies want to sell a home quickly, not in 78 days. But it’s wise to consider all your options.
If your home is in a housing market that’s seller-friendly, listing your property with a top real estate agent can result in a fast sale, especially if the house is strategically priced and superbly marketed.
Depending on the property and local market conditions, using an agent could pay off. Selling on the market typically yields the highest selling price, even more so if you partner with a proven professional. HomeLight’s internal real estate transaction data shows that the top 5% of agents sell homes for up to 10% more than average agents.
Another significant benefit of consulting with a trusted agent is the insight they can provide through a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is a market report that real estate agents provide to home sellers that acts as a tool to calculate the value of a home. The CMA evaluates a home’s size, features, location, age, and other details in relation to similar properties that have recently sold in the area. A CMA can help you determine an appropriate listing price, which can help estimate how quickly it might sell.
In addition, an experienced agent who knows your market may even be able to connect you with buyers who are willing to provide you with a cash offer that’s closer to your home’s market value.
Many agents will provide a CMA for free, with no obligation to list your home with them. It can be a valuable tool to weigh your options. If in the end, you decide to sell to a house-buying company, you can proceed with more confidence, knowing you fully examined your options and made a sound financial decision.
If you are interested in exploring the agent option, HomeLight can connect you with a top-performing real estate agent in your area today.
FAQs on San Francisco house-buying companies
Are We Buy Houses for Cash companies legit or scams?
By and large, most We Buy Houses for Cash companies are legitimate businesses. Their services and transaction fees may differ, but the business model has been around for decades. If you use an established group with a track record, you can be fairly confident that it’s legit.
That said, as with any financial transaction, it’s a good idea to be on alert for scams. Always research companies before you sign a contract. Check customer reviews, look at their online presence, verify professional licenses, get a referral if possible, and vet the company on the Better Business Bureau website. Watch for anything that just doesn’t seem right.
How much will We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco pay?
As described in our pros and cons list above, most We Buy Houses for Cash companies apply the 70% rule, meaning they’ll offer you about 70% of your home’s after-repair value, minus their estimated repair costs.
Here’s an example of what a simplified formula might look like:
(Your home’s ARV x .70) – repair costs
To see how this might work in a real-world scenario, let’s take a look at an example offer equation. Let’s say your San Francisco Victorian could sell for $950,000 after repairs, but it’s going to need $80,000 of work to get there.
($950,000 x .70) – $80,000 = $585,000
In this example, a San Francisco We Buy Houses company might offer you around $585,000 for your home.
However, different types of house-buying companies will offer varying amounts for homes. As mentioned previously, iBuyers tend to pay more than We Buy Houses companies because iBuyers look for homes in better condition. An iBuyer might pay you 90% or more of market value while charging a fee for their services.
How much does selling a home to a We Buy Houses for Cash company in San Francisco cost?
When you accept an offer from a We Buy Houses for Cash company you will likely be coming to grips with a two-edged sword. On the one side, it shouldn’t cost you any additional money because these companies make an offer and handle almost everything once the offer is accepted. On the other side, you’ll likely get less money overall for your home.
Because We Buy Houses for Cash companies tend to focus on distressed homes, they typically have zero fees. Many will even cover your closing costs. In most cases, this means that the cash offer you receive is going to be the price you walk away with at the end of the deal. Of course, it’s always a good idea to flat out ask the company if there are any hidden program fees that might impact your bottom line.
How do you sell a house for cash in San Francisco?
- Research and vet the house-buying companies that serve your area. Our list above is a good place to start.
- Submit offer requests to a few of the companies you like best.
- Schedule any required on-site property visits.
- Compare offers. Weigh the pros and cons and choose the best option for you.
- Close the sale in a week to 30 days and get paid. (Some companies will let you choose a closing date up to 90 days after accepting the offer, which can be helpful when planning a move.)
We Buy Houses for Cash in San Francisco vs. top San Francisco agent
Another helpful exercise is to compare how a We Buy Houses for Cash company might stack up against working with a real estate agent. Let’s take a glance at how different aspects of the sale might look, and compare possible proceeds.
|Aspect of the sale||Sell to a We Buy Houses for Cash company in San Francisco||Sell with a top Realtor® in San Francisco|
|Selling timeline||7 to 30 days||78 days average; 29 to attract an offer, 49 to close the loan|
|Home preparations||None||Deep clean, declutter, make necessary repairs, landscape, stage home|
|Showings||None||10 to 25 showings average|
|Inspections / repairs||None||May need to make additional repairs for the buyer or renegotiate the price|
|Appraisal||None||May need to lower your asking price if the appraisal comes in low|
|Title search||Cash-for-homes companies often handle title issues||Must clear title before you can sell home|
|Financing contingency||None||Mortgaged buyers use a financing contingency that could hold up the deal if the buyer’s loan doesn’t clear|
|Agent commission||None||5.8% average|
|Closing costs||None||1% to 3% of the home sale price on top of agent commission|
Example net proceeds
Below, we’ve put together one example of how net proceeds may differ between selling a home to a We Buy Houses for Cash company and an agent-assisted sale.
Let’s say your Victorian home in San Francisco is currently worth about $1,225,000 and needs about $15,000 in repairs. Once the repairs are completed, the home might be worth around $1,240.000.
|Sell to a We Buy Houses for Cash company in San Francisco||Sell with a top Realtor® in San Francisco|
|Estimated sale price||(1,225,000 x .70) – $15,000 = $842,500||$1,225,000|
|Market preparations||0||$12,250 (1% of sale price)|
|Agent commissions||0||$71,050 (5.8% of sale price)|
|Closing costs||0||$18,375 (1.5%)|
|Estimated take-home for seller||$842,500||$1,123,325|
As this example illustrates, financially it’s usually in your best interest to partner with an experienced real estate agent.
However, net proceeds are not the only consideration when selling a home. What’s best in your situation will depend on the condition of your property, what level of repairs are needed, and your selling objectives. It could be that selling on the open market will be a challenge in your area, or the agent timeline might not fit your immediate needs.
- We Buy Houses for Cash companies in San Francisco can make it possible to conveniently sell your home in as few as seven days with no repairs, open houses, or showings.
- There are a number of reputable Cash-For-Homes companies serving San Francisco.
- Using a We Buy Houses company could mean leaving a significant amount of money on the table compared to an agent-assisted or iBuyer sale.
- HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform provides no-obligation all-cash offers for homes in almost any condition in San Francisco. Because the platform has partner investors with different buying parameters across the region, it can be a great starting point if you aren’t sure who would buy your home.
House-buying companies can be a good alternative for San Francisco sellers in need of a quick home sale, but it’s important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks. When it comes to selling your home, it’s wise to avoid making any hasty decisions.
Before making a commitment to a Cash-For-Homes company, gather multiple offers and take the time to weigh your options. Consider consulting with a top agent for expert insights on how soon, and for how much, your property might sell on the market. Whatever you decide, HomeLight would be happy to help with your real estate needs!
Header Image Source: (Aaron Kato / Unsplash)