Editor’s note: Information in this article is current as of June 22, 2022. Processes, rates, and services from real estate companies can change based on market conditions, housing trends, changes in technology, and customer needs.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home (or both), it seems like everyone is interested in all-cash offers these days. In 2021, 32 percent of all home purchases were made with cash. And in some high-demand areas, those numbers are even higher.
For sellers, cash offers often mean a quick, convenient close with no contingencies. And for buyers? It gives them the competitive edge needed to stand out from a sea of other offers.
Taking advantage of this trend are companies such as RealSure, which aims to simplify the real estate process by providing cash offers to eligible homebuyers and sellers.
Here is what to expect from working with this real estate company — as well as how to decide if their services are right for you.
What is RealSure?
RealSure was launched in 2020 as a way to give buyers and sellers a competitive edge through the security of an all-cash offer. According to their website, they’re “working towards fixing the outdated processes within the industry that get in the way of ownership — such as uncertainty around selling, contract cancellations, and rigid timelines.”
The company, which is a joint venture between Realogy and Home Partners of America, has two key programs: RealSure Sell and RealSure Buy.
How does RealSure Sell work?
RealSure Sell is a program for sellers who both want the peace of mind of a guaranteed cash offer while also seeing what their home’s potential would be on the open market. With this program, sellers are provided with an all-cash offer for their home at the outset. They then have 45 days to list their home with an agent to see if they get a better offer on the open market.
The process works like this:
- You enter your address on the RealSure website to see if the service is available in your area. If it is available, you’ll be able to start the process of requesting an offer immediately.
- Based on the information you provide, RealSure will give you a no-obligation cash offer on your home.
- You can accept the offer immediately or place your home on the market with a real estate agent. If you choose to list your home, it is important to understand that you will be required to use an agent in the Realogy network.
- Your agent will list your home for 45 days to see if you get an offer that beats the all-cash offer provided by RealSure.
- If you accept the RealSure cash offer (you can do this at any point during the 45-day process), the company will conduct a standard home inspection. Depending on what issues come up during the inspection, it’s possible that RealSure will decide to update the purchase price on your home.
- Once there’s a signed contract, RealSure will close on your house within 15-45 days.
- Sellers who want more flexibility over their moving date can take advantage of the RealSure FlexStay program, which allows them to stay in the house (for a fee) for up to 30 days past closing.
According to RealSure, sellers have the ability to walk away from the transaction at any time before the closing date without incurring a penalty.
How does RealSure Buy work?
The RealSure Buy program provides homebuyers with the ability to make an all-cash offer on a home. This temporary cash loan allows buyers to better compete in the market as the offer won’t be dependent on any financing or appraisal contingencies.
Here is how it works:
- Get lender approval by filling out the financing application on the RealSure platform. To be a good fit for the program, RealSure recommends having a FICO credit score of at least 700. You should also have the ability to put down at least 10% cash to close and 2% earnest money.
- If you don’t have one already, you’ll be paired with a real estate agent in the Realogy network to help you through the homebuying process. It’s important to note that you must use a Realogy real estate agent to participate in this program.
- Work with your real estate agent to find your new home. Because not every home will qualify for the RealSure program, you’ll need to have your agent run the address of any homes you’re interested in through their agent portal before you make an offer.
- If your offer is accepted, the lender will order an appraisal. Although there is no appraisal contingency on the home, the lender does require an appraisal for their records. According to RealSure, this process won’t impact the purchase price.
- You’ll then order an inspection to look for any serious problems such as foundation issues or sinkholes. If there are significant issues, RealSure states that they do reserve the right to terminate the purchase contract. For more minor issues, it will be up to you whether you want to ask the seller to make the repairs or issue credit.
Does RealSure serve your area?
RealSure has been gradually expanding since the company opened its doors in 2020, but its services are still available in very select markets. RealSure Sell is available to sellers in major metropolitan areas of Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Utah.
The RealSure Buy program is currently only available in:
- Austin, Texas
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Denver, Colorado
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Tampa, Florida
Is there a cost to use RealSure?
There are fees associated with both the RealSure Buy and Sell programs, though these fees are not well outlined on the website.
Sellers who use the RealSure Sell program will pay both a transaction fee and a broker fee if they accept the cash offer. According to RealSure, the transaction fee will be included in the offer letter. The only information provided about these fees on the company website is that they are in the “low single digits.”
The website doesn’t provide any details on the cost of the broker fee, except to say that it will be outlined in the brokerage agreement that you’ll be required to sign once you accept the cash offer.
If you decide to sell your house through an approved agent instead, you’ll also pay the agent’s commission, as well as all other standard real estate transaction fees.
As we mentioned earlier, sellers also have the option of staying in their house for up to 30 days after closing with RealSure’s Flex Stay program. You will be required to pay a security deposit and daily occupancy fee, which is determined by the final selling price of the home. These fees will be deducted from your payout at closing.
If you purchase a home using the RealSure Buy program, you’ll pay a minimum $500 service fee at closing, as well as all of the standard costs associated with buying and financing a home, such as the application fee and the cost of an appraisal, according to the RealSure website.
How does RealSure make money?
As we outlined above, RealSure charges transaction fees to buyers and sellers who take advantage of their Buy and Sell programs. They also generate revenue through the sale of the properties they purchase directly from sellers.
RealSure customers are required to work with a real estate agent in their approved network, so in many ways, the company serves as a referral engine for Realogy, which is one of its parent companies. Some well-known brands that fall under the Realogy umbrella include Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Corcoran, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International (among others).
Home buyers must also use RealSure’s approved lender for home financing.
Although the company has been around since 2020, there are no public customer reviews as of this blog post date, nor is the company showing up as accredited by the Better Business Bureau. In researching this story, we checked Facebook, Trustpilot, Google, Yelp, Angi, and BBB. While the company does have a Facebook page and a Google My Business listing, there are no ratings or reviews associated with either.
Pros and cons of using RealSure
- Both RealSure’s Buy and Sell programs provide the advantage of a guaranteed cash offer — something that appeals to many buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market.
- Sellers benefit from a quick, cash offer that can be accomplished with or without a real estate listing.
- The FlexStay program gives sellers the flexibility to stay in their home for 30 days after closing.
- Homebuyers can make a strong, cash offer on a home without any appraisal or financing contingencies.
- Buyers must use RealSure’s approved network of real estate agents and lenders, which limits their ability to shop around based on rates and/or agent personality match.
- Buyers are limited to the inventory of homes they can consider, as not all properties will be eligible for the cash-backed offer.
- Sellers who are looking for quick and easy home sale will still need to go through the work of cleaning, repairing, and staging their home if they decide to list with an agent.
Other services offered by RealSure
RealSure currently offers two core programs for consumers: RealSure Buy and RealSure Sell.
They also target agents in the Realogy network of real estate professionals who want to work with RealSure buyers and sellers.
Alternatives to RealSure
RealSure is just one of many companies that provide services to homebuyers and sellers who are looking for a simpler, cash-backed transaction.
Some of these companies include:
Although many of these programs are similar, there are key differences in the costs associated with each of them — as well as the level of service they provide. Before you decide to work with RealSure, or any company with similar services, it’s a good idea to shop around and get to know the options you have available.
One such option is HomeLight, which offers similar cash offer and trade-in programs, and helps buyers and sellers get matched with the most qualified real estate agents in their area.
How does HomeLight help home sellers and buyers?
When you work with HomeLight, we’ll help take the stress out of house hunting (or selling) by matching you with a top real estate agent in your area. Based on our unbiased analysis of over 27 million real estate transactions, these are the agents that go above and beyond — and that truly understand the housing market in your area.
HomeLight Agent Match is 100% free and only takes two minutes of your time:
- Visit HomeLight’s Agent Match page and select whether you’re seeking a Listing Agent or Buyer’s Agent
- Enter and confirm your address
- Answer a few questions about your moving plans and timeline
- View a list of agent matches in your area
Depending on your real estate goals, these top agents can help you take advantage of other HomeLight programs that are designed to create a simpler buying and selling experience.
With HomeLight Trade-In, we’ll agree to purchase your current home before you begin the homebuying process. This allows you to make a stronger, all-cash offer on your new home without having to worry about any lending or home sale contingencies.
If you’re only looking to buy a house, HomeLight Cash Offer can still give you the ability to make that strong, cash offer on the home of your dreams.
Additional Homelight programs include:
* Some services are not available in all states
Additional tools and resources offered by HomeLight
RealSure: Is it the right option for you?
Buying and selling a home is not what it was a decade ago. Today, there are many options available for the savvy consumer who wants a simplified, less stressful real estate experience.
RealSure is one of the companies that provide such services. If you’re looking into RealSure, here are a few things to consider:
- Are the RealSure services available in your market?
- How do the fees compare to other companies that provide similar services? Although the fees aren’t publicly posted on their website, RealSure will provide them to you in the early stages of the process (before you make a commitment).
- There is no obligation for requesting a RealSure quote.
- It’s always a good idea to compare offers from other real estate companies.
- Since there are no public reviews available, it might also be beneficial to ask for a customer reference prior to signing a contract.
Header Image Source: (Tim Photoguy / Unsplash)