Don't You Dare Sell Your House Fast, Until You Do This! (Second Of A Series)Don't You Dare Sell Your House Fast, Until You Do This! (Second Of A Series)

Imploding housing prices coupled to a mortgage mess are propelling more people to consider selling their houses to the professional home buyers whose advertisements you now see everywhere you look.

While they promise a fast sale and you can get on with your life, you've got to be asking just how safe it this?

In the first article in this series we suggested that for a minimum, find out if they return phone calls and actually show up for the appointment on time. If they can't do something that simple, figure they will screw up buying your house as well. But there is more.

And four simple searches on will tell you a lot more about whether you want to deal with this guy (or gal) or not.

First, just do a simple Google search of the person's name with some geographic limiters, such as "'George Beardsley' Pasco house." We suggest you put the name of the home buyer in quotes to reduce the number of responses about other people. In addition to the location (Pasco County) we also added the word house to further limit the search.

This will give you an idea of how active the person is, at least on the internet, the type of business they are doing and maybe complaints or compliments from other viewers.

Next Google the local newspaper, visit the archives and search for the person's name. You may find a host of both positive and negative items that will help you decide if you want to deal with him or her.

Now Google the name of the county and the words clerk of court and you will find two areas where you can really mine for the pay dirt.

"Public records" will contain a list of all the properties bought and sold in the county. Although many investors use corporations and trusts to hide their ownership of property you will probably find numerous entries under the Professional Home U Buyer's name. Look for the earlier entries to get some idea of how long they have been buying houses.

The longer they have been at it, the more likely they are to be able to actually help.

This is not to say that a brand new person will not be of help, but it is comforting to know that the person who is looking to buy your house has done it before and hopefully for years and years.

Now go to the county records for the civil court and see how often the person has been the defendant in a law suit. Zero would be a good number, but in this climate of civil law suits most anyone who has been in business for any length of time may have been the defendant at one time or another.

You do not want to see a pattern of being sued and you will want to ask about why he was sued and the outcome if he was sued.

None of this will be conclusive. But, if you are armed with this information before the person is scheduled to arrive at your house, you can learn a lot. First, does he arrive on time? Then, is he upset that you have done your home work and checked him out?

I assure you he has checked out your house and a real pro will expect you to have done your home work as well. Can he answer all the questions you have as a result of your research and does he have a good explanation for all of the information you bombard him with?

If so, then you want to go to the next step and check out his contract terms, which we discuss in the next installment.
by George Beardsley
References and Bibliography
George Beardsley has written extensively about finance and business starting as a financial reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covering commodity futures, stocks, bonds, banking and other financial news. He was an editor for the financial publishing firm Dow-Jones, Irwin. He left the Tribune to work for Merrill Lynch as a commodity broker and owned a commodity brokerage firm in Florida. He was graduated from the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism with two degrees and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service as a combat intelligence officer in the Republic of Viet Nam. He has been buying; fixing and renting house in Florida for two decades and has just published a new eBook called "911 for Landlords." His website is
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