Using ‘cash for house’ company was a costly mistake

CBC October 23 2023 Erica JohnsonKimberly Ivany · CBC News

Ontario woman says using ‘cash for houses’ company was costly mistake

Unlicensed real estate entrepreneurs have no professional responsibilities — unlike Realtors

Laurie Thompson admits she needed to sell her townhouse in Smithville, Ont., fast.

The pandemic had done a number on her finances — the bar where she worked had shut down, twice — and rising interest rates meant her monthly mortgage payments of $2,000 were going to almost double last January. Thompson was facing foreclosure.

“I was desperate,” she told Go Public. 

Thompson had seen street signs and posters in her neighbourhood — companies offering to pay quick cash for houses. She’d even received what appeared to be a hand-written flyer in the mail, advertising a hassle-free cash sale — no renovating, open houses, or Realtor commissions. 

She hit the internet and found a company with positive reviews and attractive promises called Honest Home Buyers Incorporated (HHBI), based in nearby Hamilton.

“The website said, ‘Cash in your hand [quickly],'” said Thompson. 

The website promised other advantages, too  — “more cash” in a seller’s pocket, a quick closing date, no Realtor fees and it claimed homeowners sometimes get a cheque “the very same day!”