Why a real estate company texts you about buying your home

Austin homeowners have been bombarded by mail, phone and text with unsolicited offers to buy your place.

why it matters: The offers can feel intrusive and — especially those that include a Google street view of your property — a little creepy.

  • It also sometimes seems like a repudiation: The old bungalow my wife and I have owned for 15 years is starting to fall apart, with a fair number of weeds in the front yard — “It’s the spooky house on the street,” my wife half joke. I can’t help feeling the solicitations’ subtext is: “Surely, you’ve just given up.”

Driving the news: Last week I got this text…

“Hi Asher. I found your info on city records. I’m a life time Austin resident. I provide hassle free home sale opportunities and zero fees. Would love to connect today to discuss.”

So I decided to call the texter: I wanted to know what life was like on the other side of these appeals — and what the person’s Austin story is.

upfront, I told Taylor Hargrove, who picked up, that I wasn’t interested in selling, but that I’m a journalist with Axios curious to hear about the role she plays in Austin’s bonkers housing market.

  • She told me she’s an acquisition specialist at Rebuilt Realty, a real estate investment firm, and confirmed she had texted me.

Hargrove grew up in Round Rock — her parents moved there in 2002, when she was 6 or 7, because her father got a job with Dell. Now, she is a young mother who lives in northern Williamson County.

How she got into the game: She fell into homebuying “kind of by accident” after a job at a leasing management company in Austin.

She’s now working toward her real estate license — and as a homeowner gets these unasked-for solicitations herself.

mostly, her texts go unanswered — some say they’re not interested (sometimes a little roughly — “I get some responses that are not so friendly”), and others ask about the price point.

Rebuilt tendencies to buy at 70-80% of market value.

  • “If you’re looking to get the most for your property, we recommend going with a realtor,” she told me.

So why would someone work with you?

  • “We try to make it as easy and fast as possible for all parties. They’ll take it in its current state — no need to add a new roof or water heater. Lots of sellers don’t want to deal with a bunch of showings or realtor fees.”
  • Hargrove told me she’s had a hand in about 60 deals since she started at Rebuilt six months ago.

The bottom line: Sure, if you’re a homeowner, be annoyed at the message, but maybe not the messenger.

  • Plus: At least we have a home to call our own.

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