New Law Protects Homeowners From Wholesale Buyers in Philly
"Philadelphia City Council’s unanimous Nov. 19 vote to protect homeowners from unlicensed real estate wholesalers — known for those “we buy houses for cash” posters on utility poles — could help empower residents in neighborhoods on gentrification’s next frontier," according to an editorial by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the editorial, the practice of making lowball offers and then selling the sales contracts at inflated prices has the effect of "[separating] unsuspecting residents, including senior citizens, from their homes — often, the owner’s most valuable asset and sole source of wealth — at prices far below what a neighborhood’s rising values may command." Numerous neighborhoods around Philadelphia re facing gentrification pressures, which brings these kind of predatory real estate practices, according to the editorial.
According to the editorial, the city's new law attempts to limit the activities of wholesalers by establishing licensing and regulations requirements: "The new law would require background checks for applicants seeking a wholesaling license and punish wholesaling without a license by invalidating agreements and imposing fines or other penalties," reports the editorial. "[T]he new law also includes provisions aimed at giving sellers more information, more time to consider a sale, and more opportunities to get information from the city or real estate professionals."
The editorial is clearly supportive of the new law as a measure to keep residents in gentrifying neighborhoods in the hands of existing residents—even if it won't curb gentrification entirely.