It’s often said, Quick House Sale businesses offer poor value, is this a fair statement? We take an in-depth look.
In need of a quick house sale? If time is important, then you need to sell in a snap. You may well be considering a fast house sale company to unlock the equity in your home quickly. You may not receive 100% of your home’s value, but you’ll get the money you need in a hurry!
But not all ‘we buy any house’ companies are reputable. Some operate elaborate scams to trick unsuspecting homeowners.
To help you protect what’s probably your biggest asset, we’ve put together a comprehensive to ‘quick house sale’ companies.
What is a ‘quick house sale company’?
A ‘quick house sale’ company does what it says on the tin. They buy homes from owners directly and quickly without any marketing, property viewings or negotiations. When offers are made and accepted, the company usually takes care of all the legwork.
In return for a fast and hassle-free house sale, the home buyer will usually offer a discounted price for the property. If maximising the sale price is more important than selling fast, this kind of service probably isn’t for you. But if a fast sale is your priority, a reputable house buyer is perhaps your best chance of success.
The pros and cons of using a ‘quick house sale’ firm
It’s essential to go into this process with your eyes wide open. While using a house buying company has many advantages, it also has a few drawbacks.
Pros of using ‘quick house sale’ companies
- Stop repossession proceedings before they damage your credit rating
- Pay off debts or improve your financial standing
- Get rid of an inherited property without the fuss
- Downsize for retirement
- Sell following a relationship breakdown
- Relocate for new employment
- Bypass the traditional property market if you can’t find a buyer
Cons of using ‘quick house sale’ companies
- Unscrupulous house buyers reduce their offer at the last minute
- Unscrupulous house buyers hide fees in the small print of contracts
- Unscrupulous house buyers inflate property valuations to win business
- Exclusivity contracts that limit how homeowners can sell their own home
Is there any protection if I sell to a ‘quick house sale’ company?
Sadly, this particular branch of the UK’s property market is very severely regulated. As a result, it’s open to abuse by scammers and fraudsters. You won’t get the same protections you would when selling the traditional way.
But it’s not all bad news. For example, the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) requires that every member register with The Property Ombudsman — and comply with all the body’s rules and regulations.
Choosing ‘quick house sale’ companies registered with the NAPB ensures that the highest standards of practice observed throughout the house selling process.
All house buying firms signed up to the NAPB must comply with The Property Ombudsman’s independent redress process. If your house sale is handled badly or dishonestly, you can complain and get the whole matter investigated.
Is a ‘quick house sale’ company the way to go for me?
Quick house sale companies aren’t for everyone. They’re tailored explicitly to homeowners whose clear priority is a fast sale. If your main priority is to maximise the sale price for your home, you should probably pursue more traditional avenues.
The following circumstances suggest selling to a ‘quick house sale’ company is a good idea:
- Your lender is threatening repossession
- You’re in a hurry to start your retirement
- You need to clear debts quickly
- You’ve inherited property that you don’t want to manage
- You’ve recently split from your partner
- You want to help your children get on the property ladder quickly
In all of these situations, speed is of the essence. You need to unlock equity in your existing home as fast as you can. And given that the average home takes around three months to sell on the open market, your options are limited.
A UK house buyer can, in some cases, complete the purchase of a home in just seven days. Bear in mind, however, that the average timescale is closer to 28 days.
Are there any alternatives to a quick house sale?
Before you take the plunge and sell to a quick house sale firm, you should consider all the alternatives. While this route might be the fastest, it’s not the only option.
Sell through a traditional estate agent
An experienced local estate agent with intrinsic knowledge of your market might be able to find a buyer in a matter of days. A good agent always has access to willing buyers in the area.
Some of the less scrupulous ‘quick house sale’ companies out there might only offer you 60 or 70% of your home’s market value. But by dropping your asking price by just 5%, a good agent might be able to deliver the quick sale you need.
But beware: Selling on the open market is a complicated process. It involves marketing, property viewings and negotiations. Involving a third party (the agent) slows the process down further. Even the quickest sale delivered by an estate agent will take considerably longer than selling to a house buying company.
Speak to your lender
If you’re selling because you’ve fallen into mortgage arrears or trying to stop repossession proceedings, then talking to your lender might deliver some solutions. Before you decide to sell, ask your lender about alternatives.
No mortgage provider wants to repossess a home. It involves costs, delays and bad will. Banks will talk to you about ways to proceed that don’t include legal action. You might be able to negotiate reduced payments or a payment holiday. You may also be able to refinance — allowing you to extend the term of your loan and reduce the monthly repayments.
Explore other ways of funding your retirement
If you need a fast sale to fund your retirement or the costs of care, there may be viable alternatives to using a ‘quick house sale’ company. For instance, you might be able to free up cash through an equity release scheme — allowing you to remain in your home. Borrowing against pension funds and investments might be an option.
Sell your home at auction
If you need to sell a house that needs extensive work or that has a short lease, selling at auction could be the best option. But it’s worth remembering that there’s still a marketing process involved. And you’ll even need to host property viewings.
Once a successful bid wins, the clock starts ticking. The buyer pays a deposit there and then, and must pay the balance within 28 days. But remember: this method of selling a house doesn’t guarantee you a buyer. And even if your home sells, this could be a two-month process.
Part-exchange with a home builder
If the plan is to move into a more suitable home (or perhaps relocate), a part-exchange with a house builder might be an excellent way to speed things up. The builder doesn’t have to sell a property before they buy yours. Because there’s no chain, the entire process is faster and smoother.
But there is a significant flaw. This avenue is only open to you if you’re trading up. And you’re unlikely to receive the full market value for your home. But that might be a small price to pay if it means getting into your new home as fast as possible.
Deciding if a quick house sale is right for you
Selling a home is always a big deal. But in certain circumstances, it can have a dramatic effect on your life for years to come. You need to know that you are making the correct decision. After all, selling a home to a national house buyer involves sacrificing some value.
Before taking the plunge, consider the following points:
Get your property valuation
The first stage of selling to a ‘quick house sale’ company is valuation. At Quick House Sale, we work with our partners and experienced property professionals to value UK homes based on historical and current data. But not all house buyers are as conscientious.
Never take the valuation you receive at face value. Do your research on the likes of Zoopla and Rightmove. Approach two or three local estate agents for their opinion. Of course, the offer you receive from a house buying company won’t be the full market value, but it certainly shouldn’t involve 30 or 40% discount.
Reputable ‘quick house sale’ firms usually offer between 80 to 85% of a property’s market value.
Shop around for the best deals
Don’t accept the first offer you receive from a house buying company. There are now dozens of firms operating in the UK, and not all of them have the best interests of owners at heart. Do a little research, and choose three or four of the most respected ‘we buy any house’ firms to compare.
Remember: A respectable firm won’t charge you for an initial valuation. And they’ll never ask you to sign an exclusivity contract.
Check each firm’s professional credentials
The ‘we buy any house’ sector in the UK isn’t as tightly regulated as it should be. But there are ways to check that a company can be trusted. For example, you can check the company is registered at Companies House or with the National Association of Property Buyers. If the company is registered with the NAPB, then they must comply with their rules.
Research the company online
One of the best ways to find a trustworthy house buying service is to research reviews, comments and testimonials from customers. Get onto chat rooms, discussion boards and social media. Reach out to people, and ask them to tell you about their own experiences.
People mistreated by house buying firms are usually open about their experiences — so the information isn’t hard to find on the Internet.
But be wary about reviews. Yes, sites such as TrustPilot have their uses, but they’re not immune from misuse. Make sure each review is verified by phone or email. And check the country where the reviewer is posting. If the company operates in the UK, but the reviewer is from Brazil, this could be a sign of a fake write-up.
Don’t be afraid to haggle
Some unscrupulous house buying companies will use your need for a quick sale to their advantage. They’ll offer bad terms in the hope that your desperation forces you to accept. But try not to play their games. And don’t be afraid to negotiate.
If you don’t think the initial offer is fair, tell them so. Communicate your price expectations, and indicate the lowest you’re willing to go. While this might result in an end to negotiations, it will save time — which you can use to approach other ‘quick house sale’ companies.
It’s also worth using other offers you’ve received as leverage. Shop around for three or for suggestions. If your preferred house buyer isn’t offering the best price, ask them if they’ll price match.
Get everything in black and white
Untrustworthy house buying companies will try to be vague about the details of an offer they make. And a lack of paperwork or written assurances might be a sign of malign intentions.
When you receive an offer, ask for it in writing — either through the post or via email. This evidence might help you in the event of a subsequent investigation by The Property Ombudsman. It’s also a sign that the ‘quick house sale’ firm can be trusted.
Consider offers in your own time
Some house buying companies will want to ramp up the pressure after making an offer and bombard you with phone calls, letters and emails in a bid to speed up your decision.
Take your time when deciding to accept or reject any offer for your home. Take time to read the small print. Yes, you’re in a hurry, but making decisions in haste could cost you in the long run.
Avoid protracted tie-ins
Remember that the average estate agency contract lasts around eight to 12 weeks. Any quick house sale agreement you enter into should be considerably shorter than that.
Ideally, choose a house buying firm that doesn’t require you to sign a contract at the beginning of the process. The only binding agreement you have to sign is the one that transfers ownership of your home.
Be honest throughout the process
To hurry up the process as much as possible, be open and honest about your property. If it needs substantial repairs, let the ‘quick house sale’ company know at the first opportunity. The truth comes out in the end. And to withhold crucial information will mean you have to wait longer for your cash.
Ask for a copy of the survey
One of the tactics used by unscrupulous house buying companies involves reducing the offer based on the information contained within the survey. Any respectable business will provide you with the report for the first time of asking. If the buying company tries to block or ignore your requests, refer it to The Property Ombudsman.
Key questions to ask ‘quick house sale companies’
You shouldn’t proceed with the sale of your property until you’re completely satisfied that the house buying firm is honest and trustworthy. You also need to know that you’re getting the best deal possible.
With all this in mind, we’ve put together a few essential questions you need to ask before agreeing to a sale.
- Precisely who is valuing your property? And what are their credentials?
- What is the timescale of the proposed sale?
- Are there any circumstances that might affect the timescale?
- Are there any fees or charges to pay?
- Do you have assurances that the offer won’t change at the last minute?
- Is the offer conditional? Could the survey drastically reduce the valuation?
- Who’s buying your home? Is it the company contacting you or a private buyer that they represent?
- Does the company have the means to purchase your home within the agreed timescale?
- Is the ‘quick house sale’ company a member of the National Association of Property Buyers?
- Is the company registered with The Property Ombudsman?
Quick House Sale works with experienced property experts and long-term partners to buy houses fast. We’re always honest and upfront about the value of the homes we purchase. And we never reduce our offer at the last minute.
If you’re looking for a ‘quick house sale’ company you can trust, look no further. Call us today to discuss the speedy sale of your home.
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