If you need to sell your house fast you might be thinking of using a ‘specialist quick sale’ company. They offer to buy your house in as little as a week at a discounted price. However, there are concerns that home owners could be misled and lose out financially.

The UK Property Market is now congested with a number of companies posing as cash buyers with a view to agreeing a price below the market value in return for certainty and speed of completion, when they have no intention of buying the property themselves.  Although there are a handful of genuine quick sale companies, tread carefully when selecting the firm to work with.  Ask questions, use google to find out if the company has had complaints made against them, only work with companies who carry professional indemnity insurance [ask to see the policy schedule if necessary] and are registered members of The Property Ombudsman Redress Scheme.

These quick sale organisations can provide a useful service for homeowners who need to unlock cash in a hurry. There are many motivations for a quick house sale, some of which are detailed below;

  • Avoid repossession, clear debts or sort out financial problems
  • Dispose of inherited property
  • Move for age or health related reasons
  • Sell as a result of divorce or relationship breakdown
  • Relocate due to a change of job or to emigrate
  • Property with short lease, structural problems, mine shaft in the garden etc
  • Unmortgageable / defective properties [eg certain types of concrete construction]

Selling your home using a traditional estate agency can be very time consuming and stressful for the vendor.  There are many reasons other than the above why vendors choose the likes of UK Homebuyers Ltd over the local estate agent;

  • No viewings or offers – many estate agents overvalue the property to win the instruction and shortly after the property appears on the market they suggest a price reduction
  • Keeping the house clean – many vendors find it very stressful tidying the house each time someone is coming to view the property
  • Others knowing your business – some vendors would rather their neighbours do not know their business and use discreet quick sale companies rather than a for sale board outside the property

Some of the cons are listed below;

  • Some companies agree to buy a house, but then reduce the price at the very last minute
  • Fee structures are not always made clear to the customer
  • Some companies make false property valuations
  • Some contracts tie customers in, preventing them from selling to anyone else who might come along with a better offer

Top tips if you’re going ahead with a quick house sale company;

  • Do your own valuation. Make sure you get a valuation from three different estate agents so you can decide whether any offer made by a quick sale company is fair
  • Shop around. Not all quick sale companies are the same. Make sure you look at what different ones can offer
  • Check the company’s credentials. If the provider is a broker (someone who introduces you to a prospective buyer), check that they are registered with either The Property Ombudsman or Ombudsman Services: Property. If the provider says they have signed up to a code of practice, or they are regulated by an official body, check for yourself
  • Don’t be shy. It’s always worth negotiating the terms and/or the price
  • Get everything in writing. Don’t accept verbal assurances
  • Take your time. Don’t rush or be pressured into a decision
  • Read the agreement carefully. Don’t sign an agreement unless you fully understand what you are agreeing to. Get your legal adviser to explain anything you’re not clear about
  • Avoid long tie-ins. Don’t sign any agreement that ties you to the quick sale company for a long time. A typical estate agency contract lasts 8-12 weeks. A quick sale contract should be shorter than that
  • Be honest. Giving incorrect information or leaving important things out might cause hold-ups further down the line and even mean a reduction in the price you’re offered
  • Ask to see the survey. If the company you’re using reduces the offer price, ask why. If the survey’s findings are to blame, ask to see them. A fair-dealing business will not hide them from you
  • Don’t commit too early in the process. Don’t sign on the dotted line until all the surveys and legal checks are done and you have a final offer in writing

In summary, there are a number of rogue property traders in the marketplace who you need to avoid at all costs.  If the company in question has a reputation for such unscrupulous activities, Google will be your best weapon to find this out.  Type the company name and ‘complaints’ into the Google search facility and carefully read through any results.

There are also some reputable companies who are genuinely interested in helping the vendor achieve a quick sale at a fair price, UK Homebuyers Ltd having a strong reputation for treating customers fairly and offering flexibility that many others do not.  Do your research, proceed with caution and you will find success.