In recent months, a new breed of firm has emerged which take a new twist on a burgeoning trend. Much like more established companies which offer to buy any vehicle, these online start-ups promise to buy any home for up to 90 per cent of their value. The lure for many house sellers is the transaction can be completed in just a matter of weeks.
If you’re in need of cash quickly, firms such as Webuyanyhouse.co.uk, Quickbuyers.co.uk and Housebuyerbureau.co.uk offer to buy your property so you can achieve a quick sale. However, vulnerable homeowners are being warned that in many cases homeowners are offered just a fraction of the property’s real value and end up tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Peter Bolton King, a spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, was quick to voice his concerns about the new firms: “Homeowners looking for a quick sale are vulnerable by definition and are prime targets for quick sale property websites. Homeowners should know they are unlikely to be offered the value they had hoped for”.
Research has shown that despite reporting to offer 90 per cent of the property’s value, in reality the actual figures are likely to be far lower. Putting the theory to the test, a national newspaper wanted to see how much they would be offered for a two-bedroom maisonette in West London. Two estate agents valued the property independently at £475,000 to £500,000; one online quote was as low as £337,000, a long way from 90 per cent of the property’s value.
These emergent firms have drawn comparisons with the sale and rent back (SRB) industry, another unregulated sector. The Financial Services Authority brought the SRB industry to an end last year after much consternation from property sellers who felt duped by many of the completed transactions.
The advice from the experts is to consider every possible option before approaching a quick sale home company. If you are struggling to manage your finances, talk to your mortgage lender before taking any action. It may be possible to be transferred over to an interest-only loan to avoid repossession or sinking further into debt. You may even be offered a holiday payment, which can provide you with the time you need to sell the property for a fair price on the open market.
If you are looking to sell your home quickly, the conscientious and prompt conveyancing solicitors at Howells work quickly to secure your sale at a fair price.
We deal regularly with estate agents across South and West Wales, so we know which agents provide their customers with excellent customer service, which agents sell properties quickly, who provide accurate valuations, which ones secure good offers, and also what their commission fees are – please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if this service is of interest to you.
by Tristan Lewis