Quick house sale companies act either as buyers, brokers or lead generators. There are various ways in which these providers market their services. Sellers looking to sell a house fast may see an advertisement in the local paper or on television, or they may receive a leaflet through their door. However, in the modern age of the Internet many sellers will go online to specifically search for a company that specialises in quick house sales.
Typically a provider will make upfront claims on their website or in their advert to attract sellers. These are usually claims that they will buy any property regardless of its condition or location, at a competitive price, and can provide a speedy service. Some also may say they charge no fees and some offer to pay some of the legal costs.
Providers also tend to stress reasons why sellers should choose their company to sell their house fast. They may do this by highlighting the fact they have a successful track record, have been established a long time, or are members of trusted bodies. Many make the claim that they are one of the biggest companies offering quick house sales.
It is a competitive industry and there are some concerns about companies making misleading claims in order to get a seller’s business. Sometimes sellers may misled by claims on a website or other marketing material, or at the initial contact with a provider, causing them to potentially miss out on a better deal from a different provider.
It is important that sellers are given accurate information on the “below market value” price, the speed and certainty of the sale, in order to decide if a fast house sale is the best option for them and which provider will be best suited to their needs.
What sellers should do when choosing a provider
When considering using a quick house sale company, sellers should do the following to ensure they have all the information needed to make an informed decision:
Weigh up the pros and cons of a fast house sale, taking into account their own situation and expectations.
Look at alternative options, depending on their circumstances, such as using a traditional estate agent or negotiating with their lender if they are struggling with mortgage payments.
Compare services offered by different providers by carefully reading information on websites or in marketing literature.
Find out more about a provider before committing. Brokers (providers who introduce sellers to third party buyers and are involved in progressing a sale) should be registered with an approved estate agents redress scheme. Sellers can check for confirmation of registration with www.tpos.co.uk/find-member.php or www.ombudsman.services.org/property.html. Sellers should check with the relevant organisation if a company states it is a member of a body or association, or it endorsed, approved or authorised by a certain body or follows a certain code of practice. The Companies House website could also provide more information.
Make sure they understand what the provider is offering. Important questions include: Is the provider buying, brokering or passing on leads? How will the buyer finance the purchase? What are the timescales for things happening and what could delay things? What is the below market value price and how may it change further on in the process? What fees and charges will be incurred and who pays them?
Be wary of marketing claims and ask lots of questions. For instance, if a provider is a buyer who claims to be willing to offer nearly 100% of the market value, how will they make a profit from the deal? How will a broker be able to arrange a faster sale than an estate agent? If a provider says funds are available and the buyer is a cash buyer, a seller should ask for proof of this.
Obligations on quick house sale providers
Providers have certain legal obligations and should always do the following:
- Act within the law and comply with all relevant legislation.
- Not make misleading claims in their marketing material or at the initial contact with a seller, whether by act or omission.
- Comply with the Advertising Standards Authority’s CAP code and BCAP code.
- Comply with the EAA and other legislation if they are doing estate agency work, such as brokering.