A quick way to sell your home
Quick sell companies promise a speedy turnaround on the sale of your property. But are these firms really as good as they sound?
Selling a property can be a stressful experience. After countless dead-end viewings, when you eventually do get a buyer they could be caught up in a long chain. Worse still, the deal could fall through, meaning you lose money and are back to square one. But what if you could bypass the stress and sell your home in no time at all?
Well, that’s the promise of several companies - typically found online - that claim they can make an instant cash offer on your property and complete the deal within a matter of weeks.
Quick sell websites
There are plenty of websites active in this area, all with varying levels of enticing claims.
Webuyanyhouse.co.uk says it can offer up to 90% of your house value and purchase your property within four to eight weeks if you accept its offer.
Quickbuyers.co.uk offers a similar proposition, but for 75-85% of the value. And it is more optimistic, claiming the sale can be completed in 15 days.
Other websites make even bolder claims. Highpricepaid.co.uk states it can buy any house for cash in a mere 24 hours, fee-free, for up to 100% of the value. On closer inspection the cash could be in the bank within 14-28 days.
Most of the firms claim that they're prepared to buy your property whatever the condition or the location.
But if a quick sell is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it?
When selling your property this way there are two things to consider. Who is doing the valuation and how big is the potential loss?
If the valuation is done fairly (typically undertaken by an independent chartered surveyor and estate agent) then this reduces your losses, but if a company uses its own ‘team’, you could potentially lose more.
To illustrate, if a property is fairly valued at £300,000, and you receive an offer to buy for 90% of that value, you have lost out on £30,000. But if your property is given a 'lowball' valuation at £280,000, then your losses rocket to £48,000. That’s a lot of money to lose out on - especially if you’re in negative equity already.
The speed of these deals will also depend on the website and how they operate. If the site isn't buying the property directly and is using a third party, it's effectively just another estate agent. You'll have to wait until they find a buyer and still suffer a loss.
Another problem is the lack of regulation around the sector, which leaves homeowners in a vulnerable position should they decide to go ahead. The targeting of vulnerable homeowners is reminiscent of sale-and-rent-back schemes, which involved firms buying a property from an owner and renting it back to them. Horror stories emerged about the tenancy agreements quickly coming to an end and previous owners being booted out.
Thankfully these schemes were effectively shut down this year by the Financial Services Authority.
So is this too good to be true?
I think the real problem with quick sale websites is that it's hard to know which sites are offering reasonable prices and are acting in good faith.
Shopping around, making sure you don't have to pay any fees and checking out a company could help. You can use Companies House to check a company is registered and take a look at their accounts to make sure they have the finances available to fund the transaction.
There are plenty of other options to consider before going down the quick sale route.
If you are struggling with your mortgage you should talk to your mortgage lender who may be able to reduce your monthly payments to avoid respossession. Or you could request a payment holiday to get your finances back in order.
It might also be worth getting free advice from one of the free debt advice charities:
For those who just want to move or relocate, you could try renting your home rather than selling. It could be lucrative as rents are on the up. But bear in mind you will have to get permission from your mortgage provider.
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