“Quick! I need to sell my house NOW!!”
Apparently there’s a market full of homeowners desperate to sell their home FAST so they can get cash in their pockets even faster, and they’re even willing to accept 10% – 25% less than the market value of their home to achieve it.
Are YOU looking to sell your house super fast? Are you looking into using a “Quick House Sale” company? Here are the need-to-knows, including the traps to avoid…
While the need to sell a house quickly isn’t a requirement exclusive to landlords, it is a service taken up by many of us (for several various reasons, but mainly because we’re up shit creek without a paddle and dire need of some cash!).
Now, of course, I’d be amiss if I only circled out landlords, because plenty of regular non-landlords are also in the market to sell their home quicker than they can say “buy my bloody house”! But the reason I’m covering this topic (on my landlord blog) is because there’s been a recent uptick in demand for more information from my fellow landlord peers to cover the issue. I’m not one to pry (or care enough) to ask questions, but my guess is the current [tough] climate is grabbing many of us by the short ‘n’ curlies, and a quick sale might be the much-needed life-line required to survive another morbid day.
In any case, let’s go through the details of how you can go about selling up quickly (whether you’re a landlord or not), including a couple of options…
What are quick house sale/cash buyer companies?
I’m hoping no one is scratching their ass in confusion, because the name is very telling.
Quick house sale companies offer to sell or buy your home fast. Faster than the traditional routes, like a high-street estate agent.
There are generally two types of services available:
- A service that looks for third-party buyers (very quickly)
- A service (company) that directly purchases the property from you (which is usually the quickest way to achieve a sale, for the obvious reasons)
In both instances, you’ll generally have to accept a below market value (BMV) offer. You would typically be looking at getting around 10% – 25% less than the market value of your home. But I suspect (and hoping) that shouldn’t come as a surprise since there has to be a catch to the “quick sale” hook, and the discounted price is exactly it.
A list of quick house sale/cash buyer companies
While I’ve never used any of the companies below (so can’t personally recommend any of them through experience), I did shuffle through, what felt like a million, “Quick house sale” services, and the below looked to be the most promising, either because they all have a public reviewing platform available and are members of redness schemes (both of which I believe are crucial to choosing a reliable company to use).
I’ve tried to accumulate the ‘selling features’ of each service, but I recommend doing your own due diligence!
Quick Move Now||
4.9 / 5
4.8 / 5
4.7 / 5
Home House Buyers||
4.5 / 5
Vivo Property Buyers||
9 / 10
9 / 10
We Buy Any House||
8.1 / 10
Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from each companies website for the most up-to-date information.
If you have any experience with any of the above companies, or if you’re in the midst of weighing up your options, I’d love to hear your feedback (leave a comment below!).
The Pros and Cons of using a Quick House Sale company
- Achieve a quick sale;
- Quick way of liquidating asset in order to access cash;
- Can help avoid repossession, clear debts, and generally resolve financial issues quickly;
- A possible solution for anyone that has been struggling to sell their property via the traditional means;
- As mentioned, the trade off of using a quick house sale service is that you’ll have to accept a price that’s lower than the current market value (they typically offer between 75% – 90% of the market rate);
- Some companies have been known to agree to buy a house for a price, but then reduce the price at the very last minute (also known as “gazumping”). It’s a nasty trick;
- Fee structures can be confusing and unclear, so home-sellers often end up paying more in fees than expected;
- Some companies make false property valuations (i.e. they provide low valuations to get a better deal);
- Some companies enforce a “sole agency” policy, which prevents sellers from accepting offers from anywhere else. This can often lead to better deals being missed out on.
Points to consider when selling your house via quick sale company!
- Think carefully about whether using a quick house sale company is right for you! It’s important to understand both the pros and cons. It’s also worth looking into all your options, and then deciding which is the best decision for your circumstances.
- Don’t purely rely on the property valuation provided by a quick sale company, do your own valuation. Here’s a guide on how you can value your property.
I have a read a few horror stories of vulnerable sellers have lost up to 50% by selling to quick sale companies, because of undervaluing!!
It’s also worth asking the company how they conduct their valuations. Normally, you will receive an initial preliminary estimate over the phone. They will then send someone to assess your property, accurately evaluate its condition and make an offer accordingly. You will then receive a final offer (which you shouldn’t be under no obligation to accept it). But it’s definitely best to check what the policy is before agreeing to an in-person valuation!
- Negotiate! Following on from the point above; don’t be afraid to negotiate!
“Free service, no legal costs” – almost ALL quick sale companies offer a completely free service to sellers, and they’re definitely not shy in flaunting it: the “no legal costs, we take care of it all” headline is very alluring. But it’s important to note that it’s not really free, because they take the costs into consideration when making you a below market value offer!!
I don’t think it’s a particularly vicious tactic, but it’s worth bearing in mind, and I definitely wouldn’t put too much value on the flashy headline.
- Shop around! There are plenty of options, including companies and service types, to choose from in order to achieve a quick sale!
Quick house sale companies aren’t regulated so consumers aren’t protected when selling a property to one of these companies.
So it’s important to use a company that is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB), because they require all their members to register with The Property Ombudsman (TPOS), which means homeowners will have to access their independent redress in the event of a dispute. I also recommend using a company that allows their customers to leave reviews on third-party platforms like TrustPilot.
Just to emphasise the importance of using a reputable company, here’s a news article on the MailOnline reporting a story on The Office of Fair Trading investigating three unnamed ‘quick house sale’ companies for alleged unfair practices that may have led vulnerable customers being left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Are they buying directly or sourcing a buyer? As mentioned already, there are generally two types of services available when it comes to selling fast via a quick sale company. Either they will buy the property off you directly, or they will source a third party buyer. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, because generally speaking:
- If they buy directly: you will get offered a lower price (e.g. 80% of the market value) but the sale will be quicker (e.g. 7 – 14 days).
- If they source buyers: you will get offered a higher price (e.g. 90% of the market value) and the sale will take longer (e.g. 4 – 8 weeks).
- Read the contract(s) carefully, and don’t agree to work with a company unless you fully understand the T&C’s, particularly all the associated fees. Everything should be written down, so don’t rely on verbally agreed upon terms.
Most companies will have their own internal/recommend legal adviser which they will try and encourage you to use. They can’t legally force you to use their recommended legal services, and it’s generally better to source your own independent legal adviser.
If you don’t already have one (either by recommendation or previous use), you can search for legal representation from the following websites:
- If the company you’re using is going to look for a third-party buyer, avoid tying yourself into long contracts! A typical ‘sole agency’ contract with an estate agent is 8-12 weeks. A quick sale contract should be shorter, but it’s also important to note that there are companies which don’t insist on any kind of contract before sale.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask every question you need before agreeing to work with a company. For example, ask them how quickly they expect to achieve a sale, how quickly you should expect the money in your account, and what their recent results have been like. A more complete list of questions you may wish to ask is further down this page!
Questions to ask Quick House Sale / Cash Buyer Companies
- Which redness schemes they are members of e.g. Property Ombudsman (it should be clearly displayed on their website, but it’s worth asking anyways). You can also check their member directory on the Property Ombudsman’s website to ensure they actually are a member!
Many companies (not just quick house sale companies) advertise they are members of various redness schemes when they actually aren’t!
- If the company is buying the property themselves with their own cash, or if they need to source a buyer. If the latter, ask how they will source the buyer.
- What fees you will have to pay, including if there are any charges if the sale doesn’t complete.
- How they value your property.
- How long it takes for you to receive the cash in your account.
- How long it takes for the sale to complete.
- If you’re tied into any contracts.
- If the in-person valuation is 100% free and without any obligation.
Alternatives to selling quick (for below market value)
- If you’re looking to sell cheap, and not necessary quick, you may want to try using an online estate agent instead of venturing down the quick sale route. Online estate agents can market your property on the biggest property portals (like Rightmove & Zoopla) for as little as £99.
- Before tossing the idea of using your local high-street agent out the window, it might be worth talking to a couple of them to see whether they can offer you a “quick sale” deal. It might also be worth asking them what their average sale time is.
I’d personally rather work with a local brick and mortar agent over an online ‘quick sale’ service if possible.
- One of the main reasons for selling quick is to get relief from financial difficulties, mainly suffocating mortgage payments. If that’s your reason, it’s worth contacting your mortgage lender to discuss your options. They might be able to amend your policy so it’s easier for you to manage your payments.