Are you a UK homeowner looking to sell your property quickly? If so, you've likely come across companies offering to buy your house fast.
While many of these house buying companies are legitimate, some are scams that can leave you with a much lower offer than you expected, or worse, no offer at all.
In this comprehensive article, we'll provide you with the tools and information you need to avoid We Buy Any House scams and sell your property quickly and safely. From understanding the tactics used by scammers to tips for finding a reputable home buying company, we've got you covered.
We reveal the biggest scams, including how to check if a We Buy Any House Company is legitimate.
One of the first things you should do as a homeowner is to confirm whether you are dealing with a genuine cash house buying company
You'd be surprised to find that many so-called quick sale firms are, in fact, either intermediaries, lead generation companies (that sell your details to legitimate companies), or simply typical estate agents who operate under a false guise and try to sell your house on the open market after they've tricked you into signing a contract to use their house buying service.
Many We Buy Any House companies often miscalculate the actual value of your property, resulting in a lower final offer.
An experienced property company will ensure they have good market data and tools to determine the true value of your property - usually asking for extra information which helps them accurately predict what your property is worth.
These firms will tell you things like we buy any house at 100% market value to get you on their side.
A common scam or tactic by dodgy companies is where a firm overvalue your property or gives you a cash offer they have no intention of paying. Then as completion time approaches, they take advantage of your situation and start bombarding you with messages to try and get you to agree to a lesser figure so they can make more money out of the transaction. Unfortunately, these companies cannot offer guaranteed sales or sell your house quickly.
They likely are just middlemen and are now trying to sell quickly to a genuine house buying company. Don't be surprised if the firm says they are lowering their offer because of external factors or market value changes. In almost all cases, this is a lie.
Furthermore, a genuine property cash buyer can easily buy your house within 7-14 days. So it's unlikely that any external factor or market change will force them to make a lowball offer in just a fortnight!
It's important to note that both legit We Buy Any House companies and misleading firms that pose as cash buyers differ in extra or 'hidden' fees, so confirm what you will be paying for before signing anything.
The hidden costs often come in the form of upfront, survey, legal fees, and closing fees. Be vigilant, as the 'hidden fee' is not always transparent at the start.
Many quick house sale companies claim they will buy your house in 7 days. This is very much doable, but only if they are true cash house buyers.
If the firm cannot meet the deadline they have set (whether that is 7 days, 14 days, or more), then alarm bells should start ringing on your side. It could be that the firm is trying to sell your home on the open market or sell your details to a real cash-buying company.
What are option agreements?
An option agreement is an agreement in the small print of a contract between you and the buying firm.
One common 'agreement' you should watch out for gives these dodgy firms the right to sell your house via a third party. To avoid this scam, read the small print.
If you see something like this, do yourself a favour and find another firm that will buy your property – you're not getting a quick cash sale with them. They do not have the cash funds available to purchase your house quickly.
A firm must be regulated by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to offer rent-back schemes.
If you're looking to sell up and then rent back, remembering this will help you avoid this scam.
This regulation was put in place because many rogue firms in the past would promise sellers that they could stay in their homes for an agreed amount of time after selling it, but then after a short while, they would force them out without warning!
Now that we've learnt about all the different types of scams, how do we go about avoiding them?
Do your research: Before working with any house buying company, do your research to ensure that they are reputable. Check that they are reputable companies and have reviews on independent review sites websites such as Trustpilot, and make sure they are registered with The Property Ombudsman or the National Association of Property Buyers.
Get multiple offers: Don't accept the first offer you receive. Get quotes from multiple cash buying companies to compare offers and ensure that you are getting a fair price for your property.
Read the contract carefully: Make sure you read the contract carefully before signing. If you're unsure about any terms, seek legal advice from a solicitor or conveyance that's familiar with the property industry.
Avoid upfront fees: Legitimate cash house buying companies will not ask for upfront fees. If a company asks you for money upfront, it's likely a scam.
Take your time: Don't feel pressured to make a quick decision. Take your time to consider all offers and seek legal advice before signing any contracts.
We know which scams to avoid and some tips on how to avoid them. If you're interested in selling your house with a professional cash homebuyer, below are some tips for finding a reputable company:
Check their credentials: Make sure the company is registered with The Property Ombudsman or the National Association of Property Buyers. This ensures that they are bound by a code of practice and have a complaints procedure in place.
Read their reviews: Check the company's reviews on websites such as Trustpilot to see what other homeowners have to say about their experience.
Ask for references: Ask the company for references from previous customers. If they're unwilling to provide references, it may be a red flag.
Check their website: Reputable property buyers will have a professional website with clear contact information and a physical address.
when it comes to avoiding we buy any house scams, it is important to do your research and take the necessary precautions. As a seller, you want to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable and trustworthy company that has your best interests at heart. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams and ensure that you get a fair deal for your property.
Remember to take the time to research any company you are considering selling your property to. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers, and don't be afraid to ask for references. Additionally, be wary of any company that asks for upfront fees or pressures you into making a quick decision.
By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, you can sell your property with confidence and avoid falling victim to we buy any house scams.