Companies that buy houses for cash are on the rise as more and more people look to sell their home quickly — usually motivated by a change of circumstance like divorce, repossession or probate. It’s not just the property sector that’s seeing a shift from traditional business models to more progressive structures aligned to changing consumer demands though — Boohoo, Netflix and Apple are all stand out examples.
Like anything, not all property buying companies are created equal — there are stand out players alongside industry cowboys — so it’s worth doing your research before taking the plunge.
To help you get started and make the right decision, we’ve put a check list together:
- Is the company registered on Companies House?
This means that they are genuinely trading as a company. It’s worth looking at how long they have been operating for too — a solid history is always a good sign.
- Is there a complaints process?
No one is perfect — and the same applies to businesses. But what processes are in place for unhappy customers? Is there a dedicated point of contact at the end of the phone, or will you be passed from pillar to post? It’s better to know the facts before you find yourself in a frustrating situation.
- Do they guarantee not to reduce their offer on exchange?
Many national companies tend to offer a high price initially to make sure that they win your business, only to lower their offer at the 11th hour when you’ve nowhere to turn.
It’s a tactic that is sadly fairly prolific — unless you look at local options. Local companies have a local reputation to protect and are probably keen to grow in the area, so the price that they offer is the price that they will probably stick to.
- How do they conduct valuations?
The key difference tends to lie between local cash buying companies and their national counterparts.
National companies usually rely on machine-led desktop valuations based on similar properties in the area. What algorithms and computers can’t do though is account for individuality — like loft conversions, kitchen refurbs or extensions. As mentioned, national companies often over-inflate their initial offer to secure your business, only to reduce their price on the day of exchange when you’re backed into a corner with nowhere to turn. It’s not much different to how a lot of car salesmen operate— an attractive initial offer for your chipped but functional 7-year old family saloon, yet your left disappointed (and out of pocket) on the day ‘of exchange’ when the car dealer comes to view your car and chips down the price based on trivial findings.
Conversely, local cash buying companies (like Hull Cash Buyers) will actually view your home from the offset. That means that will offer a fair and accurate price that reflects the individuality of your property. And, they won’t deviate from it as the sale progresses.
- Do they have customer reviews and feedback?
Real voices matter — so look at what real customers have to say and check out their reviews.
- Do they have immediate access to funds?
Traditional estate agents are best suited to those that want the highest possible price, and are less bothered about time frames. Online estate agents are for those that want to reduce selling fees, but still have price over speed as their ultimate motivation. Cash buying companies are the best option for those where speed matters most — sometimes this is due to financial difficulties or for more positive reasons like landing a dream job at the other end of the country starting in 30 days. They are quick because they should have immediate access to funds, so make sure that you ask. If they can’t provide proof of funds then look elsewhere as they won’t be doing anything quickly, leaving your plans in neutral.
- Do they charge fees?
Considering there is no middleman estate agent, or listing fees — then cash buying companies shouldn’t be charging anything. If they do, then they probably aren’t buying for cash.
Any genuine company should be able to exchange within 14 days. If they can’t, then they might not actually be a cash buyer with access to funds.
If you have any further questions, then call our friendly team on 01482 655346 who will be happy to help.