What to consider when selling your home to a cash buyer

Selling to a cash buyer checklist

Checklist provided by

www.theadvisory.co.uk


 

 

There are three types of cash buyer:

  • Professional
  • Individual property investors
  • People who claim to be ‘cash buyers’ but sell your details onto a third party

When you contact someone claiming to be a cash buyer first check whether they are using their own funds, borrowing via mortgage or selling your details to someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of funds from the buyer.

Be aware, the 'quick sale' industry is not regulated.

 

  • There is however a voluntary redress scheme run by  The Property Ombudsman (TPO) that some companies are members of.
  • Membership of this scheme is no guarantee a company is reputable and safe to use but it does at least give you access to a redress scheme should they breach their obligation as set out in their code of practice.
  • You can check membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme here.
  • You can read their code of practice for residential property buying companies here.
 

Find out if the cash buyer charges any fees for their service – if they do, consider other companies as many don’t charge.

 

Ask how much less the company will offer than the estimated sale price of the property. For example, if your property is worth £200,000 will they offer 20% less, 25% less or expect a bigger reduction?

 

Find out what the process is to value your home. There are typically two ways to do this:

  • A ‘desktop’ valuation – this considers online research and chats with local agents on the phone;
  • A personal valuation – this includes a visit to meet you and the property and is sometimes carried out by a Royal Institution Chartered Surveyor. If they have an RICS survey carried out, ask to see it (and remember to check who pays for it).
  • Some companies will do a ‘desktop’ valuation first and also an RICS evaluation. It is generally this RICS evaluation that forms the basis of the offer.

If you are presented with any paperwork to sign, do not sign it without having it independently checked by a solicitor. You are welcome to contact TheAdvisory for an initial opinion but bear in mind, although we are experienced, we are not qualified legal professionals.

Ask if the offer you are receiving is guaranteed or if it could change later. Find out under what circumstances it could change – for example, if the survey results highlight issues with the property.

Find out how long it will take them to buy your home – days or weeks – and whatever the timescale, find out how they are able to buy quickly. For example, it shouldn’t take more than 4-6 weeks. Some companies have cash funds readily available and use solicitors who are experienced and able to act fast.

Ask what you will pay for and what the company will pay on your behalf. For example, if you are currently selling through an agent, will you still have to pay the agent? Will the company pay for your legal fees?

If the company offers to pay your legal fees, can you choose which legal company you want to work with if you have someone you trust?

Ask if there is a tie-in clause. Some companies require you to sign one of these and it means you can’t sell your property to anyone else during the time period it covers. Many companies do not require you to sign a tie-in contract.

Ask what happens if the company pulls out of the deal for any reason – for example, through lack of funds. Will they refund your costs or find you another cash buyer?

Ask what happens if you decide to pull out of the sale. Will you have to pay any fees? Some companies allow you to pull out of the sale at no cost before exchange of contracts.

 

The six rules to staying safe:

  1. If they ask for any upfront payment of any kind - WALK AWAY!
  2. If they cannot provide 'proof of cash funds' upon your request - WALK AWAY!
  3. If they will not provide contact details of recent clients (so you can ascertain customer service levels) - WALK AWAY!
  4. If they claim to provide a guaranteed sale within 28 days for close to full market value - WALK AWAY!
  5. If they claim they (or the industry) are 'regulated' - WALK AWAY!
  6. If they ask you to sign a 'lock-in contract', 'option agreement' or 'RX1' form - WALK AWAY!
For more information, free help and guidance, contact Gavin Brazg at TheAdvisory.

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of
Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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