The decision to sell your house is definitely not one for the faint-hearted! The mere thought of it could conjure up memories of horror stories told to you by friends and articles in the press about dreadful things that have happened to house owners - including those who have been tricked by quick cash house sale scams.
Do You Need to Sell Quickly?
You may be wanting to sell your house quickly to raise some funds for university education for one of your offspring, or a family wedding or maybe you have spotted 'the house of your dreams' for sale and you need to move swiftly if you are going to be able to buy it. You could be facing repossession because you have slipped behind in mortgage repayments or you are keen to clear debts. Other reasons for making a speedy move include health issues either of the property owner or a family member or a job relocation.
In all of these situations, selling speedily to a cash buyer is an advantage, as the sale can be completed swiftly and the money be in your bank account. Another great advantage is that your property is 'sold as seen' and you will not have to spend time and money on it getting things ready for the property market.
All these plus factors of choosing a cash buyer do come a cost though. Cash buyers offer sellers lower prices – in fact, 85% of the market value of the property is the average. Now, whilst some may say that house owners are unwise to take this, in reality, few sellers manage to get their full asking price when they sell through an estate agency. Many house sellers are happy with the lower price because they can enjoy the real bonuses of a speedy transaction with no stream of property viewings and no broken promises.
Choosing a Cash Buyer
There are certainly many advantages for opting to sell to a professional cash buyer and speed is definitely at the top of the list! The buyers usually deal in cash which is paid straight into your bank account and sometimes this transaction takes less than a week! Another huge bonus for sellers, is that this method is fee-free. A third and often important factor is that selling to a cash buyer, although you will get less than its market value, you will successfully sell your property. As many as one third of house sales in the UK fall through prior to 'exchange of contract' which is quite a shocking statistic and certainly costs house sellers valuable time and a great deal of money.
Selling your property to a cash buyer is a discreet affair as no 'For Sale' boards are displayed. There are circumstances when this can be a really bonus, for example, if you are a landlord selling your property with your tenants in situ who you do not wish to disturb.
Whilst all these reasons are very good ones for choosing a cash buyer, some may well say that the declarations by cash buyers sound 'too good to be true' and sadly they can be correct in thinking this. In all honesty, not all cash buyers are what they profess to be, because the industry as a whole remains unregulated, there are scammers operating who are best avoided and the need for property sellers to work with members of the NAPB is even greater! It is not all bad news though, because the number of cash purchasers is increasing year on year, because of all the positive points mentioned – especially speed and a guaranteed sale.
The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) was founded in 2013 by a group of professionals working in the property buying sector who were keen to raise standards. Since its formation, the group has worked with The Property Ombudsman to create a new code of practice and guidelines to raise the standards within the industry to the highest possible level.
Membership of NAPB is open to all professionals working within the property industry but membership is voluntary. Having said that, members of NAPB must sign up to The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice as this ensures property sellers that they will receive a fair and transparent service. As well as this, property sellers have access to the free and impartial advice of The Property Ombudsman if they feel they have not been given a good service.
Property sellers should look out for the association's distinctive logo, which comprises of the initials NAPB written in pale blue and enclosed in the pale blue outline of a box – it appears on the websites of its members and also on their headed notepaper! House sellers can approach NAPB members with total confidence, knowing that they are committed to working to the highest standards. Nevertheless NAPB does recommend that independent legal advice is sought by sellers before committing to a sales agreement.
Choosing a cash buyer that is a member of NAPB also brings the added safeguard, that you will be able to access The Property Ombudsman free, impartial and independent resolution service, should you have a complaint.
Preparing to Sell
Good homework is essential if your house selling is going to go smoothly. There are several things to prepare before you contact the 'cash buy' company. The first, is to check that your chosen company is an NAPB member, a full list of current NAPB members is listed on the association's website https://www.napb.co.uk/members/.
Get an accurate valuation of your property. It is best to get three valuations from three different estate agents or online sources so that you can competently gauge the offer you are given by the cash buyer. It is best to shop around and approach several cash buyers and compare each one's offer. Cash buyers are either individuals or a company and must have adequate funds to work quickly and be able to pay you in cash in the agreed time frame. There are cash buyers who work as brokers and will find a cash buyer for the property.
If you choose a cash buyer who is a member of NAPB you can be confident that they will be adhering to the Code of Practice and will treat you fairly and honestly and all aspects of the house selling procedure will be of the highest standard. If the cash buyer is working purely as a broker, the company should be a member of The Property Ombudsman (TPOS).
Ways to Safeguard Your Property Sale
Whilst the most important step is to ensure that your cash buyer is a member of NAPB, there are other ways that will help ensure that selling your house is a quick and effortless as possible.
If You Are Unhappy, Say So!
Having down your homework, you will have a good idea what price you would like to be offered for your property and with which conditions. If you are unhappy with either aspect, say so as all points are negotiable. It is imperative that before you sign anything, you read and re-read the agreement so that you have fully understood it.
Don't be embarrassed or feel pressured, if there is a clause that you do not understand, then it is essential to ask for an explanation. Double check the time frame for the purchase and what steps must be completed and when. When will you receive payment? How? It is a good idea to ask for proof of adequate funds – if the cash buyer is genuine, there will be no problem with this request.
Make sure that everything that you agree is written down rather than verbally agreed as this will safeguard you. Check exactly what expenses you will be liable for such as survey and legal fees. It is advisable to get independent legal advice at every stage.
Do not be tied into a long contract with the cash buyer. Estate agents work to 8-12 week time span and cash buyers usually work to much less – if they are not prepared to, it could indicate inadequate funds or that they are acting purely as a broker and trying to get a buyer.
Do not sign any documentation until the survey and legal work have been completed. If the cash buyer says that the offer must be reduced because of what the survey has revealed, you are quite within your right to request to see the survey.
And a Word of Warning
A very important reason for choosing a cash buyer who belongs to the NAPB is to safeguard your money and ensure you get the agreed cash price for your property. Knowing that cash sellers can be desperate to sell, some unscrupulous cash buyers have been known to dramatically reduce the price offered at the very last minute – often too late for the seller to pull out.
The NAPB – Good News for All Property Sellers!
Whilst cash buyers are gaining in popularity, you may be wanting to move somewhere larger or smaller or to a completely new area and are happy to sell your property at a slower pace using your local estate agent.
The NAPB can certainly help you make an informed decision about how best to sell your property and indicate any possible benefits and disadvantages of selling to a professional cash buyer. The NAPB can help you, the property seller, make a clear and informed decision and the right choice that best suits your circumstances.
Of course, if you choose an estate agency that is an NAPB member, you will be fully protected. The NAPB is available to advise you if needed and can help ensure that the whole property selling process is as smooth and efficient as possible for you... that has to be great news!