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Quick House Sales: How to Sell Your Home Faster

Written by Reviewed by Graham Norwood

3rd Jun 2020 (Last updated on 2nd Jul 2020) 14 minute read

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, you may be tempted to use a quick house sale company or cash house buyer. The company will offer to purchase your property at a discounted price and claim to make a quicker sale compared to traditional methods. However, not all companies are reputable and there are ways homeowners can be misled. 

Using a quick sale company does not always guarantee a quick sale and many homeowners lose out financially during this method. There are benefits to consider before deciding, but choosing the right company is vital in ensuring a successful sale. 

Compare My Move works alongside a number of property and finance experts to ensure you’re provided with accurate and insightful advice concerning the selling process. In this article, we will discuss what a quick house sale company is, why you may be tempted to use them and how important it is to ensure they’re a reputable firm.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What are Quick House Sale Companies?
  2. Who Uses Quick House Sale Companies and Why?
  3. Advantages of Using a Quick Sale Company
  4. Disadvantages of Using a Quick Sale Company
  5. Are Quick House Sale Companies Regulated?
  6. What Protection Do Homeowners Get When Selling to a Quick Sale Company?
  7. What to Expect From a Genuine Cash House Buyer
  8. How Can You Avoid Quick House Sale Scammers?
  9. Questions to Ask a Quick Buying Company
  10. Checklist for Going Ahead With a Quick House Sale Firm
  11. What Do You Do if You're Not Happy With Your Quick House Sale Company?
  12. Alternatives to a Quick House Sale Company
  13. Selling Your Home With the Help of Compare My Move

What are Quick House Sale Companies?

As the name suggests, quick house sale companies or cash house buyers claim to sell your home quickly. To do this, they will either buy your property directly (and then re-sell it themselves) or they will find a third-party buyer for you. 

Depending on the company you go with, a quick house sale company could complete a sale anywhere between seven days and a month. This is much quicker than a traditional sale on the open market or when selling your house at auction

It’s important to note that they will usually pay cash for your home but at a very substantial discount - typically only 70% to 80% of the market value.

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Who Uses Quick House Sale Companies and Why?

Some people are still attracted to the offers made by quick house sale companies as sellers don’t have to pay any estate agent fees or conveyancing costs (that is if you use the quick sale company's own recommended solicitor). There is also a reduced risk of the sale falling through as you don’t have to deal with long property chains or worry that the buyer is going to pull out of the transaction. 

Other sellers may consider these companies as they could be looking to quickly downsize, relocate within a strict deadline or simply not have to deal with the stress and uncertainty of a property chain. This method can also be helpful if you’re looking to release equity or quickly recover finances, presuming you accept the below-market price you will receive. 

However, not all quick house sale companies are trustworthy and so it’s recommended to first consider all other options that could help you sell your home, possibly at a better price.

Advantages of Using a Quick Sale Company

Quick sale companies can come with some benefits to homeowners who are looking for a fast and simple sale. They can sometimes buy your property within days and will pay the necessary fees for you. 

A few of the advantages of using quick sale companies are:

  • They can help homeowners avoid repossession and further debt.
  • You do not pay any estate agent fees.
  • They can help dispose of your inherited property if required.
  • The speed of the sale is usually much quicker.  
  • They also help sell properties that could be difficult to sell. For example, properties with a short lease or are at high risk of flooding.

Disadvantages of Using a Quick Sale Company

As much as they claim to sell your home quickly, there are also risks when using a quick sale or cash house buyer company.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using quick sale companies:

  • They will usually sell the property at a discounted price. Exceptionally this means as low as 50% of the market value. 
  • There could be excessive cancellation fees if you 'get cold feet' and pull out.
  • Some companies will agree to purchase the property at a certain price and then reduce it last minute, exploiting your keenness to sell. 
  • Free structures are not always made clear to customers. 
  • Some companies will actually make false property valuations. 
  • Some companies will also use their contracts to ‘tie-in’ customers, thus preventing them from selling to anyone else - even those with a better offer.

Are Quick House Sale Companies Regulated?

There is a trade association for quick sale companies in England, Wales & Northern Ireland called the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB). However, membership is voluntary and that does not guarantee that a company is regulated or reputable. 

The NAPB is self-regulating and says it aims to ensure members operate fairly, honestly and with transparency.   

Quick house sale companies may also be members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) but again this is not formal regulation; there is a TPO code of conduct, which the NAPB has integrated into its own code., 

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What Protection Do Homeowners Get When Selling to a Quick Sale Company?

As the companies are not regulated, homeowners are not fully protected when selling a property to them. 

However, if a quick sale company is a member of the NAPB, it must also register with the TPO and adhere to its code of conduct. This also means that homeowners can access TPO’s independent redress service and make a complaint if a dispute should occur; in theory this could end up with a customer being entitled to a compensation award ordered by TPO and paid by the quick sale company

Both the NAPB and TPO work to ensure all consumers are treated fairly and with complete transparency. However, not all members follow the code of conduct and there are no guarantees that a complaint will produce a satisfactory result. 

In an unregulated industry such as the quick sale industry, it is difficult to ensure complete protection for homeowners.

What to Expect From a Genuine Cash House Buyer

To ensure the company is genuine, you can compare reputable cash buying companies online. However, you should still do your own research for further peace of mind. Here are a few things to consider before deciding if the quick sale company is genuine.

A reputable company will:

  • Be transparent - Good companies will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision upfront. They will answer any and all questions you have and won’t hide anything through lengthy contracts or small print. 
  • Be a member of the NAPB - If they are a member of the National Association of Property Buyers, they will have a set code of conduct to adhere to. They will also have a good complaints procedure to follow. 
  • Clearly explain their fees - A reputable quick sale company won’t surprise you with hidden fees. They will answer any and all questions you have concerning the cost and all fees will be detailed upfront.
  • Allow you to use your own solicitor - You should not be forced to use their solicitor. You should be allowed to compare conveyancing quotes and find a conveyancing solicitor yourself if you wish to do so.  
  • Remain professional - The process should be organised and efficient. All members of staff should clearly and coherently communicate with clients. 
  • Not pressure you - A good quick sale company will not pressure you into using them. They will not pressure you into a sale and will take the time to discuss next steps with you. 

How Can You Avoid Quick House Sale Scammers?

Quick house sale scammers are to be avoided at all costs. They could sell your details on deliberately and inaccurately value your property or even reduce the offer at the last minute before completion day.  

Do not work with the company if anything presents red flags or you simply do not feel comfortable going forward with them. A few things to look out for include:

  • Reviews - not all quick sale company reviews are real. To avoid fake reviews, look at where the company operates and compare it to where the reviews originate. For example, it’s suspicious for a company buying property in the UK, to be receiving reviews from the USA. 
  • Lengthy contracts - some companies will hide extra fees within lengthy contracts. Thoroughly read the contract before signing it. You don’t want to be hit with hidden fees when completion day arrives. 
  • Check the valuation figure - get a second opinion. You could ask an independent estate agent to value your home and compare it to the value the company gives. 
  • Check they’re members of the NAPB - although quick sale companies are not regulated, this membership gives you a limited route to complain. 
  • Timeline - reputable cash buyer companies will often provide a timeline for the sale to ensure they stick to it.
  • A complaints procedure - whether it’s with the TPO or through the company itself, make sure they have a good complaints process.
  • A ‘no obligation’ policy - if you change your mind, you should be allowed to walk away from the sale. To ensure this, check that there is a ‘no obligation’ policy within the contract. 

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Questions to Ask a Quick Buying Company

Reputable companies will always provide information to you upfront and at the start of the process. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will discuss the situation with you before beginning. 

Here are a few of the questions you should ask a quick house sale company:

  1. Are you a member of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) or registered with The Property Ombudsman (TPO)? 
  2. Will you be purchasing the property yourself or acting on behalf of someone else?
  3. Who will be valuing the property and how?
  4. What is your proposed timescale for the sale? What are the different stages? 
  5. How will you be buying the property and do you have proof that the funds are available? 
  6. If someone else is the buyer, do they have the funds available with proof? 
  7. Do you have Professional Indemnity Insurance?
  8. Do you have a complaints procedure? 
  9. What fees will I be expected to pay? What fees are included if you don’t complete the sale?
  10. What could affect the offer price and will it change?

Checklist for Going Ahead With a Quick House Sale Firm

If you’re still considering going ahead with a quick sale firm, you should:

  • Obtain your own independent valuation - Make sure you get one or multiple estate agents to also conduct their own independent valuations to ensure the value given by the quick sale company is fair and realistic. 
  • Compare companies -  Don’t go with the first company you find. Shop around and compare quotes to see what each one can offer you. 
  • Check they’re members of the NAPB - When researching the quick house sale firm, make sure they’re members of The National Association of Property Buyers and are registered with The Property Ombudsman.
  • Read the contract carefully - Get everything in writing and thoroughly read the contract so that there are no hidden fees.
  • Negotiate - Don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms and price with the quick sale firm.
  • Hire your own legal adviser -  You can’t and shouldn’t be forced into using the company’s solicitor. Compare conveyancing quotes and find the right solicitor for you.
  • Avoid long tie-ins - Don’t sign the agreement if it is forcing you to tie yourself to the company for a long period of time. Typically, an estate agent’s tie-in agreement will last for 8-12 weeks. A quick sale company’s tie-in period should be less.
  • Ask to view the survey results - Some companies may use the survey results as an excuse to lower the price. If this happens, ask to see the survey results.  
  • Take your time - Above all else, do not rush into the process. Take your time to research and compare companies. Do enough research that you can confidently make an informed decision and definitely know that it is the right path for you. You should not feel pressured into making a decision.

What Do You Do if You're Not Happy With Your Quick House Sale Company?

If you’re unhappy with the service provided by the company, before making an official complaint, ask to speak to them directly and discuss the issue at hand. Allow them the opportunity to investigate and resolve the issue first. 

If this does not lead to a successful outcome, make a complaint through the company’s personal complaint system. Every reputable quick house sale company will have a good complaints procedure in place and will be happy to share how it works with you. 

If this still doesn’t resolve the issue, take your complaint further. If they are a member of the NAPB or are registered with TPO, you can make a complaint through them. If they aren’t a member, the only other option you have is through civil court which can be a costly decision. Speak to a legal adviser before doing so.

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Alternatives to a Quick House Sale Company

Quick house sale companies aren’t for everyone and there are alternatives you can consider, even if you still require a fast sale. Take the time to thoroughly research these companies and your alternative options before deciding.

These options include but are not limited to:

Traditional Estate Agents

Although it may not always be the quickest option, you can still use a traditional estate agent and sell your home through the open market. You will likely get a better deal and will have a much wider audience of buyers. 

You will have to pay estate agent fees alongside the sale, but you will be benefited by their experience and expertise. Using an online estate agent may lower these fees.

Seeking Advice On Managing Financial Issues

If you want to sell your home quickly due to financial issues or debt, it would be wise to seek professional advice first. The Citizens Advice Bureau and the National Debtline can help. 

Auction

Another option is to sell your home at auction. This can be an ideal option if your property needs work, has a short lease or has a defective title. You will not be guaranteed a buyer but you could achieve around 75% to 85% of the market value. 

Once the auction ends, the buyer must pay 10% of the property price and is required to provide the remaining 90% within 28 days. Completion typically occurs roughly 28 days after the auction.

Negotiating With Your Mortgage Lender

If you’re considering selling your home because you can’t keep up with your mortgage payments, discuss your options with your mortgage lender. Mortgage lenders must work towards providing as much assistance as possible and must consider a request for changing the way you pay your mortgage. 

One option could be to extend the term of your mortgage and reduce your monthly repayments. If the circumstance calls for it, the lender may also agree to delay repossession proceedings or stop them altogether.

Reduce Your Asking Price

If you’re currently considering quick sale companies because your home isn’t selling, there are steps to take to improve the process and your property to increase your chances of a sale. Discuss your options with your estate agent and see what factors could be affecting the sale.

The answer could be something as simple as reducing your asking price. This can increase interest and encourage viewings. Compare your current asking price with the sold price of other properties in your local area for a better understanding of what buyers are willing to pay. 

Selling Your Home With the Help of Compare My Move

To help ensure a swift and organised house sale, don’t forget to compare quotes so that you’re only connected with verified and trusted professionals in your local area. Here at Compare My Move, we have a strict verification process to ensure this. Rest assured, every partner must go through this process to become part of our network. 

Whether you’re comparing conveyancing, surveying or removal quotes, we will connect you with experienced, verified companies who will aid you through the entire process.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Graham Norwood

Reviewed by Graham Norwood

Property Journalist and Editor,

With over 15 years of experience in residential property journalism, Graham is currently the editor for both Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today.