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How do you avoid the house cash buying cowboys?

You only have to do a search on ‘google ‘ for ‘sell my home for cash’ or look in the property pages and you will see one ad after the other offering to buy your property within days and give you the cash ‘instantly’.

Unfortunately many of the people behind the ads may want to be able to buy your property for cash, but what you don’t know is they are actually selling on your details to other people. This means they are often illegally putting sellers in touch with buyers, which requires, by law membership of an estate agency ombudsman redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman. It also means you may have someone buying your home you have never met or get to know.

Other ‘companies’ or ‘individuals’ are, I’m afraid, out to scam you too. I have heard many horror stories about ‘quick sale companies’ offering what first seems to be a reasonable offer price at first, but then ending up dropping the offer, for some reason or other, days before exchanging, leaving you in what seems like an impossible position financially.

In the ‘house buying for cash’ market there are two types of companies. Ones which are after a ‘fast buck’ and to ‘profit’ from your circumstances as much as possible and companies, such as mine, who are genuine property professionals who want to help you.

How do you tell the difference between a professional buying company and one which is unlikely to look after you? Fortunately the sharks aren’t too difficult to spot. They are unlikely to belong to any membership organisations or redress schemes such as the Property Ombudsman Scheme. They are however likely to be very charming and do everything they can to convince you they will offer a fair price!

But, before you invite anyone round to your home, it’s best to do some research of your own, most of which you can do free of charge:-

  1. Go online to sites such as www.rightmove.co.uk or www.mouseprice.co.uk, click on ‘sold property prices’, put in your own property’s postcode. They will list what similar properties have sold for.
  2. Pay for a professional valuation from a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Next, it is important once they have made an offer to make sure they really do have the cash to buy your property –

A favourite trick of the not so good ‘quick sale’ chaps is they love to add on charges – which they don’t declare to you upfront. Any professional buying company worth their salt would take you through the whole purchase and sale process and give you a list of any costs involved. And if they are really good company, you shouldn’t be incurring any costs at all. The better ones will offer to pay for you’re:-

  1. Energy Performance Certificate (a legal requirement to sell a home)
  2. A legal company of your choice
  3. Clear your home of rubbish before completing on the sale/purchase.
  4. Contributing towards the costs of moving

If you do find a company you want to sell your home to, then make sure you follow my three main steps:-

  1. Ask for any offers and valuations in writing
  2. Get a list of any charges in the first meeting
  3. Ask for a list of everything they are going to pay for

At Open Property Group, we are a house buying company and members of the property ombudsman. Please follow this link to find proof of our membership: TPO. For more help and advice on selling your home from me, visit our website or call us to find out more: T: 0800 990 3939 or visit www.openpropertygroup.com

Published on 4th June 2015

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