If you’re considering selling your home to a ‘sell your home quick’ company, then you’re probably reading this because you’re in research mode – which is great! Selling your home is huge full stop, but the speed at which these sales go through adds an extra level of risk to you the seller, so being well-armed with information will help you to make the best decision for your individual circumstances.
Selling your home quickly and for less than it would make on the open market is often a last resort, but I know firsthand that can also provide a lifeline where it was thought there were no other options remaining.
I’ve written this blog to hopefully give you some insight into how this process works, and some pointers about how you can protect yourself during these transactions.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Why do people sell their homes for less than market value to ‘sell your home quickly’ companies?
- Legal issues such as a repossession order which remove the possibility of a lengthy open market sale
- Financial issues such as charges against the home which make an open market sale impossible
- Divorce or separation where remaining in the home for an extended period isn’t feasible
- Emigration or other life events require a quick and guaranteed sale
- To avoid hassle of viewings and negotiations, this could be due to personal reasons such as ill health, or more practical reasons such as someone selling an inherited property which they’re not local to.
- Landlords with tenants in place who they don’t want to inconvenience
- The list goes on!
I can’t speak for how other businesses go about this kind of house sale, but I thought it’d be helpful for me to outline how my process works. I like to think of it as a gold standard! Shop around and seek a buyer who will offer you many of the same perks….
I’ve been in property for 20+ years and I offer a quick house sale service through my company; Essex Property Angel. When I purchase a property, I renovate it to either sell on, or rent out. My husband is very handy and does much of the work on the properties, so we make a great team, along with our wider EPA team.
The Essex Property Angel process of buying a property quickly
- 99% of transactions start with a phone call – Someone will ring me and explain in brief what their situation is.
- I only work locally to Southend, Essex, and having been in property for such a long time in the area that I can make a pretty good idea of a ballpark offer if I think I might be able to purchase the property. I’m really clear that at this point there is zero obligation from either side.
- If the seller is interested in chatting further after we’ve discussed the ballpark figure, then we’ll arrange a longer and more detailed meeting. This will be in person and can be at their house, or a cafe or similar that the seller is comfortable with.
- At this meeting we’ll get into the nitty gritty – we’ll go through court letters or bank statements if they’re relevant, I’ll find out what’s most important to them throughout this process. Because every case is unique, the answer to that question varies greatly and my services depend entirely on what the individual needs.
- I’ll make my offer within 24 hours which stands for 30 days. I put this stipulation in place in case of any major overnight market changes (hello Covid!), but I can and do usually offer the same price months later, should the seller go away and think about things. At this point I offer testimonials, I have permission from several previous sellers to share their contact details with anyone who wants to hear a first-hand account of working with me.
- If the offer is accepted we’ll meet again to go through the whole process with a fine tooth comb.
- Next, I engage a Solicitor on the client’s behalf. I use the same solicitor for myself and the same solicitor for my clients every time. Why? Because buying a home in 24 hours just isn’t possible with your run-of-the-mill solicitor! The seller is welcome to use their own solicitor, but I cannot guarantee a time frame if they do (I could almost certainly guarantee they won’t be able to sell their house in a week though!). The important point about providing my solicitor to the seller is that legally they are representing the seller and must work in their interests. After putting them in touch, I have no interaction with the seller’s solicitor personally until I pay their bill at the end.
- The solicitor rings the seller to run through everything, they will also as if the Seller understands that they would get a higher price selling on the open market and ensures they’re happy to proceed. If they are, the Solicitor gets everything moving.
- The Solicitor draws up paperwork and rings the seller to go through everything in detail. There is an option to do this face to face if the seller prefers, and I will provide transport for them if they need it.
- On the day of completion, the solicitor rings the seller once more to check they’re happy, and if they are the sale proceeds. This can happen as quickly as 24 hours in urgent situations.
“It’s really important to me that I establish that the seller is 100% happy so I will ask often if they understand they would get more on the open market, if they have any questions at all about the process, and if they are happy to proceed. I always make sure the seller knows they’re not obligated to me and can pull out any time – all the way up to completion.”
The relationship with the seller often doesn’t end there, some remain for two weeks after the sale has gone through. This allows them time to pack up, rather than the stress of trying to deal with it while the sale is going through. I also help out on moving day if needed, with boxes, packing, manpower, and transport.
Essex Property Angel as Landlord
Often a poor credit history can be one of the reasons leading to a homeowner selling their home quickly. This can make finding a rental property very difficult. Having gotten to know a seller through purchasing their property, I am in a position to offer rental accommodation that doesn’t require credit checks or large deposits. I also accept tenants with pets, because I know my own dogs are part of the family and not optional should I need to move home!
‘Buy your home quick’ Case studies
Case Study 1.
- This client had an eviction order and by the time they called me, the bailifs were coming the next day.
- I visited that evening and made an offer which was accepted.
- We prepared the paperwork and secured a 10 am court date the next day.
- At court I presented evidence that the client had a secured sale with me and the possession order was suspended.
- I arranged for the seller to speak with my Solicitor that afternoon at which point the paperwork was arranged for the sale.
- I then arranged rental accommodation for the seller which they moved into several weeks later.
- Within a week the sale had gone through.
Case Study 2.
It still shocks me each time I remember what happened with this seller. Truly a horror story worthy of an October blog…
- The seller had approached me for an offer but opted not to accept it as they had been offered more by a national ‘sell your home quick’ franchise. No hard feelings! The seller proceeded with the sale to the other business.
- A while later and a day before the sale, the company reported that their price needed to be reviewed and was then dropped by 7k.
- This ended up being less than my original offer. It was at this point the seller called me back and we went through the paperwork with his current seller to see if I could help.
- I discovered that the other company had secured this sale by having the seller sign a legal document on the day that they made their offer (the first time he’d ever met them). This document essentially put a charge against the seller’s property meaning he was obliged to sell to them, regardless of the price.
- I worked with the seller to put in a complaint with the buyer. We managed to get them to remove the hold on the property so that I could purchase it at the original offer price.
Note: National ‘sell your home quick’ companies don’t know the local area, and aren’t typically serviced by local employees. They’re salespeople with targets and may have travelled several hours to meet with you, as such, they’re under far more pressure to have you commit on the spot. I also like to think positively that it’s this lack of local knowledge that led to them misjudging the price initially, rather than an underhanded attempt at lowballing the seller.
Whilst this might sound like a sales pitch for Essex Property Angel let me assure you that it’s actually not! I don’t seek 100s of leads to keep my business afloat – I buy only one or two properties a year and have to turn down many many more home purchases than I can make. However, I do want to use it as an opportunity to demonstrate what can go wrong, and give you some pointers.
I don’t believe that all the other quick sale companies operate without a moral compass like the one mentioned in the case study above! But…
A few rules to follow if you are engaging with a ‘sell your home’ quick service;
- Firstly, ensure that you have to sell! If you have received a repossession order or have charges against your home, speak to The Citizens Advice Bureau or seek legal help. You can call me to chat through this and I have helped *many* people with my expertise that I was never going to end up purchasing from. In fact, I spoke about this recently over on Facebook.
- Try to get more than one price. Be honest that you’re doing this as it might get you a better offer!
- NEVER sign anything on the spot. Any reputable company would allow or even insist that you seek legal guidance before agreeing to a price. Sadly, the industry is more regulated for buying a mobile phone than it is to buy a property for cash in an instant so you have to insist on this point. In my process, all legal costs are included in the sale price so once you engage me, you don’t have to make any out-of-pocket expenses, ask your purchaser if they can offer this, too
- Seek out reviews. A few of the larger companies have Google or Trust pilot reviews you can browse. If there are no online reviews, you should at least be able to request the contact details of some sellers who have previously sold to the company. If they’re happy they’ll likely be happy to share their experience with you!
What about selling to private cash buyer?
If you’ve found a cash buyer who’s not a registered home-buying business just be cautious that they’re unlikely or have the level of credit that these big companies do. Always confirm they have the cash available by requesting bank statements, and do your homework on getting reviews on them, as well as general research about them as a person.
Please note: this blog does not constitute financial advice. I am a Landlady and Property Developer and I speak only from my own personal experience. Always seek advice from a qualified solicitor if you are selling your home.
I’m Joanne. I’ve lived and breathed property for longer than I care to remember! This blog provides advice and support with problems surrounding property, and life in general.
Previously on the blog…
A young family had saved and saved in order to buy their own home. The case at a glance: A young couple had maxed themselves out on their mortgage When the husband lost his job, they used loans and credit cards to fill the gaps each month They got letters...read more
Upon marriage, a couple had moved into the house that one of them owned, and rented out the one that the partner had owned. The case at a glance: A couple were happily renting out their second property to a family They both lost their jobs in quick succession...read more
After a Marital split, the husband in the couple had moved out and stopped paying the mortgage. Wendy's case at a glance: Husband had left and stopped paying mortgage £30,000 mortgage arrears Three autistic children meant she needed to stay where she was for...read more
A lovely lady had inherited her Sister’s house in Westcliff after she sadly passed away - a bungalow with serious damp problems. Lucy’s case at a glance: Inherited a property from her sister Couldn't afford to keep the property running Didn’t understand the...read more