Over the last five years, since the property crash we have seen the emergence of the cash for homes industry. These companies offer to purchase any house for cash and can generally complete the transaction in a matter of days. However, are all of them perceive to be what they say they are? How can be selling a house be that simple when generally estate agents struggle and they market properties to the whole of England?

A bit more about how the process works

Generally if a vendor is struggling to sell their property they will now type into the search engine google the phrase ‘we buy any house’ or ‘sell house fast’. There are 1000’s of other search terms these are just a couple of examples. Once the keywords are typed a list of companies will appear all offering to buy your house. Some of them will advertise they offer 100% Market Value, some will state they will have the cash in your bank today’.  The vendor will then select which company they want to have a look at and click through to their website. They will then read all about the company and decide whether or not they want to make contact. This will generally done by calling the number on the website or filling in a contact form. Once contact has been made the company will ask a series of questions, after that every company has different processes.

Why would a company offer 100% of market value?

Don’t be fooled into thinking the definition of market value is what my house has been valued for by the local agent. The market value of your property is what someone is willing to pay. Therefore there is no set market value of your home as everybody’s perception of its value will be different. This is why companies state to pay 100% of market value but I can assure you it will be based on their market value not anybody else’s. Furthermore be aware there are companies who will make an attractive offer to the vendor from the outset only to reduce the price just before exchange of contracts, this is known as gazundering.

Can someone really have the cash in my bank today?

Because the we buy any house industry is not regulated companies within reason can offer any form of benefits to use them as a company to try and lure the customer in. One of the ways they do this is to state they can have the money in your bank from the sale of your property today. This is one of the few things that is impossible. In order to sell and buy a house a solicitor will be appointed by both parties. The solicitor acting for the buyer will generally request searches which can take a week, contracts need to be drafted up sent, signed, witnessed and sent back. If you agreed a sale today for your property and had the money in your bank in 14 days this would be classed as a fast transaction.

Office of Fair Trading Investigates Cash for Homes Industry

Although the industry is not regulated the office of fair trading recently identified a number of companies who were deemed to be taking advantage of people who just needed to sell their property as this was there only way of generating some capital. They scrutinised a large number of companies looking at how they operated from the start of their process with the customer to the end. Their two main concerns were companies making an attractive offer to the customer to start with only to reduce their price just before exchange of contracts, leaving the customer in a very awkward position as those who were desperate had no choice but to take the lower offer. Therefore these companies were making £10,000’s as all they were doing was selling the property immediately. Secondly, they were also looking at how quickly companies were stating they could buy people’s property knowing it is impossible to transact a purchase in 24 hours.

This investigation had a big impact and it is our understanding the negativity did result in the closure of some companies. However, there were businesses in the industry who were not investigated because the OFT had not received any complaints about their conduct. One of these companies was Fast Move.

Fast Move are one of the fastest growing companies in the Country and one of only a few companies that offers their customers more than one solution to sell their property.