10 things you really must check before you commit to selling your home

25 September 2019

There is a lot of chat online about what to look for when selling and more importantly what to avoid but here is our list of the Top 10 ‘Watch Outs!’ when considering selling to a professional, quick buying company.

  1. Don’t rush! Even if you feel under pressure, try to take your time to check everything carefully and if the buyer is pressuring you, ask why – they are there to help, not rush you into a potentially bad decision.
  2. Consider ALL options. Is a fast, cash sale essential? Might an estate agent, auction or even private sale be better for you? Cash buying companies buy thousands of properties a year but it may not mean they are your only option.
  3. Are you really dealing with the buyer? Remember, many websites and press adverts are created by ‘lead generators’ who simply get your details and sell them to the highest bidder. Check before you give away your personal information.
  4. Is the buyer a member of The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS), The NAPB, RICS or Propertymark? These organisations are hard to get into so the bad companies usually don’t bother!
  5. Ask for proof of funds. If they can’t send the proof quickly, take this as a warning sign.
  6. Get EVERYTHING in writing. However nice or trustworthy the person on the phone sounds, don’t just take their word for it.
  7. If the firm who you want to sell to is serious, chances are they will be a Limited Company and registered at Companies House. Check out their accounts for free to see if they are up to date and the business looks sound (note that it is common for Companies to upload their accounts up to 18 months in arrears ie accounts ending March 17 may not show until May 18).
  8. Get your own legal advice or speak to Citizens Advice.
  9. Don’t give your buyer any money! Some may ask for a ‘survey fee’ or ‘administration charge’. They are buying your property and should be paying you!
  10. Don’t spend or commit to spending money elsewhere until you have exchanged as it could still go wrong. Don’t put down a deposit on a new caravan, property overseas, rental… anything really, until exchange, just in case.

This list is a guide to help you before you commit to selling. However, nothing can replace good, independent legal advice – always consult your solicitor or Citizen’s Advice before you sign or pay anything.

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande (MNAEA MICBA MARLA) began in the property business in the late 1980’s and is a Director of House Buy Fast and helped to found The National Association of Property Buyers in 2013. He has worked closely with The Property Ombudsman to develop a Code of Practice for Residential Property Buying Companies.