Are you in a hurry to relocate for a new job or move on after a separation? Do you want to find a house that can accommodate more time working remotely without the inconvenience of endless house viewings and months waiting for the right buyer to come along?
The extension of the stamp duty holiday to June 30th has revived demand for quick house sales as people rush to take advantage of tax savings of up to £15,000. However, selling a property on the open market can be time-consuming and stressful.
So, what are your options if you want to sell your house fast in 2021?
How Can I Sell My House Quickly?
There are several options to choose from if you can’t afford to wait four months — the average time to sell a house — to move.
Sell to a Quick House Sale Company
A quick house sale company will pay cash to buy your home at a slightly discounted price — they make their money from selling the property at a profit.
- The only way to 100% guarantee a house sale.
- The fastest way to sell — sometimes in as little as 7 days.
- No estate agent or legal fees to pay (although not all companies offer the latter).
- A quick route out of financial difficulties and repossession.
- Houses of any type regardless of condition are accepted.
- Avoid stressful and inconvenient property viewings.
- Escape a problem property chain fast.
- Sell your property if the buyer pulls out and avoid losing your dream home.
- You will receive a percentage of the property’s market value — typically 75-80%.
- The market is unregulated so beware of scammers.
- Less suitable for properties over £400k as the discount will be significant.
- Some companies lack the funds to deliver on their promises.
Sell at a Traditional Property Auction
A traditional auction is typically held in a room where interested parties are invited to bid on the properties for sale. This type of auction attracts a lot of investors and developers.
- Contracts are exchanged — making the sale legally binding — at the auction.
- The buyer must complete within 28 days of the auction.
- It’s easier to sell problem properties at an auction than on the open market.
- You’ll get paid relatively quickly.
- Investors and bargain hunters can drive the sale price down.
- There can be high upfront costs.
- The auction house may charge a hefty commission if your property is sold.
- You’ll have to move out of your home fast.
Sell at a Modern Property Auction
Modern auctions are held online and are open to all property buyers.
- Contracts are exchanged within 28 days of the auction.
- The buyer must complete in the next 28 days (56 days in total).
- It’s easier to sell “problem properties” at an auction than on the open market.
- Competition could drive the final sale price up.
- You’ll get paid relatively quickly.
- The buyer can pull out of the sale before contracts are exchanged.
- Bargain hunters can drive the sale price down.
- You’ll have to move out of your home fast.
Use a Part-Exchange House Scheme
Many property developers offer part-exchange (PX) schemes. PX enables customers to sell their existing home and buy a new-build property in one transaction with the developer.
- Avoid expensive estate agent’s fees.
- Buying and selling in one transaction means less hassle and stress.
- Break a problem housing chain or avoid chains altogether.
- Sell and move at a pace that suits you.
- A guaranteed sale.
- Only available for people buying a new-build home.
- Your existing property must be worth about 65-80% of the new home’s value.
- Leasehold property will only be accepted if the remaining lease is long enough.
- Properties with structural issues or other serious problems may not be accepted.
- Not all housebuilders offer part-exchange.
- You will receive less than the market value for your current home.
Change or Add Estate Agents
Not all estate agents are created equal. There are high street agents, online agents and hybrid agents. Some will pull out all the stops, others will do the bare minimum. Switch estate agents or bring in a second company to shake things up.
- Appointing multiple agencies will foster competition and drive better performance.
- A new estate agent will approach the sale with a fresh perspective and energy.
- A new agency increases the chance of a sale at a good price.
- Trade a poor service for one that delivers results.
- It can take time to build a relationship and trust with a new estate agent.
- It’s not easy to identify the reasons for a slow sale — you could lose a great estate agent.
- Managing multiple agents can be time-consuming and stressful.
- Paying multiple estate agents will reduce the profit you make from a sale.
Specify the Type of Buyer You Want
You can set criteria for booking a viewing or making an offer. If you need to sell your house fast, tell the estate agent to qualify potential buyers and only book viewings with people who are chain-free and/or cash buyers.
- You won’t waste time on people who aren’t ready to buy.
- Chain-free and cash buyers typically mean a faster sale.
- There are no guarantees with an on-market sale until contracts are exchanged.
- You will have a smaller pool of potential buyers.
Improve the Property
If your house won’t sell, consider boosting its appeal to buyers by making a few home improvements.
- Some small, low budget improvements can help to attract buyers.
- A well-presented house helps buyers to see its potential.
- You could boost the asking price by more than the cost of the work.
- Major improvements will take time.
- The cost of repairs and renovations will eat into your profit.
Reduce the Asking Price
If your house has been on the market for some time without receiving much attention, the estate agent may suggest dropping the asking price.
- You will reach a whole new pool of potential buyers.
- A lower price could encourage competition, driving up the final sale price.
- If the market is slow, reducing the asking price might make no difference.
- Properties that are priced too high, then reduced, often take longer to sell.
How to Choose a Quick House Sale Company
The only way to guarantee a fast sale is to use a genuine cash house buying company. But with so many scammers and companies employing unethical sales practices, how do you know which company to trust?
- Look for Affiliations with Industry Organisations
The quick house sale market is not currently regulated, but membership of The Property Ombudsman and The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) is a good indication that the company is reputable. Look for the logos of these organisations on the business’s website.
- If a Deal Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Some companies will offer a high percentage of the property’s market value, then drop their offer when you’re locked into a contract or so far along the sales process that backing out will cost valuable time and money. If they’re paying you close to the market value for the property, how will they make any money?
- Be Careful What You Sign
If the company seems eager to get your signature on a contract, be sure to read the small print carefully. Some unscrupulous house buying companies will try to obtain exclusive rights to sell your property for many months or even years.
- Shop Around
Compare different companies, check independent customer reviews and ask around for recommendations. Anyone can put up a website, but building a strong reputation takes many years of professional and exemplary service.
- Confirm What Fees Are Payable
The Commission and Markets Authority (CMA) — formerly the Office of Fair Trading — flagged a number of sales tactics as areas of concerns in its report into the quick house sale industry. These included adding unexpected mandatory fees as the sales process progresses — often at a point when it is too late for the seller to withdraw from the sale.
- Check That the Company Is a Genuine Cash Buyer
Some companies claim to be cash buyers when in fact, they would need to secure financing to purchase your property. This can result in a longer sale than originally promised. A reputable cash house buyer will be happy to provide evidence that they have the funds to buy your house fast.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I Trust Quick House Sale Companies?
Unfortunately, many companies will go to any lengths to win your business, whether they have the finances to buy your property fast or not. But there are genuine cash house buying companies that operate openly and honestly. Do your research, look for affiliations with industry organisations and check out independent reviews to make sure you pick a reliable buyer.
- Should I Use a Quick House Sale Company?
There is no “right” answer to this question. Whether a fast house sale for cash is the right choice for you will depend on your circumstances, goals and priorities. If you’re in a hurry to sell, have a hard-to-sell property or can’t face the stress of hosting viewings and dealing with property chain delays, a quick house sale might be a great solution.
If you’re unsure or have questions, contact our friendly team of property experts. At House Buyer Bureau, we will be honest about the service we provide and how this matches your needs — and we won’t engage in dodgy sales tactics to win your business if it’s not right for you.
- How Accurate Are “Instant Cash Offers”?
This depends a great deal on the company and how they arrive at this figure. Every new House Buyer Bureau customer is asked to provide information about their home via our simple online form. One of our dedicated house buying specialists will then call you to gather more details about your home before making you an “offer in principle”.
We aim to make this offer as accurate as possible, which is why we take the time to speak with you before making an offer. Your dedicated specialist will also discuss your needs and the options available to make sure that selling to us is the right choice for you. Our offers are subject to a contract and RICS survey, and we’ll only reduce the initial offer on the rare occasions where the survey reveals significant issues.
- Am I Protected If Something Goes Wrong?
Quick house sale companies are not currently regulated, so there is minimal protection for customers if they fall victim to a scam or unethical practice.
However, members of the NAPB must agree to be bound by their code of conduct and The Property Ombudsman offers a voluntary redress scheme for consumers who have a complaint against a quick house sale company.
The best way to protect yourself against financial loss is to conduct diligent research before choosing a company to sell to.
- Which Are the Best House Buying Companies?
The best companies are the ones that are genuine cash buyers and have committed to ethical practice — for example, the NAPB’s code of conduct. Read our guide, “Which Are the Best Quick House Sale Companies?” for more information.
House Buyer Bureau is a genuine quick house sale company with the funds to buy your house in as little as 7 days. We have spent over £365m buying more than 2,100 properties over the past 10 years and have a 4.7/5 Feefo rating.