Choosing the right buyer for your property can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re lucky enough to receive multiple offers.
Should you go with the highest offer? The chain-free cash buyer? Or the property developer?
Many people are unaware of house part-exchange schemes and wary of selling outright to a developer — won’t they try to beat you down on price to maximise their investment? But selling to a developer can be lower risk and a lot less hassle than alternative routes to sale.
It’s worth weighing up all your options before deciding who to sell to.
So, if you’re wondering, “should I sell my house to a property developer?”, read on to find out more about the pros and cons of selling this way.
How can I sell my house to a property developer?
There are many different types of property developers and housebuilders. Some small scale developers will invest in one property at a time and “flip” it — renovate and sell it — as fast as possible. Others focus on the rental market and may be interested in buying your home as a buy-to-let investment.
Large scale developers, who build multiple homes simultaneously as part of a new build development, may offer a part-exchange (PX) scheme, whereby they purchase your current home in exchange for a discount on one of their new-build properties.
Houses sold at auction are often snapped up by developers, too. So if you choose to sell by modern or traditional auction, you may find yourself selling to a property developer.
Pros of selling to a property developer
Why should you consider selling to a property developer?
Avoid property-chain problems
Property-chain problems are one of the top causes of failed house sales in the UK. One in three house sales falls through before completion, costing buyers and sellers hundreds or even thousands of pounds, not to mention the stress and inconvenience of starting the house sale process again.
Typically, a property developer does not need to sell a property to purchase yours; they are a chain-free buyer. This means you will only face potential house chain problems if the property you are buying is part of a chain (part-exchanging your home for a developer’s new build would remove this risk too).
Choose a completion date that suits you
Timing a house sale to fit in with other commitments can be challenging and stressful.
If you opt to sell to a developer, they won’t be itching to move into your property, and while there may be project deadlines they want to hit, you’ll probably have a lot more control over the completion date — and consequently, the moving date — than you would if selling to a private buyer. This could mean a quick house sale if that’s what you need, or more time to find the house of your dreams. Either way, you’re in the driving seat, which makes the house-sale process much easier!
Enjoy a low-risk house sale
Selling to an anonymous buyer who you communicate with via an estate agent or conveyancer can result in miscommunications or, worse, a failed sale. Buyers can withdraw from a purchase at any time before the exchange of contracts. If this happens, the seller loses both time and money. No one wants the hassle and expense of starting the house-sale process all over again.
Selling to an established property developer is a lower risk option. You know exactly who you’re dealing with, and there is less chance that the developer will pull out of the purchase — they’ll be eager for the sale to go ahead so they can “flip” it or sell you one of their properties.
Sell and buy in one transaction
If you’ve found a new-build home, ask the developer if they offer a part-exchange (PX) service. A PX sale is more straightforward and typically quicker than a traditional sale with an estate agent because there is no chain.
Part-exchange allows you to sell your existing property to the developer of the new-build home you want to buy. The developer will discount their property by the amount they value your home at. Selling and buying to the developer removes the risk of property-chain problems.
Sell fast in a slow market
If there are more properties on the market than people looking to buy, it can take a long time to sell. Typically, people become cautious about buying during periods of uncertainty, such as an imminent change in government or an economic crisis.
Selling to a developer will be much faster than a traditional sale if the market is slow.
Avoid estate agent fees
Estate agent fees typically range from 0.75 to 3%, and the average is 1.42%. On a house that sells for the current national average of £292,000, fees would be £4,146 for an estate agent who charges the average rate.
This is one of the biggest costs associated with selling a house, and you can avoid it altogether by selling directly to a property developer.
Skip the hassle of viewings
Hosting frequent house viewings or vacating the property so that your estate agent can do so is often inconvenient, time-consuming and stressful. It can also be highly emotional having strangers traipse through your home making comments.
If you sell to a developer, there is no need for property viewings.
Don’t waste time on home improvements
A property developer will most likely be interested in your property because of its potential for improvement.
There’s no need to spend time and money making changes, as many people do before marketing their home, because the developer will have their own plans.
Achieve a high sale price
If a developer expects to make a big profit from your home or they have plans for adjoining properties, they may be willing to pay above the market value to secure it.
There are no guarantees that you’ll get a higher sale price than selling through an estate agent, but it’s a potential benefit.
Cons of selling to a developer
As with anything in life, where there are pros, there will also be cons. So, what might put you off selling to a developer?
A lower sale price
A developer may be willing to pay top dollar for your property if there is a lot of profit to be made. However, it is perhaps just as likely that a buyer interested in buying your home for development purposes will try to drive the sale price down to maximise their profit.
If you opt to part-exchange your home, this will probably be based on a slightly below-market valuation.
It may not be an option
Selling to a developer is not an option for everyone. Part-exchange is only available for homeowners who wish to swap their property for a new-build home. And if you don’t own a property of interest to developers, offers will not be forthcoming.
It can be an emotional experience
If you’ve lived in your home for a while, it will hold memories for you. Perhaps you raised children there, or it was the first home you owned? It can be a wrench to hand the keys over to a developer and watch them completely transform or demolish your home.
The sale may be contingent on planning permission
If the property developer makes an offer conditional on obtaining the planning permission they need, the sale process could take longer than a traditional sale. Worse still, your buyer is likely to withdraw if their application is rejected.
Alternative ways to sell your house
Still undecided about whether to sell your house to a property developer? There are alternative options to consider:
- Property auction
Selling at a traditional or modern auction is typically much faster than selling via an estate agent. At a traditional auction, contracts are exchanged on the day of auction, and the sale must be completed within 28 days. At a modern (online) auction, the buyer pays a reservation fee when the auction ends and must complete the sale within 56 days.
However, auction-house fees can be high, and there is no guarantee your property will sell. The process can be confusing for beginners, too, and costly mistakes are easily made. For example, it may seem tempting to set the guide price low to attract the most interest possible. But there must not be more than 10% difference between the guide price and the reservation price — the minimum amount you are happy to sell for — so setting the guide price low could mean you are forced to sell for a lot less than you’d hoped for.
- Quick house sale company
Selling to a genuine cash house buying company with the funds to buy your home outright is the only way to achieve a guaranteed house sale.
Sell your home in a time scale that suits you, be that seven or 70 days. With House Buyer Bureau, there are no estate agent fees to pay and no legal costs (if you use one of our recommended solicitors). An added advantage is that if you’re selling to buy another home, you will be in the strongest position to do so as a chain-free buyer.
- Traditional sale
Of course, there is always the option of an on-market sale with an estate agent. This can take months or even years if you have a problem property, such as one in poor condition or an unpopular location. There will also be expensive estate agent fees, viewings to accommodate, and there is no guarantee of a sale.
Want to find out how selling to a genuine cash house buying company works? Contact the friendly team of experts at House Buyer Bureau. We can make you a free, no-obligation cash offer within 48-hours.