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OFT launches market study into ‘quick house’ sale market

In April 2013 The Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) launched a study into the quick house sale market. House Buyer Bureau welcomes this review as we believe there are unethical firms in the market place taking advantage of consumers especially vulnerable sellers. The OFT identified 6 practices that they were concerned about. House Buyer Bureau business practices are externally reviewed by Regulatory Risk auditors Dickenson Dees LLP Solicitors. House Buyer Bureau can confirm that we do not engage in any of these practices that the OFT has identified.

Listed below are each of the 6 practices identified by the OFT in italics and House Buyer Bureau’s comments and policy on each one of them:-

(a) “Unclear fee structures, for example imposing an unexpected fee following an encouraging initial valuation, as a condition for progressing the service.”

There are firms offering quick sale services who make money out of charging fees, which can be hidden.

House Buyer Bureau does not charge any kind of fees what so ever, even if the Customer decides to pull out of the Sale before Exchange of Contracts.

(b) “Reducing the price offered at the last minute after someone is financially committed to the transaction.”

There are some unscrupulous house buying firms who purposely reduce their offer on the day before Exchange of Contracts to make more money out of the transaction.

House Buyer Bureau‘s ‘Formal Offer’ is subject to contract and RICS Survey. The House Buyer Bureau will never reduce a ‘Formal Offer’ unless there is an adverse Survey or an adverse Report on Title (legal report).

(c) “Making misleading claims about the value of the property or the level of discount to be applied to the sale.”

There are firms that offer a high percentage of value based on ‘their’ valuation. Their valuation may be artificially low and therefore the level of discount they are be getting is actually much higher.

House Buyer Bureau always instructs a minimum of two local Estate Agents and one RICS Chartered Surveyor to value the Customers property. The valuations’ and the Condition Report are available for inspection by the Customer and/or their Lawyer on request.

(d) “Falsely claiming to be a cash buyer”

There are many firms pretending to be cash buyer companies when in reality they are brokers or a lead generating companies who sell the Customers details onto a third party.

House Buyer Bureau is a genuine Cash Buyer. We will provide evidence to the Customers and their Lawyer if requested.

(e) “Inducing consumers to enter into agreements that prevent them from selling to other buyers, with severe penalties for breach of contract.”

There are house buying firms that tie customers into legally binding contracts e.g. an option agreement that basically blocks them from selling to another buyer for a period of time, sometimes up to 6 months or more. This may be because they are raising finance or need time to sell the customers details to a third party. Some firms may charge the customer thousands of pounds for being in breach of the contract.

House Buyer Bureau does not ask the customer to sign any agreement. The customer can pull out of selling to us, without obligation or costs, right up to Exchange of Contracts.

(f) “Saying the property can be sold quickly then taking a long time to conclude the sale.”

Some firms will take considerable longer to conclude the sale. This may be because they are raising finance or trying to sell the customers details onto another buyer.

House Buyer Bureau is a genuine cash buyer. Our property purchases are not subject to obtaining bank finance or mortgages. Our Lawyer will confirm that we have bought houses in in as little as 7 days.