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The Pros & Cons of Equity Release

The Pros & Cons of Equity Release

With one in four retired homeowners now seeking equity release, the equity release market has doubled in size since 2016. For many retirees, their home isn’t just a source of comfort and security, it can also become a significant way to receive a reliable day-to-day income. According to the latest half-year review of the 2019 equity market from Key Advice, despite a backdrop of economic uncertainty, 22,126 homeowners took out an equity release plan, increasing the growth in equity plans by a substantial 5%.

Whilst many homeowners take the opportunity to seek equity release plans to pay for home improvements, clear debts or outstanding mortgage fees, there’s also a growing number of homeowners tapping into equity release to help their children take a step onto the property ladder. If you’re over 55 and have paid off all, if not most of your mortgage, many equity release schemes allow you to release some of the funds tied up in your property, without the need to move out. However, there are several implications surrounding equity release that homeowners should be aware of, including interest rates, redemption penalties and more. Here at House Buyer Bureau, we’ve created a guide highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of equity release for our readers to help guide you to making the right decision for you.

 

Equity Release: How does it work? 

Equity release put simply, allows homeowners to release cash from their property without having to relocate and move elsewhere. This is typically done through two plan options:

Lifetime mortgage: 

The most popular form of equity release plan is the lifetime mortgage. Homeowners are granted the ability to take out a mortgage secured on their property, whilst retaining ownership of the property. With a lifetime mortgage plan, homeowners have the ability to make regular repayments or let the interest roll-up, where the unpaid interest of your plan is added to the total loan amount. This allows for debt to build up quite quickly, so if you’re in a position where you can afford to make regular repayments, the mortgage will end up being a lot less costly. If not, any accrued interest is paid back when you die, or when you require long-term care.

Home reversion: 

Home reversion plans allow homeowners to take out small portions of cash, by selling shares of their house to a reversion provider, in return for cash or regular payments. How much you choose to sell is entirely up to you as a homeowner, however, if you do choose to sell it all, you reserve the right to continue living in the property until you die, rent-free. The percentage homeowners retain will always stay the same, regardless of an unexpected change in property value. When you pass, at the end of your home reversion equity plan, your property will be sold on your behalf and all proceeds are shared out to the remaining people who hold shares of the property.

 

What are the advantages of equity release?

Equity release is the only way to extract funds from a property, without downsizing or selling. This means that there’s no need to move or relocate to a smaller property, as equity plans allow you to stay in your home, rent-free. With most equity release plans offering a roll-up interest scheme, this also means that there are no implications if you choose not to pay regularly, instead, interest will roll-up and will only be paid back later in life, giving homeowners the flexibility to pay off interest as and when they please. Whilst this may appear daunting, interest rates usually come packaged in a fixed scheme, so borrowers can easily work out and know in advance how much they may owe in the future – to avoid any hidden surprises. Most equity plan lenders, such as popular providers SunLife, Aviva and LV, are members of the Equity Release Council and abide by set rules, which includes the no negative equity guarantee. This means that if your property value falls below the amount you owe in your equity scheme, you will not be required to pay the excess.

As well as being beneficial as a homeowner, equity release can be a great tax-free gifting alternative to family members. Taking out an equity scheme to release cash against the value of your home can be a way of gifting cash to family members, whilst completely removing the constraints of inheritance tax.

 

What are the disadvantages of Equity Release? 

As the nature of equity release plans involve homeowners borrowing against their property or selling part of their property in return for cash payouts, with added interest rates, equity release can quickly become more expensive in the long term than what selling your property to downsize with a reputable cash buyer would be. The effect of rolling interest means that the outstanding balance homeowners may owe their equity provider can quickly become unmanageable. The standard fixed rate for most equity policies ranges from 3-4.5%, which can amount to double-figure interest charges in just a matter of years.

If for whatever reason homeowners look to end their equity scheme early, they may be met with unexpected fees and penalties for doing so. Early repayment penalties can be as high as 25%, which can make switching to a cheaper provider almost impossible. Be sure to thoroughly read over your plans agreed terms and conditions before agreeing to the scheme, to look for any hidden early termination costs and fees.

Equity release can also directly affect your entitlement to benefits, including state pensions, free dentistry, council tax and more. Depending on your individual circumstances and your reasons for wanting to release the equity in your property, you may lose your right to government support. It’s crucial to read the fine print in your equity scheme to have a solid idea of what you can expect to receive, or lose if you choose to go ahead with a plan.

Homeowners also remain responsible for the general upkeep of their property as part of an equity scheme. Even if you choose to take out a home reversion plan where your provider is only entitled to a certain percentage of your property, all general upkeep and maintenance is entirely your responsibility. This can become costly and a harder, time-consuming task for homeowners – as when we age, we typically want to rest up and enjoy retirement, without the worry of having to upkeep your property to a particular standard.

 

An alternative to Equity Release

If you’re reading this post as a homeowner who is considering alternative ways to raise money relatively quickly without investing first and without sacrificing government benefits, there are other reputable options worth considering. At House Buyer Bureau, homeowners have the freedom to sell their house without any hidden fees, interest rates or surprises. Our reputable, friendly house buying experts are on hand to guide you through our quick sales process and can make you a competitive, formal offer for your property – regardless of its current state. House Buyer Bureau buy homes in any condition, with no inconvenient long chains, viewings or unnecessary delays – just the guaranteed certainty of a quick cash sale.

Once approved, homeowners can gain access to funds with the process of completion taking as little as seven days, without any hidden charges or fees, giving you the ability to downsize efficiently and use the remaining funds to treat loved ones, pay off debts, or simply enjoy an extra source of income. Get in touch with one of our friendly house buying experts today, or visit the House Buyer Bureau website to receive a free, no-obligation cash offer for your property.

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How to find out who owns a house / property

Finding out who owns a property doesn’t have to be a complicated process, as the majority of the time this information can be sought out from the comfort of your own home. The owner of a property can be fairly easy to find, you just need to know where to start. To help you find the answers you’re looking for, we’ve put together some information in this blog post that will point you in the right direction.

The best place to begin when looking for the owner of a property is to check property tax records or perform a deeds search. The good thing about conducting these searches is that it can generally be done online at little-to-no cost. It’s also good to note that you don’t have to check both property tax and deed records to find the owner of a property, you can choose just one of these methods.

 

Accessing tax records

Accessing tax records can be done through the tax assessment website for the town where the property you require information on is located.

 

Performing a deeds search

Viewing deeds for the property can be done through the government website, where you are able to request the deeds of a specific address. However, you may not always be granted access to these.

The government website is a great place to source information about the owner of a property. HM Land Registry holds records about most property or land sold in England or Wales since 1993, including the title register, title plan, title summary and flood risk indicator. These documents can be downloaded and viewed online and have specific information within them that can help you to find information about the property owner.

 

  • The title register contains details about the property or land in a downloadable format. It includes the title number, who owns the property, what they paid for it, any rights of way and whether a mortgage on it has been ‘discharged’.

 

  • The title summary includes the title number, who owns it, what they paid for it, whether the property is freehold or leasehold and information about the lender’s name and address assuming there has been a mortgage on the property.

 

  • The title plan is a map showing: the property’s location, the general boundaries – there’s usually no record of exact boundaries.

 

You can also access a flood risk indicator should you need one. This gives you information on how likely the land or property is to flood and combines data from the Environment Agency and HM Land Registry.

If you find it difficult to gain information about the owner of the property in question, then you can always look into instructing a tracing agent, which normally costs around £35. They will be able to access specific data on online systems that the general public don’t have access to in order to retrieve the details about the property owner.

If you’re looking to buy a new home and are interested in selling your house quickly to a genuine cash buyer, then get in touch with our team or input your postcode on our homepage to obtain a free cash offer for your property.

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Full Process of Selling Your House with House Buyer Bureau

sell house fast

We know that selling your home fast is any house seller’s dream, particularly when the average time a residential property spends on the market in England and Wales is around 102 days. We can complete in 7 to 10 working days in some cases. In this blog we go through the quick and easy process of selling your home for cash, no matter what condition it’s in. There are no hidden fees, you are never tied in and there is no pressure.

There is no obligation to continue with the process at any stage until you exchange contracts.

Step 1 – Getting Started

Enter some basic details on our website and a member of our friendly team will ring you for a no obligation chat.  

Step 2 – Chat to Our Team

We will talk you through the easy process to sell your property in a little more detail and answer any questions that you may have. At this stage we will be able to give you an indication of what we can pay (Offer in Principle) which we can email and send in writing through the post.

Step 3 – Property Value

If you are happy with what we have discussed so far then the next step is to ask the opinion of local estate agents as to the value of the property (in some cases they may not need to visit the property). We will send 2 trusted local estate agents to visit your property at a time that best suits you and they will value your home. This report enables us to put together an accurate and fair cash offer for purchasing your property.

Step 4 – Formal Offer

Once we have reviewed the valuations then we will be able to provide you with our Formal Offer. It is up to you whether or not you would like to accept it. We give you 7 days to consider our offer.  Don’t forget, you are still under no obligation to proceed.

Step 5 – Instructing a Solicitor

After accepting the formal offer the next step is to instruct the solicitors. Instructing a solicitor is easy. You can either choose to use one of our trusted solicitors at absolutely no cost to you, or if you’d prefer, then you’re welcome to use your own solicitor. We don’t charge for the use of a solicitor from our panel and we will also take care of any further legal costs incurred with the sale. If you choose to use your own solicitor, then we do offer a contribution (up to £500 + VAT) to the cost of their service subject to the sale’s completion.  

Step 6 – Survey & Identification

We will arrange and pay for a local survey to check the condition of the property at a time and date to suit you. We will also talk you through our ID requirements. This process has been put in place to protect our sellers as well as us. Fraud prevention is very important to us.

Step 7 – Get the Cash!

Exchanging contracts is the point when we are legally tied in, completion is when you get the money.  Both exchange and completion can be on the same day or they can be separate if you would like time between. The completion date is set by you. On that day, your solicitor will arrange to have any secured debt on the property repaid and the remaining money will be sent directly and securely to your bank.

 

If at any point you need any assistance during this process, you can always call one of our friendly team and they will guide you through.

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Common Mistakes When Selling a Property

Selling your home can be a daunting task, especially when you’re doing it for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. There is very little room for error and mistakes big or small can easily be made without you being immediately aware of them. These mistakes can be detrimental to you achieving an accurate and fair price on your home and can cause you more issues in the future, or even the entire sale to fall through. So with that in mind, we cover the most common mistakes made when selling a property and how you can avoid making them yourself.

Entering the housing market without conducting any prior research

We all know that the housing market is very up and down as of late due to a huge range of factors, and so entering it blindly could cause you to make the mistake of putting your property on the market at a particularly bad time. Before it comes to selling your home, you should look into the state of the property market in your area and neighbouring areas to scope out the latest stats. Remember to look at the asking and sold prices of homes similar to your own (same type, number of bedrooms, bathrooms or of a similar layout) and how long they have been on the market, as this will give you an idea of supply and demand. It can also be a good idea to look for trends over longer periods of time to see if there have historically been any consistently good or bad periods in which to sell.

Choosing the wrong method to sell your home

When it comes to selling your home, many people only choose the most ‘traditional’ route – selling through an estate agent. However, it is important to consider all approaches when putting your house on the market, the pros and cons of each and then pick the route that suits your needs. Approaches and their pros and cons include:

Traditional estate agent

Pros:

Local knowledge

  • Formal approach
  • Take care of advertising the property
  • Some will handle viewings on your behalf
  • Can negotiate on your behalf

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Home may still be on the market for some time
  • Viewings still need to take place
  • Not discreet – home advertised heavily and ‘for sale’ sign erected outside your home

Online estate agent

Pros:

  • Cheaper fees, often around £1,000
  • A greater amount of choice between online agents
  • Sellers have more control over the sale of the property

Cons:

  • Fees often need to be paid up front
  • Sellers must conduct their own viewings
  • Home may still be on the market for some time
  • Marketing may only be undertaken for a fixed period of time, with more costs incurred if your property hasn’t sold before then

Sell to a cash buyer, such as House Buyer Bureau

Pros:

  • No viewings
  • Discreet – no for sale signs erected
  • No fees
  • No survey costs
  • Quick and guaranteed method of sale (property is certain to sell and in as little as 7 days)
  • Cash buyers, so cash will be in your bank as soon as the sale completes

Cons:

  • You’ll receive a competitive price, but it won’t be the asking price for your property. To receive a free cash offer for your property, enter your postcode here.
  • It can be tempting to try to go it alone to avoid expensive estate agency fees, but it’s worth remembering that selling your property will then be mostly down to you, leaving you with a lot of work to do. That’s why it’s worth carefully considering the above pros and cons and getting a no obligation cash offer from a property buyer such as ourselves, as this is the only way to be armed with all of the information you need to make a decision about how to sell your home.

Making your asking price too high

Average house prices are becoming more and more accessible, so if your initial asking price is unrealistic, your potential buyers are likely to be aware of this and therefore not pursue your property. In fact in some cases, offering your property for less than its marketed value can see you achieve more, as it gives some competitive edge amongst buyers to make a higher offer.

Not taking care of maintenance issues

Most, if not all, homes require at least some form of repair or maintenance at the time of putting the property on the market and its worth remembering that buyers will be turned off by any problems you leave for them to fix. As the potential buyer will have a survey carried out, there will be no hiding these repairs and it could cause them to make you a lower offer. Save in the long-run by ensuring all repairs and maintenance are taken care of first.

Failing to prepare your property for photography and viewings

These days, most homebuyers begin their search online and so having photographs that showcase your home in its best light is crucial to immediately catching their attention. You must also ‘stage’ your home for viewings. This means positioning everything in the most flattering layout, getting rid of any clutter and ensuring all surfaces are clean and crisp. The staging element of your property is even more important if your house will be vacant at the time of viewing, as you want the potential buyers to see it as a home for themselves, not just an empty shell.

Lack of advertisement and marketing of your home

Gone are the days of a simple classified ad and an image in the newspaper or estate agent’s window. If you’re putting your property on the market using a traditional or online agent then it’s important to double check that your property is being marketed as widely and as well as possible. Ensure your property is listed online, in a variety of places such as Zoopla and Rightmove, as well as on your chosen estate agent’s site. The listing should include top quality imagery and as a bonus, you could even include a virtual tour of the home. This may come at a cost, but your estate agent may be able to help you with this.

You should ensure you have visible for-sale signage outside of your home and generate word of mouth too.

Working with a poor estate agent

Don’t stick with an estate agent that is performing poorly and doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere with shifting your property. An underperforming estate agent could cause a host of issues, from inaccurate pricing and time-wasting buyers to bad marketing and unprofessional viewings. If your estate agent isn’t working for you, then move on. Don’t bide your time and lose out as a result, especially as the longer your property is on the market, the less it is likely to sell for as buyers pay attention to ‘time on market’.

Underestimating the costs involved

It can be a costly feat to sell a home and there are many expenses to consider before you put your property on the market. Firstly, you must bear in mind the fees and commission charges of your chosen estate agent (whether considering an online or traditional estate agent). The average fee charged by traditional estate agents in the UK is currently 1.42% of the final selling price, inclusive of VAT. Online estate agent fees typically end up costing ~£1,000 for the UK’s average home.

Then, on top of this there are any necessary repair costs, expenses of moving your belongings to your new property, taxes, insurance, closing costs and also any costs included in buying if you are purchasing a new property. Having an accurate estimation of how much the overall cost to selling your home will be is imperative to ensure the process goes smoothly and doesn’t leave you in a difficult financial situation.

If you’re wondering how much some of these costs soon add up, then below we’ve created a table that shows the costs of using a traditional estate agency vs. with us at House Buyer Bureau.

Selling to us means the price achieved isn’t as low as you think!

£120,000 ExampleCash SaleTraditional Estate Agency
Asking price example£120,000£120,000
Average agreed purchase price£95,000£110,000
Final agreed price after survey£95,000£108,000
Estate Agent fees£0.00£1,980
Estimated cosmetic repairs to prepare your house for sale£0.00£1,500
Solicitor fees£0.00£1,000
Estimated bills (During the sale process)£0.00£1,200
Estimated mortgage payments (During the sale process)£0.00£2,700*
Time taken off to see Estate Agents and Lawyers£0.00£300**
Net price achieved£95,000£99,320

*£450 per month based on 6 months to sell.

** Based on £75 a day and 4 days off work.

Ignoring kerb-appeal 

If you’re selling through an agent and putting your home on the open market then kerb appeal needs to be addressed. It’s possible that potential buyers could be passing by your home frequently throughout its period on the market and so you want to catch their eye. The exterior should entice buyers to be curious about the inside and walk-in during open-house showings. You don’t need to make big changes, just simply spruce it up a little with a quick coat of paint, getting rid of weeds and cleaning the pavements, keeping any grass neat and tidy and placing some flowers or greenery around the entrance.

Remaining emotionally attached to the property

This one is the most commonly made mistake, and it is only natural having made a home out of your property over the years that you have spent there. It may hold a lot of memories and you may have put your heart and soul into making it your own. Once you decide to sell however, you must learn to let go of this and become objective about your reasons for selling. You must try to look at your home the way potential buyers will to ensure you’re covering all bases for viewings.

It’s important to detach from the property also as if buyers catch a hint that you’re emotionally invested in the property, it could put them off making an offer for fear of you backing out at the last moment. You should also avoid letting your emotions rule your negotiations and pricing and view your property as a commodity that will soon be owned by someone else.

Luckily, when you sell to House Buyer Bureau, you don’t need to worry about any of the above. We buy your property regardless of how it looks, its condition or its location. We can even do it in a timescale that suits you, or in as little as seven days.

We remove all the hassle of maintenance, repairs, viewings, marketing and advertising, expensive estate agent fees and property market uncertainty. We can offer you a fair and competitive price for your property and we won’t lower this once the formal offer has been made.

We are a genuine cash buyer with the funds readily available to buy your home. So if you want a fast and easy way to sell your home without the worry of making mistakes, get in touch with us today, or simply enter your postcode on our homepage to receive an instant cash offer for your property.

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The UK’s Most Affordable Places to Buy a Home in 2019



At House Buyer Bureau, we understand that it isn’t easy to find the perfect location to move to – particularly with houses becoming less and less affordable for most of us. In the last twelve months, the average house price in the UK has risen to 7.8 times the median salary. In fact, in the year 2016 to 2017 alone, the ratio between average house price and average salary increased by a significant 2.4%. In some areas, house prices have gone far beyond this at over 13 times the median salary.

This means that unfortunately, staying put in your current city may not ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck.

So if you’re planning on downsizing, getting some cash out of your property by moving somewhere more affordable or even simply moving to a more affordable area nearby, we’ve taken care of some research to help you make a decision.

In the table below, we’ve calculated the 20 most affordable cities to buy a home just as we welcome in 2019. To help you make a decision, we’ve also highlighted in yellow the cities that have seen a decrease in average value over the last twelve months, so you can keep an eye on the places that are becoming even more affordable if you’re on a tight budget.

CityAvg Price Paid (£)Avg Salary (£)Price to earnings ratioAvg Value Change (Last 12 months)
1Aberdeen203,64532,0856.35^0.81%
2Bradford134,94820,9076.45-0.23%
3Kingston upon Hull140,34221,8346.43-1.68%
4Belfast156,11024,2936.43+0.65%
5Blackpool126,47919,4136.52+1.12%
6Middlesbrough152,09422,9016.64-2.57%
7Glasgow175,56326,2656.68+5.90%
8Stoke-on-Trent147,43321,5546.84-1.94%
9Dundee157,62922,8896.89+1.93%
10Liverpool166,63824,0346.93+0.55%
11Swansea166,94421,4297.79-0.74%
12Manchester191,97526,5127.24+0.65%
13Newport171,95522,7127.57+1.46%
14Birmingham198,37025,7727.70+1.36%
15Leeds207,85025,9188.02+0.25%
16Newcastle200,49524,9828.03+0.34%
17Nottingham197,58824,4828.07+1.29%
18Derby201,46624,7668.13-1.00%
19Coventry209,87625,8028.13-0.60%
20Preston190,22422,7348.37-1.79%

Sources: Zoopla & Payscale

In first place, Aberdeen is the most affordable city to buy property in the UK, with an average price of 6.3 times the average salary. However, with a 0.81% increase in prices over the last twelve months, you may wish to be cautious that prices could be set to rise further in the near future and it may be wise to make the move quickly.

Bradford, Kingston upon Hull and Belfast are next, with houses costing 6.4 times the average salaries. However, Bradford housing prices have also taken a dip of 0.23% over the last year and so could continue to decline through to 2019. If you’re planning a move to the Bradford area, now could be the time to do it.

The fifth most affordable city to buy property in the UK is Blackpool and prices are on average 6.5 times the average salary within the city. The average house value has increased considerably by 1.12% over the past 12 months, so this ratio may eventually begin to widen if wages fail to increase too.

Middlesbrough and Glasgow sit at 6.6 times the average salary in the cities. However, the difference comes in the value change over the past 12 months, with Middlesbrough house prices decreasing by a significant 2.57% and Glasgow prices increasing by 5.90%. While the ratios are the same and in fact, the average prices don’t differ too vastly either, the state of the market could indicate where placing your money would fare best between these two.

At the lower end of the table, the bottom five cities surpass the average UK ratio of 7.8 times, however still remain some of the most affordable places to live based on salary ratio. Derby, Coventry and Preston have each seen a considerable decrease in average home value, meaning that prices could be set to decrease further as we head into the new year.

The average salary in the UK as a whole is currently £28,677 and with the exclusion of Aberdeen, none of the cities in the table above meet this. This means that as house prices fluctuate, and wages stay static or decrease, the affordability gap is set to widen.

Unfortunately, whether house prices in your area are increasing or decreasing, it doesn’t fare well for you as a seller. Those who own property in the areas where prices are decreasing are likely to see the value of their home continue to drop and lose out as a result. Even if you’re on the other side of this and the value of your property is increasing, this isn’t always a good thing.  Increasing property prices make it more likely that the affordability gap will widen and, as a result, properties in the area will spend longer periods on the open market.

Don’t wait for your home to become stagnant on the market. Sell your home today and avoid the risk of losing out significantly on its current value. If you think we could help you to sell your home quickly, visit our homepage, enter your postcode and receive your cash offer.



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How to Sell Your House Quickly When Moving Abroad

If you’re moving abroad, then chances are you are trying to sell your house as quickly as you can so that you can start getting organised for the big move.

With it taking 12 weeks on average to sell a home (from day one on the market to offer accepted – not completion), chances are you need to get things moving a little faster than that. So how do you sell your house quickly? At House Buyer Bureau, we specialise in buying houses quickly so that our customers can move on with the next chapter of their lives, so we’ve compiled our top tips for those looking to sell their house fast in order to move abroad.

  • Declutter and Un-Personalise  

If your house has your personality stamp all over it, with bright paints, patterned wallpapers and lots of accessories and general clutter – then start by having a huge clear out. It’s important that a potential buyer can visualise themselves in your home, so make it a blank canvas.

  • Make Some Home Improvements

As well as clearing out your personal items and removing extra clutter, it’s also important to consider any quick home improvements you could make to improve the chances of your house selling. This could be minor improvements such as painting and decorating, or more significant changes such as updating kitchen or bathroom tiles, flooring, kitchen worktops, replacing a dated bathroom suite or clearing out an overgrown garden.

It’s also important to consider what issues could be flagged in your survey that would put off a potential buyer and cause any future sale to fall through. Things like damp, roofing, electric or plumbing issues can ring alarm bells to buyers because they tend to be expensive issues to repair once they complete on your property, often causing them to pull out of the purchase.

  • Make a Lasting Impression

First impressions count – and this is never more important than when trying to sell your home. If you have pets, then consider moving them to a friend, neighbour or relatives house during viewings and remove any obvious signs in the house that you have animals as this could put off potential buyers.

You can also make a good first impression by making the house feel very homely. Lighting candles, fires (if you have one), buying fresh flowers and generally ‘dressing’ your home for sale can significantly boost the chances of your home selling quickly.

  • Lower the Price

If you think you’ve done all you can to spruce up your home for sale but time is now of the essence, then the fastest way to sell your home is by significantly lowering the asking price.

  • Sell Your House to House Buyer Bureau

Of course, the big drawback with significantly lowering the asking price and continuing to sell via the traditional route using an estate agent is that your home still may take some time to sell. You will also still have to pay your estate agent fees, and once you have accepted an offer, you are completely dependent on the buyer following through with the whole process.

At House Buyer Bureau, we specialise in buying houses within as little as seven days, or at a time frame to suit our customers. Better still, we buy houses in any condition, so there’s no need for you to redecorate or patch up any issues.

If you need to sell your house quickly in order to move abroad, then get in touch with our team today, or simply enter your postcode on our homepage for a free cash offer for your property.

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Is Brexit Making My Home Harder to Sell?

Just after the Brexit vote, there was a LOT of speculation surrounding how leaving the EU would impact the housing market. So far, there has been little impact since the vote – house prices have continued to rise (albeit at a more moderate rate) and houses across the country have continued to be bought and sold almost as normal.

But the reality is that voting to leave is not the same as actually leaving. This means that exactly how much impact Brexit will have on the housing market is largely unknown until the final deal (or no deal) is revealed and day one of being officially out of the European Union arrives.

So how do we know whether Brexit will make homes harder to sell? We run through some early indicators that the housing market may be bracing itself for a slump post-Brexit.

Mortgage Approvals
Mortgage approvals are an excellent indicator of market concern, as if banks are rejecting more mortgage applications on properties, then it’s likely they are worried that the house in question won’t be worth the price it was bought at in the near (or distant) future.

Mortgage applications are also made before a property is bought, so if more buyers are being rejected by banks, then this means that there will be fewer buyers in the market.

It was reported by The Guardian in October (2018) that the number of mortgages approved by banks had hit a seven month low (down 10% when compared with the same month in 2017).

Consumer Confidence
The reality is that if you’re worried about your house not selling because of Brexit, then that’s because buyers are worried about buying too.

If consumer confidence is low, then we spend much more cautiously, typically starting with spending less on big-ticket items. This includes cars, luxury goods, holidays, expensive appliances and of course, houses.

There are a few ways we can measure consumer confidence. The most referenced one is with the Gfk Consumer Confidence index. According to this index, consumer confidence has fallen every month this year, with October’s result predicted to show the biggest drop.

source: tradingeconomics.com

The Experts
Sadly, with so much uncertainty this usually reliable indicator of how the housing market is doing is about as good as a tipsters prediction of which horse will win the Grand National.

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, gave his warning last month that a disruptive no-deal Brexit could cut 35% off house prices. Meanwhile, some of the UK’s biggest estate agents are predicting around a 5% decrease in housing prices in the early days post-Brexit.

Even at their most optimistic these predictions are hardly music to the ears of those wanting to sell up – but the reality is that there will always be houses on the market.

Sadly, debts, divorce and death mean that houses must be sold but the demand for buying can certainly dwindle significantly. This means longer periods on the market for those that do want to sell and that asking prices will need to be slashed in order for a buyer to be found.

To summarise the above indicators – the impact of leaving the EU will almost certainly have an impact on the British housing market. We’re likely to see:

Longer periods on the market for sellers

Fewer buyers in the market for a property as buyers either can’t get approved for a mortgage or opt to sit tight and stay put

A dip (or drop) in house prices as offering a bargain becomes the best way to find a buyer.

At House Buyer Bureau, we can buy absolutely any home, in any condition fast and for cash. You can choose a timescale to sell to suit you and the money in your bank in as little as seven days. For a FREE no-obligation cash offer for your property, simply enter your postcode on our homepage.

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We support LOROS

Following the loss of our dear friend and colleague Michael Spencer to Cancer we’ve decided to change our chosen charity to LOROS.

LOROS Hospice is a local charity delivering free care and support to over 2,500 people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland each year.

Continue reading

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The Danger of Fraudsters When Buying and Selling Property

With the rapid increase of bank transfer fraud taking place across the UK, the process of buying and selling a home is becoming ever more risky. Falling victim to fraud when buying or selling a home can put you in great financial danger, as well as causing the risk that you will no longer be able to move to a new home.

What is Bank Transfer Fraud?

This is where email correspondence is intercepted between yourself and your solicitor by a cyber-criminal. The fraudster will then contact you under the pseudonym of a member of staff at your solicitors firm (including adopting the same or a very similar email address), asking for the correct sum of money you have actually agreed upon. They may also falsely state that should you not send the funds, then the sale of your home or purchase of your new home will fall through.

This is where the scam becomes something so sophisticated that even the most clued-up person can fall victim to it – let alone someone going through the emotional process of buying and selling a home. The criminal will then provide you with their own bank details instead of those of your solicitor. Once you instruct your bank to make payment, you have authorised it and little can be done. These scammers often quickly withdraw the cash, so that by the time the scam has been flagged and investigated, it is too late to retrieve the funds.

In 2017, bank transfer fraud victims lost £236m in total, and banks were only able to pay back £60.8m of this. The scary thing about bank transfer fraud is that because you have authorised for the payment to be sent to the fraudster, you have absolutely no rights to be reimbursed once you have recognised you’ve been scammed. The banks are currently not entitled to do anything further than try to retrieve the funds from the recipient’s account.

A Real Life Nightmare

One of the worst cases of this type of fraud saw Essex couple lose a massive sum of £120,000 after transferring the money to what they thought was their solicitor’s bank account. The recipient then proceeded to withdraw this money in sums of £20,000 every day for six days. By the time the banks had recognised the fraud, the money was in cash and no longer possible to retrieve. The couple were left feeling failed by their bank as there was no way to reimburse them.

The fraudster had hacked into the email account system of the solicitor, retrieving all of the couples details including the exact amount of money agreed by both parties. This way they were easily able to intercept the correspondence without arousing suspicion.

New Legislation

However, banks being unable to help may be about to change as a consumer report from Which? calls for them to take better action on behalf of victims. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have now been investigating how banks deal with this type of scam and plan to implement an early version of a code of conduct to provide new protection for victims this month.

The Financial Ombudsman service will also be able to take this code into account when investigating new claims about this type of scam. However, this code will not be brought into legislation retroactively, meaning the sufferers of the huge loss in just 2017 alone will never see the remainder of their funds returned to them.

Even with this code in place, you could still suffer the consequences of falling victim to a bank transfer scam, as banks will only uphold their end of the deal and reimburse you if you meet a certain criteria.

As we are genuine cash buyers at House Buyer Bureau, we would absolutely hate the thought of the money you receive directly into your bank from us in exchange for your home ending up in the hands of one of these cyber-criminals.

Several Ways to Avoid This Scam:

  • Keep in mind that just by knowing your name, address and security details does not make the person contacting you genuine.
  • Trusted organisations and banks won’t ever contact you by email asking for you to make a payment.
  • Trusted organisations and banks won’t ask for any of your security information by email.
  • Just because the email you have received has come from the same email domain as your solicitor, do not automatically assume the person contacting you is actually part of the organisation.
  • If you are asked to make payment via email, be sure to call or visit your solicitor in person to ask whether this was really them and ask them to confirm their bank details.
  • Check with the bank that when you are transferring the sum that the name of the account holder registered to the account number and sort-code details you have provided match the name of the payee you intend.
  • Don’t ever click on links in an unexpected email or text as they too could be a scam.
  • If you fear you may be a victim to this type of fraud, action it with your bank, the payee’s bank, the Financial Ombudsman and the police as quickly as possible. Explain the severity of the situation and ask for it to be actioned in a timely manner to avoid the suspect withdrawing your cash before it is too late.

House Buyer Bureau can quickly and simply purchase your home in as little as seven days. The cash will be deposited into your bank in a timescale to suit you, so you can still go ahead with the purchase of your next property while you deal with retrieving the funds lost to the scam.

Not only could you, yourself fall victim to this scam, but the buyer of your home is at risk of becoming a victim too, ultimately causing them to no longer be able to go through with the purchase. Should this happen to you, you don’t need any further delays in selling your home. At House Buyer Bureau, we can pay cash for your home in a timescale to suit you or as little as seven days. Get your free cash offer now.

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Why we are the Nation’s Favourite House Buying Service

At House Buyer Bureau, we’re committed to buying your property for the best possible price with the least amount of stress and interference with your day-to-day life caused throughout the process. Let us tell you why we’ve become the nation’s favourite house buying service.

GENUINE CASH BUYERS 

We’re one of the only genuine house buying services that will make a cash offer on your property, and once we’ve viewed your home, the formal offer that we make will NEVER be reduced unless the survey reveals the property to be of non-standard construction or not be ‘marketable’ and/or ‘mortgageable’ and only then might our formal offer be amended. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous house buying companies do exist, and they may claim to be genuine cash buyers that will buy your home quickly. However, this isn’t the case.  

They can all too-often lead you astray, telling you they’re genuine cash buyers but when it comes down to it they don’t have any cash in the bank for your property and are actually looking to third-parties to buy your home. They’ll tie you into a signed contract and if they struggle to sell your home, they may lower their offer at the last minute and leave you in a very vulnerable position.

We make it our mission to give the genuine cash buyers like ourselves a better name. We won’t ever pull the unethical trick mentioned above and will always ensure to be completely transparent throughout the process of buying your home.  We’ll NEVER ask you to sign anything prior to the exchange of contracts and you can walk away at any stage before this. When the sale is complete, you will receive the cash, straight to your bank.

We’re trusted members of both The Property Ombudsman and The National Association of Property Buyers, so you can rest assured that we are a genuine company, with genuine values.

You can read more about the dangerous tactics to look out for and how House Buyer Bureau practice a fair and ethical method here.

Paula

Flamborough

Put your trust in this company

“[My] house [was] up for sale too long, I wanted to move on with my life, I rang Dorothy up for a chat and she was on with it straight away. It took 14 days as agreed. Friendly honest staff, I got the money I wanted and the price was never lowered. I’m very happy with the service I’ve received from Dorothy and team. I used their solicitor, it did take a while for the money to land in my account but [it] arrived same day as completion. Put your trust in this company. A big thank you to all.

THE House Buyer Bureau BUYING PROCESS

We aim to be fully transparent when we’re buying your home. We won’t tell you that we’ll give you a better price than what you may get on the open market, but we do promise that the price you receive will be fair and may not be too drastically under what you might have achieved through traditional selling routes.

We will value your property, and make you a formal offer that will be subject to contract and survey. If you choose to accept our formal offer, which you are under absolutely no obligation to do so, we then instruct solicitors. We do not charge any fees for this service, we’ll cover your legal costs, and you reserve the right to change your mind at any time during this stage.

We then exchange the contracts and complete the sale in a timescale to suit you. It’s as simple as that. You can read more about the full process here.  

Gareth

Leeds

Just over two weeks in total

Sale was handled superbly. Both Kim and Dorothy were great throughout and kept in contact daily throughout the whole process. Sale completed a day after requested completion date, which was just over two weeks in total. No one wants to lose money from the value of their property but the whole process was handled with great understanding. Very professional service.

WE’LL BUY YOUR HOME, NO MATTER WHAT

This is one of the big reasons we’ve become a favourite among the nation. We will buy your home, in any condition and in any location. You have complete and utter certainty that the sale will go ahead. You won’t have to invest in doing up your property in order to shift it, you won’t have to go through the process of listing it on the market, you won’t have to endure viewing after viewing and there will be no unnecessary delays because of chains or unreliable buyers.

No matter the reason for selling your home, whether it be the property itself or your own personal circumstance, we promise to handle the sale with the utmost professionalism. We understand there may be many reasons you need a fast sale for your home and that it can be an incredibly stressful time. We help to alleviate some of this stress by taking the task out of your hands and completing it for you as quickly as we can.

You can trust us to get the job done and buy your home in a timescale completely suited to you and your needs. We won’t pry, but we’re here to support you throughout the process to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

SELL YOUR HOME FAST

We can buy your home in as little as seven days, and we don’t just say this. Whether you want your home taken out of your hands in a matter of days, weeks, or months, we can manage this process at a pace that suits you and your needs.

We’ll never push you into a sale, we’ll just provide unbiased support and guidance and help you to make the decision yourself. We always offer the best possible price that we can for your specific property and practice a no-obligation model following your formal offer to ensure you don’t feel pressured into such a big decision.

You can start the process today by filling in our enquiry form, which takes just 60 seconds to complete. You will then receive a phone call from a member of our friendly team who will make you a cash offer in principle, based on the expected value of your property. Just head here and enter your postcode

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WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY

With 99% of our customers being completely satisfied with our service and giving us a rating of 5 stars, we’ve earned our title as the nation’s favourite house buying service. Here are some of the amazing things our past customers have to say about what we do:

I would recommend this company to anyone thinking of selling in this way.

“I can honestly say that from start to finish the experience of selling our home to House Buyer Bureau was an experience that was beyond compare, excellent. [From] Dorothy to everyone associated to the company, the solicitor, the surveyor are too many to name were so helpful and answered all questions and any concerns.”

Mrs Clarkson, Ossett

Had our best interests at heart

“Very good service throughout the sale of the property. Kim Tristram was very helpful always answering and returning calls, with very good one-to-one contact and [they] always had our best interests at heart. Great service, highly recommend them.”

A Parry, Wrexham

Very happy to recommend using this service

“Having never sold a property before I was unsure how to proceed. Using this service and especially dealing with Kim was so easy and straightforward. Everything [was] explained in full beforehand and no pressure. Very happy to recommend using this service.”

M Forder, Southampton

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New law for homeowners with Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed has been described by the Environment Agency as the most destructive, aggressive and invasive plant in the country.

Two home owners in Wales recently won a court case when they sued Network Rail after Japanese knotweed spread into their gardens.

Each man was awarded £15,000 in damages after the court decided that Japanese knotweed is a ‘nuisance’ and ‘natural hazard’ that land owners must keep under control.

In this hot summer weather it will grow rapidly, by up to 10cm a day pushing up through cracks in concrete, cavity walls and drains. The longer it is left, the further its underground root system will spread and the more costly it will be to tackle.

Japanese knotweed will quickly spread and become established if left untreated and can cause damage to buildings and render them unsellable, resulting in a property unable to be sold on the open market until a treatment plan is implemented.

You could also face criminal charges if you try to hide the presence of Japanese knotweed when selling a property. There is a requirement to disclose its presence on the Law Society’s TA6 form. According to Environet, an estimated 2% of properties in the UK are directly affected by knotweed, this could result in approximately 1,000 cases each year of knotweed concealment during property transactions.

House Buyer Bureau will purchase your property even if it has Japanese Knotweed.  Selling privately would mean you would have to pay for the expensive removal or allow time for treatment, whereas selling to us means you can walk away and leave us to sort out the problem.

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How much is being chain-free worth?

Many of our customers come to us to buy their homes quickly so that they can be in a chain-free position when negotiating for their dream property. So just how much is being a chain-free buyer actually worth?

According to a recent poll by Clearscore, 74% of all sellers would definitely accept or consider accepting an offer 5% below asking price if the buyer was in a strong, chain-free position to proceed. This proportion increases to 88% amongst sellers of properties worth over £500,000.

So what does this mean in monetary terms? Well, this of course depends on where you live in the country and the value of the property you are offering on. We’ve done the calculations for you so that you can get an idea of just how much being chain-free could save you on your next property:

RegionAverage Price (May 2018)Calculated Potential Chain-Free Saving (5%)
East Midlands£190,261£9,513
East of England£288,808£14,440
London£478,853£23,943
North East£128,680£6,434
North West£157,531£7,877
South East£322,096£16,105
South West£251,877£12,594
West Midlands£192,322£9,616
Yorkshire and the Humber£158,966£7,948
UK-WIDE£243,583£12,179


Given that it was recently reported that the number of property sales falling through in the UK has reached a 10-year high, those that are in a chain-free position have more negotiating power than ever.

It is for exactly this reason that many of our customers choose to sell their house fast with us – as not only can they can be 100% sure that their home will sell for cash, but they can also be in a chain-free position to buy their dream home (often at a saving thanks to their excellent negotiating position!).

If you think we can help you sell your home quickly, then get in touch with our friendly team today who can talk you through the process.

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We raised over £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support

We’re delighted to announce that we have raised over £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support through our Charity Programme!

At House Buyer Bureau we run a dedicated charity programme through which we make monthly donations to Macmillan Cancer Support. The amount that we donate runs alongside the number of properties purchased combined with contributions from staff fundraising activities that we run throughout the year and we have officially broken the £14,000 total!

We first launched the programme in January 2015 and selected Macmillan to be the first and sole beneficiary for our charity programme, as many of our customers have been positively affected by the work that the charity carries out.

To see the latest amount raised, click HERE to visit our JustGiving page.

There are now around 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, and it’s estimated that 1 in 2 of us will receive a diagnosis in our lifetime.

As part of our ongoing commitment to customer care and ethical working, we will continue to provide support and donations to MacMillan Cancer Support.

About MacMillan Cancer Support:

Right from the moment a patient is diagnosed, MacMillan’s dedicated team of supporters, professionals, volunteers, and campaigners provide a constant source of support.

Whether through its online community, helpline, local support groups or care specialists, MacMillan works to give those that need it the energy and inspiration to feel like themselves again. From a friendly face to talk to, to providing financial or work advice or information about treatments – MacMillan do anything they can to support not only those diagnosed, but their friends and families too. 

For support, information or if you just want to chat, call Macmillan Cancer Support free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit the website here.

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Awarded Feefo Gold Trusted Service

We’re delighted to have been awarded the Gold Trusted Service award from independent trusted reviews provider, Feefo!

Through its awards programme, Feefo recognise businesses that deliver exceptional experiences as rated by real, verified customers – and we’ve been awarded gold, the highest possible standard. The Feefo Gold badge is a globally-recognised symbol of trust which helps consumers contact us with absolute confidence.

Over the last 12 months alone we’ve collected 58 reviews, all of which have rated us 5/5 – something we are extremely proud of.

We’ve included just some of these reviews below, but you can read every single review over the last 4 years here.

Mrs TW, Southport

‘I would recommend HBB to anyone’

“The sale of my property was dealt with very professionally. A very helpful team where nothing was too much trouble. One member of the team, Kim Tristram, who went over and above her duties to put me at ease and help me with any worries.


I was messed about by other companies who tried pulling the wool over my eyes and make false offers. Right from the start I knew where I stood with HBB and Kim guided me every step of the way. Top service from Kim and the company. Thank you for helping me on my way to my new adventure.”

Mr Meaton, Cheshire

‘I was kept informed of every stage of the process’

“From my initial enquiry only a few weeks ago until completion everything was handled impeccably, I had total confidence that I was dealing with a 100% professional company. My contact Dorothy was superb and made sure that all involved progressed the sale quickly and efficiently.”

Mr Alford, Bristol

‘Very good’

“I needed cash for early retirement. The level of service was excellent and Dorothy was very helpful.”

Mrs Kirkham, Cheshire

‘…we would highly recommend HBB’

“After finding a new property which we very much wanted to purchase  we needed a quick sale to secure it … HBB ticked all the boxes , from start to finish they were excellent. .. especially Dorothy … she made the whole process easy ,and stress free  , and informed us every step of the way and would  definitely use there services again … thank you so much  HBB and a massive thank you to Dorothy you’re a star.”


If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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Selling Your Home with us vs. A Traditional Estate Agent – A Direct Comparison

At House Buyer Bureau, we’re completely transparent about the price we will pay for your property and our agreed purchase price never changes.

We’re genuine cash buyers with an independent review score of 5/5 that can buy your house within seven days or, alternatively, we can complete on a timescale of your choice.

If you’re unsure what to expect, we have outlined the following example of a house valued at £120,000 to prepare you for the associated costs involved with selling your home through an estate agent compared to selling with a cash buying company.  

When you consider the added hassle of viewings and the pressure on your time, you can see that the difference between the cash buying route versus selling with a traditional estate agent isn’t so far apart.

We’ve also detailed a few scenarios that selling fast or on your own timescale can either save you money by improving your buying position, or can be more than worth the difference to take away the stress.

£120,000 ExampleCash SaleTraditional Estate Agency
Asking Price Example£120,000£120,000
Average Agreed Purchase Price£95,000£110,000
Final Agreed Price After Survey£95,000£108,000
Estate Agent Fees£0.00£1,980
Estimated Cosmetic Repairs to prepare your house for sale£0.00£1,500
Solicitor Fees£0.00£1,000
Estimated Bills (During the sale process)£0.00£1,200
Estimated Mortgage payments (During the sale process)£0.00£2,700*
Time taken off to see Estate Agents and Lawyers£0.00£300**
Net Price Achieved£95,000£99,320

*£450 per month based on 6 months to sell.  
** Based on £75 a day and 4 days off work.

When selling with House Buyer Bureau might suit you:

Your time is valuable – and that time can also have value to the owners of the house you want to buy. Here are some scenarios in which selling on your terms might be worth more than the small difference:

  • When you’ve already found your dream home and you want to be in the best buying position possible in order to secure it. 
  • Property bills can add up and so selling quickly can relieve the stress of a long, uncertain sale and release equity quickly.
  • Being chain free can save you thousands as you have more chance of being successful with a lower offer. 

  • When you’ve inherited a home the responsibility of its bills will fall to you and any other recipients. 
  • When you value your time and want to alleviate stress from the process of moving house.

Selling your home can be very stressful and takes an average of six months. The demands of arranging your life around viewings, preparing your home and keeping it in immaculate condition while house hunting, working and looking after the family can get too much.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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Gazumping – The New Trend to be Aware of and Why Position is Everything

Gazumping is when the seller of a property accepts an offer from one buyer and then just before the sale is fully complete, goes on to accept a higher offer from another.

With no laws in place to prevent it, this is something that happens all too often in England and Wales. According to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Market Financial Solutions in January, 15% of adults in London have had a property purchase fall through as a result of being gazumped, with a national figure of 5%.  

An offer is not legally binding until the written contracts are exchanged, which happens towards the end of the buying process when a whole bunch of other costs have already been incurred; arranging a property survey, having a solicitor conduct the necessary searches and receiving your mortgage offer.

Not only is it a massive disappointment to lose out on what perhaps was your dream home, but it can also leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket. Instructing a solicitor will cost anywhere from £500 to £1500, along with a fee of around £300 for searches to be submitted to the local council to check if any planning or local issues could affect the value of the property.

Then there is the cost of the house buyer survey, which – depending on the value of the property – could cost anywhere from £350 to £950. So, at the higher end of the average costs, you could spend upwards of £2,750 before you can begin to officially secure the property.

“We have just had the [property] survey done and I was idly checking Zoopla to see it was still being marketed by the other estate agents.

I got a friend to call and dig for info and she found out that the vendor had accepted our offer ‘very reluctantly’ and that he was continuing to market [the property] in case he gets a higher offer.

This has made me feel totally sick. We’ve just forked out on solicitors fees and a survey and the vendor is likely to drop us at the first opportunity!” – Sammisatt, Mumsnet.

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid announced a call for evidence in October to improve the experience of house buying, stating that moving the point in which a sale becomes legally binding is an option to prevent gazumping, as well as considering mandatory “lock-in agreements” to increase the trust between buyer and seller. These new house buying rules are due to come in to place very soon and could make the prevalence of gazumping even higher in the meantime.

If you are unable to increase your offer or unable to guarantee a quick, chain-free, mortgage-free, pain-free process for the seller, then you could well lose out.

Beware, there is also the potential for you to be ‘ghost gazumped’ by your seller, meaning they falsely tell you they’ve received a higher offer to see if they can squeeze anymore out of you.

Being gazumped can leave you victim to the chain, resulting in being stuck in your current property. You can avoid this, secure your dream house and save thousands by selling to a cash buyer such as ourselves.

As a cash buyer, selling with us can leave you chain free and in a great position to buy. There’s also absolutely no fees to pay – no legal fees, estate agency fees, survey or valuation fees, potentially saving you thousands.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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Buyers & Sellers: Beware Agent Upselling

Earlier this year the Telegraph ran a piece entitled ‘the dodgy estate agent tactics that leave buyers and sellers out of pocket’ – referring to a new upselling strategy being implemented by estate agents across the country.

At House Buyer Bureau, we understand how important it is to feel in control of the buying and selling process. That’s why we’re 100% transparent with our customers throughout the sale process and we’ve drafted this blog post so that you can find out exactly what ‘agent upselling’ is and how to avoid its potential costs.

What is Agent Upselling?

Rather than making income only from selling fees, estate agents increasingly profit from mortgage broking and conveyancing services, causing buyers and sellers to lose out.

It’s understandable to think that upselling mortgage and conveyancing services may simply mean that the buyer is left out of pocket, but the seller may lose out too.

The reason for this is that there has been an increasing amount of pressure put on estate agents to upsell these products to the buyer, but if they are successful in doing so, it is also arguably in their interest for that buyer to be successful when they make their offer.

Because most people only sell homes two or three times in their lifetime, the stress of the process means that the seller puts their complete faith in their estate agent to work on behalf of them to find the right buyer at the right price for their home.

However, with the agent’s interest also pulled to a buyer that will take a mortgage and conveyancing through their agency, they may be inclined to sway the seller to accept an offer from that particular buyer. This may mean they miss out on a higher offer from a buyer that has sourced their mortgage and conveyancing independently.

In the Telegraph article, Jenny (name changed), an estate agent from London with 10 years’ experience, explains:

“It’s all about selling mortgages these days, [sellers] put this blind faith into their estate agent and that is being abused, pure and simple,”

“Most people only go through this process two or three times in their life. They don’t know enough to understand what is being done to them. Most people for the sake of a couple of thousand pounds will go with the [offer] they’ve been told has more certainty.

“So you just put both offers to the homeowner and say: ‘This one offered £2,000 less but they are doing everything in-house and it is far more likely [the sale] will go through. If you go with the person who’s offered £2,000 more, they are using their own solicitors and their own mortgage services so we can’t make any guarantees.’”

How to Avoid Agent Upselling – The Signs

Sellers – although it can be tempting to ask your agent to only pass on ‘financially verified’ offers, this gives the agent the right to dismiss offers from buyers not using their mortgage services automatically.

Buyers – buyers can be told they will become a ‘hot buyer’ if they use the estate agent’s mortgage broker, giving them special access to an exclusive list of houses only available to them. In reality, this just limits the market to the seller, and having a conversation with a mortgage advisor within earshot of an estate agent is a no-no, as there is a risk the agent could learn enough about your financial situation to encourage the seller to wait for a higher offer.

At House Buyer Bureau, we understand how important it is to feel in control of the buying and selling process and we’re 100% transparent with our customers throughout the sale process.

Get in touch with our team or visit our homepage for an instant, online cash offer for your property.

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Home Sale Horror Stories

In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve gathered real-life house sale horror stories from across the UK, compiling them into a single blog post.

When all is not as it seems…

Sometimes, when you’ve purchased a house and move in, the reality of life in your new home might be very different from the expectation – particularly if you relied on your own limited knowledge or a seller’s word about an aspect of the house or area, rather than a survey.

This happens to buyers regularly, and when the disenchantment with the property becomes too much, the buyer soon becomes the seller – only this time the property is extremely difficult to sell as potential buyers are warned off by an owner selling their home so soon after moving in.  

A seller struggling to sell their home due to unforeseen parking issues and planning permissions:

“[We] did look into [the] idea of [the] front garden being turned into parking, but council said no, it was 1cm out or something.

People in the street have been trying to get residents’ parking for years without success. The people we bought the house off 5 years ago lied and told us residents’ parking was coming into force and naively, I believed them without checking. They also told us that a planning application for houses to be built behind our garden had been rejected when actually, it had been accepted. God I’m so naive.

Will look into part exchange idea again, I actually think I’d move anywhere just to sell this house!”

The chain nightmare…

Selling a house the traditional way can be extremely stressful. You put the house on the market, de-clutter, tidy, patch-up, prepare for viewings, take calls off your estate agent, rival agents and so the list goes on.

Not only does the list go on, but it drags on, for weeks, sometimes months, sometimes years. Sadly, even when the perfect buyer walks through the door and you accept the offer the stress can be far from all over:

“By my calculation, there are at least 8 houses in our chain. [We’ve] been waiting since January, [we] were supposed to complete today (May) originally ☹. [We] only found out on Tuesday that top of chain hasn’t even instructed their solicitor yet!

[I’m] in the middle of reception school place appeals as obviously we didn’t get offered a local school.”

Missing school places is just one potential consequence of being in a long chain or in chains that ultimately break down. Buyers and sellers throughout the chain can incur more solicitors fees, be forced to pay removal cancellations, lose deposits on new-builds or plots or even delay starting a new job. Those tenants at the bottom of the chain may also have nowhere to live if notice has been handed in to the landlord of their accommodation.

Last-minute unwanted surprises…

Until all parties in a chain have exchanged and completed, sadly, there’s still time for unwanted surprises. This could be the chain breaking down, your buyer demanding £1,000s off the price at a key moment or new information about issues with your property or your planned purchase (worrying planning permission requests, flooding, neighbour disputes, structural issues – quite literally, anything can happen!).

Realistically, the longer your sale goes on for, the more at-risk you are to these unexpected and unwanted surprises.

“We accepted an offer 50k below asking price on our flat 3 months ago. Buyers have been awkward all the way, and now want to drop a further 25k the day before we are due to exchange. We can’t afford this, unless the next property in the chain takes the hit too, and we really don’t think he will.

About to speak to agents, but does anyone have any advice? Is this likely to be a negotiating position or might they really pull out if we say no?

Scared.”

Horror stories like these are an all-too-common occurrence when buying or selling a house. If you want to be certain your home will sell then the best way is to sell to a cash buyer with no-chain that will buy any property in any condition – someone just like us.


Get in touch with our team or visit our homepage for an instant, online cash offer for your property.

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Will Owning a Leasehold Make Your Home Harder to Sell?

In 2017, it’s estimated that around one in 7 buyers have purchased leasehold homes.

The Government has recently announced plans to reform the rules and ban new build houses from being sold as leaseholds, but millions across the UK already own leasehold homes, so what will the impact of this be on those that already own a leasehold house? Will the value of their homes be affected? In this blog, we explain all…

What is a leasehold property?

If you buy a leasehold property, you will only own it for a fixed period of time and you will have a legally-binding agreement with the ‘landlord’ or ‘freeholder’ – the person or business that owns the freehold for your property. This agreement will tell you for how many years you will own the property.

If / when the lease comes to an end, the ownership of the property will return to the ‘landlord’ or ‘freeholder’ and you will no-longer own the home (even if you have fully paid your mortgage).

Most flats are leaseholds, but in the 2000s it became increasingly common for new-build houses to be sold as leasehold properties, which has ultimately led to the ban.

Can the lease be extended? How much does extending a lease cost?

The lease on a property can be extended, but this comes at a cost. The exact cost depends on how long you have left on your lease and the value of your property.

The below chart shows the typical cost of extending your lease depending on lease length (but be aware, the costs to extend your lease could be much higher – as these figures are based on a flat valued at £200,000 with a 999-year lease).

Credit: Moneysavingexpert.com

To demonstrate how lease extension costs can spiral when lease length gets below 60 years, in May this year, a flat in one of London’s most expensive squares where flats typically sell for £7,000,000, sold for just £90,000 as it had just 14 months left on the lease. This lease will cost £900,000 to extend for just 20 years.

What are the leasehold rule changes for new-builds?

The government’s changes will ban builders from selling new-build houses as leasehold in England and ground rents on flats could be cut to as low as zero.

The 8-week consultation entitled ‘tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’ closes today and the findings can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tackling-unfair-practices-in-the-leasehold-market

What’s the impact for those stuck with a leasehold house, or for those considering buying one?

In many cases, leasehold properties are subject to ground rates and other clauses that incur additional costs – and some of these can be costs that increase either with the value of the property, or at certain milestones.It is these spiralling cost increases, along with the increasing costs of lease renewal, that can render a property unsellable at market value as it would also become virtually unmortgageable for any potential buyer.

For example, ground rents may start off as £200 per year on the property, but double every 10 years. This would make annual ground rent £6,400 by year 50 of the lease.

In addition, clauses can include a mortgage fee if the lessee decides to remortgage at any point. This could be 0.05% of the home’s value for example, or a £150 charge for remortgaging a house valued at £300,000. Other mainstay charges could even include a fee (usually around £50 plus VAT) if the property owner wants a pet.

The key for leasehold home owners is to buy the freehold (if possible), or keep your lease length above 100 years. This will keep lease extension costs relatively low and mean potential buyers will be able to acquire a mortgage for the property should you decide to sell.

If you’re buying a new build house, leasehold should no longer be a problem following the ban. If you are considering purchasing an existing leasehold house, be sure to check the length of the lease, research renewal costs and research the possibility of purchasing the freehold.

Testament to the importance of this, below is a real case study from TheToysAreALIVEITellThee on Mumsnet:

“Bought our first and current home 7 years ago. Was told by the solicitor that it was Leasehold with 63 years left but not informed what the implications of this were, just that it could mean we’d have a problem if we wanted to sell in the near future and she would advise that we either extend the lease or purchase the freehold when we can – great. I was young, excited that our offer had been accepted and we’d be moving into our dream home and trusted that the solicitor knew their job.

“Fast forward 7 years and 2 DC later and finally… [I] start looking into buying the freehold. 

“I feel sick, have read that it can cost tens of thousands of pounds, extending the lease can be just as costly, and if we just let the lease run out the land reverts back to the leaseholder and we can be forced to then pay them RENT for our own home that would have been fully paid off.”

If your lease has become expensive to renew or if you’re struggling to sell your property because of unexpected lease costs, get in touch with one of our team. We’re cash buyers and in a position to purchase any leasehold property – regardless of the lease term remaining.  

You could sell your home in as little as seven days. If you’re in need of a swift sell, why not visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer on your home.

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Beware the Hidden Factors Stopping Your Home from Selling

You’ve cleaned and tidied your home from top to bottom, you light candles and spray air freshener to prepare your home for viewings, there is no sign of your pets and your home has never looked better – so why hasn’t it sold?

In this blog post, we look at the hidden reasons why your home might not be selling…

  • The Area

Unsightly neighbouring properties with structural damage or unkempt gardens might impact the chances of your own home selling – no matter how perfect your property is.

Equally, the issue might not be as obvious as a neighbour’s garden. It could be the overall appeal of the area in general.

  • Is there a lack of parks nearby?
  • Is the road too busy?
  • Are there good transport links?
  • Is your home outside the catchment area for a good school?

These ‘hidden’ factors have become increasingly important to house buyers, and sadly, there is very little you can do if your home is based in an undesirable area.

If you’re fed up with waiting for a buyer to come along for your home, get in touch to get a cash offer for your property and you could be moving in as little as seven days!

  • Planning Permission

You might not be aware that someone nearby has applied for planning permission, but this may be common knowledge to others which could be impacting your chances of selling.

Nearby planning permission can impact your home in the following ways which would put a buyer off making an offer:

  • Make the road area near your home much busier (e.g. building a new supermarket, school or new road system)
  • Cause your property to be overlooked (e.g. by a neighbouring extension)
  • Cause noise / light pollution (e.g. change of use of a nearby business to a nightclub / bar, or plans to erect floodlights or new street lights near your property)
  • Make it clear that any homebuyer would not get permission to extend your property post-purchase (if others have been denied permission for extensions nearby that a prospective buyer would want to make).

To find your local council website and search for planning permission submissions in your area, visit https://www.gov.uk/search-register-planning-decisions

At House Buyer Bureau, we buy any property. If you think planning permission has severely impacted your chances of selling, get in touch with us to see how we can help.

  • Signs of Structural Wear 

When you see something every day, it’s easy to overlook subtle changes that buyers might see as warning signs. Broken or missing roof tiles, wear and tear (that may be viewed as a sign of age and structural issues) and signs of damp can quickly cause potential buyers to rule your property out.

Any potential buyer is likely to get your property surveyed before committing to the purchase, so it may be worth getting a survey done yourself so that you can be in-the-know about underlying issues.

You could sell your home in as little as seven days. If you’re in need of a swift sell, why not visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer on your home.

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5 Most Common Reasons for Selling your Home

There are many reasons people sell their homes, from avoiding costly repairs to relocating for a new job. A full list of selling reasons could be endless, but we’ve broken down the five most common reasons homeowners make the decision to sell.

1. In Order to Release Equity

Homeowners may want to release equity out of desire or necessity. Whilst some owners are eager to make a profit, others may be more interested in selling quickly to get cash in the banks. Those eager to turn a profit may want to liquidate a second home for the spending money or to earn a profit on home renovations. However, those in need of fast cash may need a quick sell to pay off back debts or stop a repossession or foreclosure.

2. Housing Market Conditions

Whether it’s low mortgage rates or a change in country leadership, housing market conditions can influence homeowners to sell.

Sometimes the market is ripe for a sell and the temptation is irresistible. Other conditions that may indicate a good selling market include: strong buyer demand, rising home prices, a strong job market, an increase in interest rates, or an increase in rent. However, sellers will likely buy another home meaning any favourable selling conditions will work against them as buyers.

Currently, house prices have fallen for four consecutive months, including in June. This is the first time house prices have fallen in June since 2009, but the results come as no surprise as uncertainty continues following the election result. This has stifled demand, meaning houses remain on the market for longer. If you don’t want to wait or leave your house sale to chance, get in touch with us to sell your fast.

3. Size Requirements Change

Whether it’s upgrading or downsizing, as families changes so do property needs. Most first-time buyers outgrow their homes when they plan to start a family and desire, better yet require, more space. On the other hand, as children flee the nest, space requirements reduce and the desire to downsize comes into play. These changes in size requirements can be a pressing matter that requires an urgent sell.

4. Change in Relationship Status

Relationships change for better or worse and a marriage or divorce can call for a need to sell fairly quickly. If both partners own homes but want to move in together, one or both might need to sell their home. On the breakup side of the equation, partners may separate and need to sell their shared home if the mortgage cannot be covered on a single salary. Therefore, a divorce may require a more urgent sell than a new partnership.

5. Changes in the Neighbourhood

The neighbourhood you once fell in love with years ago may no longer be the idyllic location it once was. An increase in the crime rate, changes in school catchment areas, a plan for construction of a new motorway, or even a change in the neighbours can be as good a reason as any to sell and move on. As unfortunate as it may be, these changes may prompt an urgent sell.

With House Buyer Bureau, you could sell your home in as little as seven days. If you’re in need of a swift sell, why not visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer on your home.

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Home Affordability in 2017

Home Affordability in 2017

How affordable is the housing market in 2017?

House prices in the UK have fallen for three consecutive months for the first time since 2009, so now could be the best time to sell your house – and fast, before the value of your home decreases further.

New data released reveals the home affordability gap – the gap between median house price and median earnings – and suggests that we may have seen house values peak for the foreseeable future, as the gap between house prices and earnings closes.

According to ONS affordability data, the median price paid for a home in the UK leapt 259% between 1997 and 2016, while earnings rose by only 68%.

In 1997, house prices were 3.6 times workers’ annual gross full-time earnings. Now, prices are 7.6 times the average salary.

Of course, the extent of the gap varies across regions. In the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea house prices are typically 38.5 times greater than average earnings, while in Copeland, Cumbria, houses are typically 2.8 times the average salary.

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Source: The Guardian

So, what does the drop in house prices mean if you’re trying to sell your house? And where’s the link between this and affordability?

Basic economics suggests that when you make something less affordable, demand falls. That’s how a market balances out. This could well be why prices are on the decrease and could mean your house is on the market for longer.

So why wait? We buy homes all year round! If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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When is the best time to sell a house?

When is the best time to put your house on the market?

If you’re thinking of selling your house, then this question has probably crossed your mind. There are certainly trends that show that the housing market is seasonal and can also be impacted by political and economic events, so when is the perfect time to sell your house?

With a general election on the horizon, we look at the best and worst times of the year to sell your home as well as whether or not you should list your house for sale before an election.

The Best Time to Sell:

Seasons

Answer: Spring & Early Summer.

The months of March, April and May had the shortest ‘average time to sell’ according to RightMove data, averaging 60 days over these months in 2016. May was the best performing month, with the average house selling within 57 days (from instruction to removal of the property from the market / sale, subject to contract).

The Worst Time to Sell:

Seasons

Answer: Winter / Christmas.

November, December and January were the worst performing trio of months, with time to sell averaging 68, 73 and 79 days respectively.

Many buyers decide to wait until after Christmas to resume their property search, knowing that the sale wouldn’t be completed in time for them to move in before the winter holidays. This explains why this time of year is one of the worst times to sell and why spring time is thought to be one of the best.

Better weather in the spring and early summer also means houses can look their best both outside and in, but be aware that should your house remain on the market for too long, summer is a poor time to sell as buyers jet off on holiday and put house buying to the back of their minds.  

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Should I put my house on the market before a general election?

The announcement of the snap election to take place on June 8th will undoubtedly have made many homeowners wonder whether now is a good time to sell their home – even if it is the height of spring and meant to be the optimum time to sell.

It’s not uncommon for buyers to put plans on hold until the outcome of a political vote.

Yorkshire Building Society economist Andrew McPhillips said: “The housing market is going through a sluggish period at present and a general election adds to the chances of it lasting longer.”

Past trends have shown a clear correlation between general elections and levels of sales in the property market, with a dip in activity pre-election, but a bounce-back in the number of sales post-election.

We buy homes all year round! If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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Why Selling Your House With Us Could Save You £1,000s

Selling your home can cost thousands. On top of all the fees, the longer your house is on the market for, the more bills and mortgage repayments you have to pay.

So how much does it cost to sell the average home in the UK? 

The average UK house price was £218,000 in January 2017, according to the ONS, so we’ll use this figure in our working example.

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And how much does it cost to sell your house with House Buyer Bureau?

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When you add up agency fees, solicitor’s fees and the extra mortgage and bill payments you have to make while your house is for sale, the average cost of selling a house in the UK sits somewhere between £7,000 and £10,000.

When you sell your house with House Buyer Bureau, there are no fees to pay – no legal fees, estate agency fees, survey or valuation fees, potentially saving you thousands.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer. 

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5 Reasons We’re the UK’s Favourite House Buying Service

We’ve had over 500 customers review their experience selling their property to us and we have consistently achieved a 95% or above customer satisfaction rating.

So, what is it about the service we offer that has made us the UK’s favourite house buying service? Collecting information from our customer reviews, we’ve listed the five most common reasons those customers gave us five stars:

  1. We’re fast!

We may not have broken any Olympic records, but if you need to sell your property quickly, we can certainly deliver.  

With us you can sell your house in as little as seven days. Or, if you need a little more time, we can adjust timescales to suit your needs exactly.

Pauline, Swansea – 

The service was excellent, it was very, very quick, I found that if I put it on for sale with an estate agent it would take too long and a flat came up that I really wanted. 

Dean, Pontefract – 

From start to finish everything was done on time, we needed an extension to our changeover date as our new property was not ready, and even after everything had been signed, even this was no trouble for this company.
I would recommend House Buyer Bureau to anyone without a shadow of doubt, once again, thank you and well done.

  1. No hidden fees

Many firms offering quick-sale services may charge fees which are hidden to customers, who then feel pressured to pay these unexpected charges.

Unlike these firms, we do not charge any fees. Valuations are free of charge and even if you decide to pull out before exchange of contracts, there are no costs. No pressure and no fees!

Andrea, Truro –

There are no solicitor’s fees to pay, no estate agents fees, in fact no fees at all! This suited me very well as I wished to move quickly to secure my new let, and with no upfront fees I was able to do this.
Many thanks to all involved.

  1. Value and Offer Transparency

Sadly, some unscrupulous house buying firms will reduce the price offered for a property at the last moment, hoping that the customer will be emotionally and financially committed to the sale and agree to the new price.

Our ‘Formal Offer’ will never be reduced unless there is adverse information that comes to light from the RICS survey or Report on Title (legal report).

Margaret, Tynemouth – 

The sale was handled efficiently and there was complete transparency surrounding the valuation and offer process. As promised once the sale price was agreed it was adhered to. The team were helpful and understanding especially as my mum was selling her home of many years as she had had to go into a care home, which was an emotional decision.

  1. Customer Service

Selling your house can be a stressful and emotional process. Although our service is designed to make the whole process stress-free, it can still be an emotional time.

That’s why we focus on delivering an exceptional and personal customer service. Each house is unique as are the circumstances behind each sale. We work with you to understand your needs and deliver our service to a timescale that suits you.

Jane, Walsall – 

Excellent service. Dorothy went above and beyond with her superb care and efficiency. She was with us every step of the way. The whole process took just 3 weeks. Dorothy handled all issues and kept us informed at every stage of the transaction. We cannot speak highly enough of her. I would certainly recommend House Buyer Bureau to anyone wanting a quick, easy and stress free sale. 

John, Rhyl – 

From the moment I approached House Buyer Bureau regards to the sale of the property I received a very professional and outstanding service.

Rebecca Tait, who dealt with the sale, is an extremely polite lady. Rebecca kept me informed at all levels regarding the sale of the property. Explaining the procedure in depth and in a friendly and easy to understand manner. Thank you Rebecca.

I would certainly recommend House Buyer Bureau to any potential house seller who wants and quick and easy house sale.

  1. Genuine cash buyers

Many house buying firms falsely claim to be cash buyers.

We’re the genuine and professional alternative to an estate agency sale offering competitive cash prices and completions from only seven days. You can see over 500 examples of our recent transactions here.

Anthony, North Yorkshire – 

House Buyer Bureau are very upfront in telling you how much you are likely to get after a visit from two local estate agents and possible adjustment after a valuation by a chartered surveyor. I was pleased to be able to make a quick sale and not be responsible for the house as I wanted to move into a retirement bungalow. House Buyer Bureau are genuine cash buyers. Some that claim to be are not. I thoroughly recommend them.

If you think we could help you to sell your home, visit our homepage and enter your postcode for an instant cash offer.

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We will buy your house today

Homeowners looking to sell their properties quickly are urged to take advantage of a nationwide service from House Buyer Bureau, which guarantees a cash offer for every home and the prospect of completing a sale within just seven days or around a timescale to suit.

Chris Hodgkinson, Sales Director of House Buyer Bureau, explained: “Latest statistics suggest the average property is on the market for around eight weeks before a buyer is found; however there is an alternative for frustrated homeowners who want to buck this trend and simply do not want to endure long delays, broken chains, and hidden costs.

“House Buyer Bureau buys properties for cash – no matter where the property is located or what condition it is in. By visiting www.housebuyerbureau.co.uk and simply entering the postcode on the homepage, homeowners can get a provisional and instant cash offer for their property. There are no hidden costs, in fact our customers save literally hundreds of pounds in fees as House Buyer Bureau pays for all the fees associated with the sale.

“With a long history spanning over 75 years, the team at House Buyer Bureau prides itself on delivering the very best levels of service, and this is reflected in our fantastic Feefo rating. Customers have the peace of mind of knowing they can pull out at any time up until contracts are exchanged, and our trained advisors – all of whom have direct telephone numbers – are on hand to provide a personal service.”

Mrs Salt recently turned to House Buyer Bureau when she was looking to sell a three-bedroom detached cottage she had been letting out. “When it came to selling the rental property my husband and I owned, we looked at the options but our priority was to secure a speedy sale. We also didn’t want the hassle as the property was located 60 miles away from where we lived and I felt it would take a lot longer to sell through local estate agents.

“The research I had done on House Buyer Bureau was very reassuring and I just knew it was the right company to go with. After speaking to Dorothy from House Buyer Bureau on the telephone, I was given a provisional offer which was based on valuations from two local estate agents, and the sale was completed in seven days.”

“By selling the property through House Buyer Bureau we achieved a remarkably quick, stress-free sale. I was kept informed by Dorothy every step of the way and I felt in control throughout, which was really important to me.”

Chris added: “There really isn’t a typical House Buyer Bureau customer. The circumstances of every seller is different from those who need speed, those who want the certainty of a genuine cash buyer to those that just don’t want the inconvenience of long chains, viewings and unnecessary delays. We also buy from those who can’t sell their home due to its condition or even a legal matter.

“Whatever your situation we are here to help and I would urge those interested to visitwww.housebuyerbureau.co.uk to get a no obligation instant online cash offer for their property.”

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Thank you to Dorothy

House Buyer Bureau property buyer Dorothy Barker got a pleasant surprise at work this week when a delivery man arrived with a wonderful bouquet of flowers for her.

The pleasantly unexpected delivery was from her customer Graham from West Yorkshire who was so delighted with the service he received from Dorothy on the sale of his sister-in-law’s house that wanted to give her an extra thank you.

The sale of the three bedroomed townhouse in Guiseley completed in less than four weeks, allowing Graham’s sister-in-law to move into sheltered accommodation.

Over the past five years independent surveys have revealed that House Buyer Bureau has consistently achieved a 95% or above customer satisfaction rating. CLICK HERE to see more customer testimonials.

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Receive £500 when you recommend a friend

House Buyer Bureau, the UK’s favourite house buying service, has this week launched a new scheme which will see its customers receive £500 for recommending a friend to sell their property with them.

House Buyer Bureau has launched its new Recommend a Friend scheme as a thank you to its customers for helping the company achieve a 95% or above average customer satisfaction rating over the past five years.

Chris Hodgkinson, director at House Buyer Bureau, commented: “We are very proud of our high customer satisfaction ratings and we wanted to give something back to our customers as a thank you.

“Our team work hard to pay the best price for our customers’ and make their property sale process as quick and stress-free as possible. We receive dozens of great customer testimonials every month telling us what a positive experience it was selling their property with us and we want our customers to help spread that message to others in similar circumstances who just want to sell their property without any hassle.”

The Recommend a Friend scheme rules state that House Buyer Bureau will only send a cheque for £500 to the customer once their friend’s property completion has taken place. The friend who is recommended must be a new enquiry to House Buyer Bureau and cannot have received a cash offer from us in the past 12 months.

House Buyer Bureau, the UK’s favourite house buying service, is a genuine cash buyer, able to offer completions in only seven days on purchases of all types of property in any condition and location in England and Wales. There are no legal, valuation or estate agency fees to pay, no inconvenient long chains, no viewings or unnecessary delays, just a certainty of sale at the most competitive cash price.

For a 60 second online cash offer, complete the form HERE and see what we could pay you

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Launching charity programme

House Buyer Bureau, the UK’s favourite house buying service, has this week launched a new charity programme to support Macmillan Cancer Support.

Many of House Buyer Bureau’s customers have been positively affected by the work of Macmillan Cancer Support and as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to customer are and ethical working it has selected Macmillan Cancer Support as the beneficiary for its charity programme.

Chris Hodgkinson, director at House Buyer Bureau, commented: “Selling a property is a big undertaking for many people, especially those who have just inherited a house or are selling to move into a care home. We appreciate that it isn’t just a simple transaction, it can often be a complete lifestyle change and we want to support our customers through this transition”

The House Buyer Bureau charity campaign will see the company make monthly donations to Macmillan Cancer Support in line with the number of properties purchased along with contributions from staff fundraising activities throughout the year.

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Gini Smith, fundraising manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It’s great news that House Buyer Bureau want to support our work. A donation of only £40 could help a cancer self-help and support group hold their first meeting or £190 could fund a Macmillan nurse for a day. The donations we receive from House Buyer Bureau will go directly to those who need our support.”

To find out more information about the House Buyer Bureau charity programme CLICK HERE or to suggest a fundraising event for the team to take part in call 0800 028 2800.

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New website launched

House Buyer Bureau, the UK’s favourite house buying service, has launched a new website this week making it even simpler for people to sell their property quickly.

The website has been launched following a highly successful 2014 and in response to positive customer feedback. Now featuring a live chat function as well as its simple online cash offer generator, visitors will be provided with an instant cash offer and called immediately by House Buyer Bureau’s professional team of property buyers.

Simon Blunt, managing director of House Buyer Bureau, commented: “We pride ourselves on treating our customers with honesty and integrity and in 2014 we helped around 300 people sell their home and complete in an average of 10 days.

“We know there are more sellers across England and Wales looking for a quick sale and we want to make our business as accessible as possible to those people.”

The new website has been designed to reinforce House Buyer Bureau’s position as the friendly and approachable house buying service with softer illustrations and a warmer colour palette. The content is also promotes the company’s heritage and experience and demonstrates that it is an established, trustworthy organisation with a wealth of knowledge.

Also heavily featured on the new website is advice on how best to handle a quick house sale and hundreds of positive customer testimonials. Over the past five years independent surveys have revealed that House Buyer Bureau has consistently achieved a 95% or above customer satisfaction rating

Simon added: “We have worked hard over the past few years to improve the reputation of the quick sale industry into a genuine option for those looking to sell their property fast. Our new website will make our services even more accessible and we’re confident our business will continue to grow as a result.”

House Buyer Bureau, the UK’s favourite house buying service, is a genuine cash buyer, able to offer completions in only seven days on purchases of all types of property in any condition and location in England and Wales. There are no legal, valuation or estate agency fees to pay, no inconvenient long chains, no viewings or unnecessary delays, just a certainty of sale at the most competitive cash price.

For a 60 second online cash offer, complete the form HERE and see what we could pay you

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Launching Our Code Of Ethics

House Buyer Bureau, a leading provider in the quick house sale market, has launched a Code of Ethics in a bid to encourage a clean-up of the industry.

The company, which prides itself on the quality and integrity of its services, has drawn up its own Charter rather than wait for an Office of Fair Trading report into the sector.

Chris Hodgkinson, House Buyer Bureau Sales Director, said: “We welcome and will be supporting and working with the OFT on its study into the industry as it will help weed out unscrupulous companies that employ methods that give the sector a bad name. “However, while waiting for the OFT to complete its report, we wanted to publicly demonstrate our overriding commitment to treating clients with honesty and integrity. “We always have embraced the highest standards and are confident that our business processes and terms and conditions will be recommended as best practice for the industry in the wake of the OFT’s assessment. “The House Buyer Bureau’s Code of Ethics sums up the company’s principles and what customers can expect from our services.”

The company’s directors, managers and staff will put their names to the Ethics pledge – a public declaration that all its customers are treated with honesty and openness. The House Buyer Bureau Code of Ethics embraces the ethos of the company with the Charter comprising: ETHICS – Ethical, Transparent, Honest, Integrity, Considered, Sincere. The ethical approach adopted by the House Buyer Bureau includes: Not making false claims about the value of a property, but always instructing a minimum of two Estate Agents and a RICS Chartered Surveyor, all of whom are local to the property, to ensure that a considered valuation is provided regarding the price, Making a firm formal offer and staying committed to it unless there is an adverse survey or legal issues.

This is in contrast to other firms that reduce the price at the last minute for no valid reason. Being a genuine cash buyer unlike some firms that turn out to be a broker or a lead generating company that merely sells customers’ details on to a third party. No fees of any kind even if a customer decides to pull out of the sale before the exchange of contracts. Valuations also are free of charge. No customer being asked to enter into an agreement, with severe penalties for breach of contract, which prevents them from selling to other buyers. Clients can pull out of selling to the House Buyer Bureau without obligation or costs, at any time in the run-up to contracts being exchanged.

The OFT has asked more than 50 quick house sale firms to provide information on their business models and practices. It also has asked for evidence from people with experience of the fast house sale market including valuation experts, estate agents, debt advisors and home owners after which it will decide whether it needs to take action to stamp out rogue traders.

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House Buyer Bureau calls for sector watchdog with teeth!

House Buyer Bureau, a leading provider in the quick house sale-market, believes that the OFT has missed the opportunity to properly crackdown on unscrupulous operators in the quick house sale sector.

Simon Blunt, House Buyer Bureau Director is disappointed that the OFT has chosen to opt for self-regulation of the industry.

However, Mr Blunt has welcomed the fact that the OFT has ‘fired a warning shot across the bows’ of rogue traders by opening formal investigations into three quick house sale firms for alleged unfair practices that may have led to some customers losing tens of thousands of pounds. 

Mr Blunt added: “While the study by the OFT is very welcome as there are ‘rogue traders’ in the industry that are misleading and taking advantage of customers, the OFT has not gone far enough.

“A system with teeth needs to be put in place to weed out those companies that give the sector a bad name. 

“We understand the OFT proposal is to form an association of house buying companies with a Code of Conduct with voluntary membership. While this is a step forward for the industry, it does not go far enough.

“House Buyer Bureau strongly believes that membership should be compulsory to all house buying companies that advertise ‘quick house sale’ services.

“We believe there is a need for an independent  ‘redress scheme’ with a public body, such as the Property Ombudsman, that has teeth to stamp out the unscrupulous behaviour of some that give the sector  a bad name and the power to  rule on disputes including making awards of compensation.”

The House Buyer Bureau has been concerned for some time about practices which is why it welcomed the OFT’s scrutiny of the sector.

Mr Blunt added: “The worst two practices are reducing the price offered, without any legitimate reason, at the point of sale, known as gazundering and locking in customers in unfair contracts, known as option agreements, for six months or more which prevents them, through severe penalties for breach of contract, from selling to anyone else for that period.”

All of the House Buyer Bureau’s formal offers are Subject to Contract and a RICS Survey. The survey is conducted by a Chartered Surveyor local to the property and the survey reports are available for inspection by its customers.

The House Buyer Bureau only will reduce a formal offer for a legitimate reason, for example, if the surveyor found the property had structural problems which had a detrimental effect on the value.

Earlier this year the OFT asked more than 50 quick house sale firms, including the House Buyer Bureau, to provide information on their business models and practices.

It wanted to build up a picture of the market and is inviting evidence from people with experience of this sector, including valuation experts, estate agents, debt advisors and home owners after which it will establish whether it needs to take action.

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Interview on Radio 5 Live about OFT report

Simon has a phone interview with BBC Radio 5 Live and explains how our business works and describes the types of clients we have – with reference to the auction house.

Simon also touches on the OFT report that was being produced when companies where asked what they thought of the new company and what our response was.

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House Buyer Bureau interview on Radio 4’s You and Yours

A sad and unfortunate story from a lady called Anne Baker who struggled with the sale of her property with a rogue trader.

Cavendish Elithorn from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) explains how they are going to investigate these companies.

Simon then explains our average buying criteria and highlights the negative decisions that rogue traders will make when ‘buying’ your property.

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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.

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Bargain cliff top house sold at auction

A seaside house where the next door property hit the national headlines after it collapsed into the sea – who would buy a house like this?

Well a brave buyer has today (Thurs July 11) with Tor Cottage, which had a guide price of £25,000, successfully sold at auction for £33,500.

Owner of Tor Cottage, Torquay, was quick house sale specialists House Buyer Bureau, which boasts it will buy “any residential property”.

Ridgemont House, which was just a stone’s throw from Tor Cottage near the edge of Oddicombe Cliffs, at St Marychurch, made the news after it collapsed into the sea due to a landslide.

Bidding for Tor Cottage, situated on Redcliffe Road, was fast and furious. The detached home with fantastic sea views, which in a different location would be worth £400,000, took just four minutes to sell with four people battling to buy.

House Buyer Bureau Sales Director Chris Hodgkinson said: “We are very pleased with how the auction went. We have yet to find out who has bought Tor Cottage, but the property does have potential for the right investor.”

He added: “Tor Cottage is in a wonderful location and in another part of the town could sell for many times the guide price. The property and its plot have stunning views of the Devon coastline; however it’s those sea views that have influenced the low guide price.

“There is clearly a degree of risk involved, but Tor Cottage and the land still may have potential as an investment opportunity.”

Mr Hodgkinson added: “It cannot be predicted if Mother Nature will be kind to Tor Cottage, but if ‘she’ is and Tor Cottage escapes any subsidence problems then it is possible this shrewd buyer could get a return on their investment.”

With superb balcony sea views and a cliff top position, the property went under the hammer in a Graham Penny Auctions sale.

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Graham Penny Auctions had received instruction from HBB to sell the property, which under different circumstances could fetch up to £400,000. The property, which has enviable sea views, is relatively close to the cliff edge and other neighbouring properties have experienced substantial subsidence in recent years.

Tor Cottage, which is located close to the Torquay Golf Course, comprises a reception hall leading to an open plan living room and dining room, a fully fitted 27ft x 20ft kitchen, four double bedrooms, bathroom and a study.

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House Buyer Bureau is one of the leading and oldest house buying firms in the UK. Its aim is to pay the best possible cash price with the minimum amount of stress in as little as seven days, or around the customer’s timescale.