What You Should Know

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The Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) – now the Competition and Markets Authority – have launched a study into the quick house sale market. House Buyer Bureau welcomed this review as we believe there are unethical firms in the market place taking advantage of consumers, especially vulnerable sellers.

House Buyer Bureau’s business practices are externally reviewed by Regulatory Risk auditors. We do not engage in any of the type of practices the OFT has identified.

What You Should Know

The Office of Fair Trading identified 6 practices which concerned them

Listed below are each of the 6 practices identified by the OFT, along with House Buyer Bureau’s comments and policy on each one. You and/or your Lawyer should seek written or published clarification from the quick house sale company you have approached and confirm their policy on each one:

1

Unclear fee structures, for example imposing an unexpected fee following an encouraging initial valuation, as a condition for progressing the service

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

Some firms offering quick sale services may make money out of charging fees which can be hidden.

OUR RESPONSE

House Buyer Bureau does not charge any kind of fees what so ever, even if you decide to pull out of selling to us before Exchange of Contracts. Valuations are also free of charge.

2

Reducing the price offered at the last minute, after someone is financially committed to the transaction

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

Some unscrupulous house buying firms may purposely reduce their offer, on the day before Exchange of Contracts, to make more money out of the transaction.

OUR RESPONSE

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).

3

Making misleading claims about the value of the property or the level of discount to be applied to the sale

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

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

OUR RESPONSE

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

4

Falsely claiming to be a cash buyer

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

Some firms may claim to be a cash buyer, when in reality they are a broker, or a lead generating company, who will sell your details onto a third party. You and/or your Lawyer should seek written or published clarification.

OUR RESPONSE

House Buyer Bureau is a genuine Cash Buyer. We are happy to provide evidence of funds to your Lawyer. You can also see over 500 examples of our transactions on our ‘What do we pay?’ page.

5

Inducing consumers to enter into agreements, that prevent them from selling to other buyers, with severe penalties for breach of contract

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

Many House Buying firms will tie you into a legally binding agreement e.g. an option agreement that basically blocks you 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 your ‘enquiry’ to a third party. Some firms may charge you thousands of pounds for being in breach of the contract.

OUR RESPONSE

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

6

Saying the property can be sold quickly, then taking a long time to conclude the sale

WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?

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

OUR RESPONSE

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 as little as 7 days.

We’re here to help

If you are talking to another firm offering ‘quick sale’ services, please download the Word document below and send it to the firm to clarify their policy on each and every point above, before you proceed with the sale of your property to them.

Download Word Document

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