We Buy Any House Scams can be challenging to recognise when you’re in a rush to sell your home.
So-called we buy any house scams are on the rise. Unscrupulous companies are involved in a range of dishonest practices aimed at cheating homeowners out of the actual value of their homes.
Selling a house to one of these house buyers can be a great idea. But you need to know that you’re dealing with a reputable, trustworthy property buyer that won’t rip you off.
At Flying Homes, we’re passionate about the ‘quick sale firms we’ve associated with. That’s why we’ve compiled a few questions to ask yourself when looking for a service you can trust.
Is the house buying company legitimate?
Fraudsters and unscrupulous operators will go to enormous lengths to earn the trust of homeowners. They’ll create glossy websites, believable social media accounts, and a professional brand to fool you into thinking they’re trustworthy.
Don’t let these factors cloud your judgment. Before you even approach a “we buy any house” company, check the Internet for scams, such as fake customer reviews and testimonials. A big, established firm should have several decent reviews on Google and sites like Trust Pilot, and they won’t all be five stars!
The next thing to check is the company address, quickly done by searching through company records or Internet listings. And you can verify the business is genuine by checking Property Ombudsman or Companies House.
How fast can they sell your home?
Be wary of companies that promise to buy your home within seven days. They mean that they agree to an offer within seven days, not finalise the purchase, although possible. A timescale nearer 28 days is more realistic. Which company is the fastest house buyer? Who knows, it probably varies from the buyer and sellers circumstances at the time.
Reach out to people on forums and discussion boards who’ve dealt with the company. How long did the company take to sell their property? Did the firm stick to its promises on timescales? Many “we buy any house” scams predicate tying people into house buying contracts with false promises.
Is the initial offer surprisingly high? Maybe it’s a scam!
One common scam involves house buying organisations offering an attractive price at the beginning of the process. Then just before the purchase completes, the firm suddenly reduces its offer to reflect “changing circumstances” – ‘the last-minute price drop’ scenario. And because the buyer needs a fast house sale, they can’t go anywhere else.
Do a little research on house prices. If one of these fast house buyers offers total market value for your property, proceed with caution.
Does the agreement include a “lockout” clause?
A “lockout” clause is something that stops you from dealing with other companies. So, if you agree to sell your home to a house buying company, you can’t then decide to take your business elsewhere. Or, if you can, you’re required to pay a hefty release fee.
If a quick sale firm requires you to sign a “lockout” agreement, don’t. Reputable firms offer fair prices and reliable service. They’re confident that they can deliver, so they don’t need or want to lock you into an agreement at the very beginning of the process. If a company does like this, it’s because they know you’ll find something better somewhere else.
Were you asked for upfront payments?
Never sell your home to a house buyer that asks for upfront payments. Companies that do this are probably involved in “we buy any house” scams. It would be best if you didn’t have to pay for a valuation — this is something any reputable house buyer would do.
A trustworthy house buying firm will make a modest profit by selling your house — not by squeezing fees and upfront payments from homeowners at the beginning of the process.