Seller beware when selling your home

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If it sounds too good to be true and looks too good to be true, then the chances are it is too good to be true.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to selling your home.

There are no guarantees it is going to happen quickly or even for the price you hope so opting to do with a company which promises to shift your property within days and pay the money into your account to a time scale you decide it too good to be true.

The property market is looking more buoyant now than it has for a while but securing a sale is still a stressful time and can be made even more so with seemingly tempting offer by telesales or on-line companies who claim they will conclude a deal on your home in a matter of weeks, if not days. They make great play of a speedy deal, a fee-free service with no viewings and no commission.

So what could possibly wrong with such an offer?

Quite a lot. Almost certainly you won’t get the market value for your home with at least one company admitting that they will pay “up to 85%” and probably considerably less. It is generally accepted that if you deal with a quick sale company you will receive only 75% of the market value of your home.

A house is the most expensive purchase most of us make and we see it as an investment, a nest egg and a something which will appreciate in value. So naturally when it comes to selling we want to achieve the best possible price. This simply won’t happen if you rush into a deal with a quick-sale

company and there are many disappointed and disillusioned sellers out there to bear this out.

The Office of Fair Trading is on record as warning against dealing with this kind of business. They have highlighted various areas of concern including

• Unclear fee structure

• Reducing the price at the last minute

• Making misleading claims about a property’s value

• Falsely claiming to be a cash buyer

• Exclusive contracts, preventing sales to other buyers

The OFT has dealt with cases where one seller agreed to a price of £120,000 for his property but just days before the deal was signed, the company dropped the price to £80,000. It has details of another instance where the agreed price of £75,000 was reduced to just £40,000 the day before the

removal men were due.

The OFT has opened formal investigations into companies offering speedy sales to desperate homeowners. While it reports that some companies were offering a useful solution in a fair way, others have been exploiting customers and using unfair practices. It also found that many firms were unclear as to the type of service being offered – whether they were genuine case buyers, lead generators passing on sellers’ details to other quick-sale providers, or brokers who introduce sellers to third-party buyers.

It discovered that some firms persuaded sellers to sign long-term exclusivity agreements so they could hit sellers with severe penalties for breaching these contracts if they tried to sell to other buyers.

The moral clearly is to be patient, go with a reputable local selling agent who can advise you realistically about costs, selling prices and time frames.

One such is Wardhaugh , a long-established estate agent with experienced local knowledge and representation in Arbroath, Montrose, Forfar and Kirriemuir.

We’re all aware of the phrase “buyer beware. In this instance, it’s more a case of “seller beware.”