Property news: Use common sense

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The recession is increasingly leaving desperate sellers vulnerable to quick-sell property companies that offer poor valuations, according to estate agents.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has reported a sharp rise in the number of property companies offering sellers a quick sale service. The organisation is urging sellers to use common sense, and think through the risks of using this kind of service to sell their home.

Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA, said: “Our members have noticed a significant increase in the number of companies purporting to offer cash purchases on properties in whatever condition within 24 hours.

“While this might sound like a great solution for people looking to sell their property in a hurry, we are finding that it is often families who are in desperate financial circumstances which are targeted through website advertising and a door-to-door sales approach.

“The tough economic conditions mean that in some cases sellers are pressurised into making quick decisions to sell their property. They sign the contract at an agreed price only to find that they are offered a vastly reduced rate just before the sale. In a highly pressurised situation it is understandable that many people are following the advice of quick sell services to accept these last-minute lower offers.

“But I would urge anyone thinking of using this kind of service to first consult their local NAEA estate agent or consider using a National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers accredited auction house which are far better regulated and will guarantee a fair market rate for the property.”

NAEA has four key tips to remember when trying to sell your property without the risks:

Explore all sale options – Don’t get pressurised into making a sale, no matter how desperate the circumstances. In many cases, quick-sale services incentivise sellers by covering all legal fees, but this is negated by the low cash price offered for the property itself. Speak to your local NAEA estate agent or NAVA auction house to find out about how they could assist with the sale of your property.

Remember your cancellation rights – If you have already signed up to a quick sell service, remember that you are still legally within your rights to back out under the ‘cooling off period’. Under the ‘Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008’ you can cancel the contract within the first seven days. Don’t be pressured into making a decision.

Speak to Citizens Advice – Buying or selling a home is a long and complicated process and it is important to know how to make the right choices. If you’re worried about your finances and need help in understanding the implications of choosing to sell your house then you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or use their online portal with pages dedicated to selling your home: www.adviceguide.org.uk

Research market value – Quick sell services are known to offer prices at below the market value for properties, so if you are thinking of selling your home, make sure you receive a professional valuation from an NAEA member agent, and do your own research about property prices in your area. You can use a property portal such as PropertyLive.co.uk to do this.