Selling your house always ranks as one of the most stressful life events we go through.
Unfortunately, it takes a long time too... The average house sale takes 25 weeks according to Zoopla. (And that’s just the average, so half take even longer...)
But there is a faster way: You can use a “Buy My House” company. But what are they, how do they work, and what's the catch?
“Buy My House” companies buy your home from you directly. You simply agree a sale with them, and they take care of the rest. There are no estate agents, no viewings, and no long waits. So it’s quicker, easier, and there's less uncertainty. But the downside is that you sell your house for less money.
Companies that buy your house go by lots of other names too. For example: House-buying companies, "we buy any house" companies, quick sale companies, cash house buyers, and more.
But don't worry – they all mean the same thing.
In this article:
- We’ll look at the 5 main pros & cons of companies that buy your house fast for cash.
- Then we'll help you decide if this route's right for you.
- Finally, we'll talk about the best companies that buy your house.
If you want to jump ahead and find out right now if this is the path for you, I designed a free quiz to help:
Let's start with the good. What are the benefits of companies that buy your house?
1. Pros of selling to a "buy my house" company
There are 3 main benefits you get with a company that buys your house:
Let's start with "speed".
Pro #1: Speed. "Buy my house" companies are fast
Using a house-buying company is the quickest way to sell your house. Getting a cash offer from them only takes 1-2 days. If you accept it, they can buy your home within 2-3 weeks. On average, selling with an estate agent takes nearly 10 times longer!
But how are companies who buy houses so much faster? Let's break it down...
When you sell your home, there are 2 main stages:
- Stage 1: Agreeing a sale. (Find a buyer and accept their offer.)
- Stage 2: Completing the sale. (Sort solicitors, mortgages, moving day etc.)
"Buy my house now" companies are faster because they simplify both stages. As an example, let's compare the first stage:
1. Agreeing a sale via estate agent:
- Choose estate agent
- List the property
- Wait for viewings
- Qualify buyers
- Negotiate offers
- Total Time: 5-14 weeks*
*Based on average figures released by Zoopla.
Now let's see how long it takes to agree a sale to a house-buying company.
2. Agreeing a sale to a house-buying company
- Call company
- Receive cash offer in 1-2 days
- Total Time: A few days
As you can see, using a company is the fastest way to sell your house. Why? Because you go directly to your buyer.
And it's not just the first stage that's faster. The 2nd one is too – "Completing the sale".
That's because you're selling directly to a cash buyer who buys houses for a living. They know exactly what they're doing, so things move much faster.
In fact, they can even buy your house in 7 days if you really need them to. Read more here: Can you sell a house in 7 days?
Here's how the standard timeframes compare:
So if you're literally thinking "Will someone just buy my house now!"... then a house-buying company could be your best bet. (You can find out in 1-2 minutes if you're a good fit: just take this short quiz we designed for you.)
House-buying companies aren't just about speed though. Let's look at the next "Pro".
Pro #2: Certainty. "Buy my house" companies offer certainty.
Unfortunately, estate agents only sell 51% of the properties they list. So nearly half of all estate agent sales end in failure.
How come? The normal house-selling process is just full of uncertainty at every stage:
- Will you get viewings?
- Will they make offers?
- Will the offers be high enough?
- Will your buyer change their mind?
- Will the survey be ok?
- Will they get their mortgage?
- Will the solicitors find any problems?
- Will the rest of the chain be ok?
There’s just so much that needs to go right for an estate agent sale to go through.
There’s just so much that needs to go right for an estate agent sale to go through.
If you decide to sell your house by auction then your chances improve. (Auctions sell about 70-80% of their listings.) It's higher, but still not a sure thing.
What about house-buying companies?
If you go to a "buy my house" company, you have a guaranteed sale. (Some things can go wrong, but they're very rare if you pick a genuine company.)
With companies that buy your house fast, you get certainty in 3 ways:
- You have your buyer. No waiting for viewings and hoping for offers. You have your buyer.
- They give real guarantees. The cash house buyer we recommend gives you a "Fixed Price Promise". It's there so you know their offer won't change. They're so serious that they'll even pay you a £1,000 penalty if it does. It gives you certainty about the amount you'll end up with.
- You're in control of timeframes. Estate agent sales are so frustrating because they can drag on indefinitely. But with a "buy my house" company, you're in control. You simply pick the moving dates you want. This means complete control and certainty over timeframes.
So companies that buy your house for cash are fast, and you get peace-of-mind. But what else?
Pro #3: Convenience. 9 ways "buy my house" companies make things easier
We've seen that selling with an estate agent can be slow and uncertain. But it's also inconvenient. There are just a lot of things you need to do.
To be clear, all the work is worth it for most sellers because you get the best price if you sell with an agent.
But if you're looking for an alternative, then "buy my house" companies make things much easier. Here are 9 ways:
* Note on contracts: Some house-buying companies will try and get you to sign a contract. But this is a sign they aren't genuine. If one asks you to sign a contract, head the other way.
So cash house buyers offer you a fast, certain, and convenient sale.
If this is what you want, we designed a free quiz to help you quickly see if they're right for you. If they are, I can connect you with a reputable company I've personally vetted and trust:
So we've looked at the "Pros" of house-buying companies. But everyone wants to sell their house quickly, and with certainty and convenience... so why doesn't everyone use them? Let's have a look at the downsides.
2. Cons of selling to a "buy my house" company
There are 2 downsides of selling to a house-buying company:
- You get a lower price for your home.
- Lack of regulation means you have to watch out for dodgy companies. (Don't worry, we can help with this.)
Let's start with the big one: price.
Con #1: Price. This is the most expensive way to sell.
Selling to a "buy my house" company is the most expensive way to sell your house.
They don't charge any fees though (in fact, they even cover your legal costs)...
But they buy your home for less than its full value. This means you get less money from your sale overall.
How much less?
They’ll offer around 80% of your home’s full value on average.
There are a few cost savings you make, but you still end up with less than if you sold via an estate agent.
Why do house-buying companies pay a lower price?
To understand this, it's worth knowing how their business model works. If you accept their offer and sell to them, this is what they do next:
- They step into your shoes as the new seller.
- They go through the long selling process you're hoping to avoid!
- And they hope to sell the property for its full value.
If they succeed, they get enough cash back to cover their costs and make a profit.
So they get a profit, and you get the quick, certain sale you wanted. So it's a win-win... it just comes with a hefty price tag.
Why don't they pay more?
It seems like "buy my house for cash" companies must be making LOADS of money. After all, a 20% discount on a house is tens of thousands of pounds!
So why hasn't competition pushed up the amount they pay?
Well, it has. In the past, companies that buy houses used to offer even less. But as more and more of them entered the market, companies had to pay more to stay competitive.
Now, the price is at a level where they can't really afford to pay any more. This is why you don't find any genuine companies paying more than about 80%. You can learn more here about how much companies who buy your house for cash actually pay.
So let's say you are willing to take a lower price for the quick, easy sale... what else do you need to be aware of?
Con #2. Unregulated. There are lots of dodgy companies
Unfortunately, "buy my house" companies aren't regulated.
Lots are members of The Property Ombudsman, and this sounds like a good thing. But the Ombudsman can't take any serious action against bad companies.
The National Association of Property Buyers is similar. If a company mistreats you, the NAPB can only give you information. They aren't a redress scheme or a regulator.
So the Ombudsman and NAPB give the illusion of safety, but no significant protection. And because "buy my house" companies aren't regulated, lots of dodgy ones have sprung up.
It's not just dodgy little companies though...
Lots of the biggest ones resort to unethical practices too. Why? Because it's profitable for them to try and rip people off. And no regulation means no deterrent.
Try not to worry too much though...
In the next 2 minutes, I'll give you 2 ways to avoid the bad guys altogether.
Option 1. Use a company we trust.
I've been in and around the "buy my house" industry for over 10 years. In that time I've seen nearly all the major players at work.
There are only a couple of companies I really trust. I can put you in touch in the next 2 minutes if you want to speak with one.
First, take this short quiz to see if you're a fit. If you are, you can connect with them directly from your quiz results page.
Option 2. Learn the scams to watch out for.
These are the 5 most-used scams:
- Last-minute price drops
- Mis-selling of option agreements
- Misleading advertising
- Untraceable directors
- Fake online "buy my house" reviews (Learn more: Can I trust house-buying company reviews?)
I've written an in-depth article showing how to spot (and avoid) each one. You can read it here: Exposing The Top 5 "We Buy Any House" Scams (And How To Avoid Them).
Now you know the 5 pros and cons, you can decide if a house-buying company is a good fit for you. In the next section, I'll walk you through how to decide.
If you want the answer the easy way in the next 2 minutes, this quiz can help.
3. Should I use a "buy my house" company?
Let's recap what we've learned so far, then work out if a house-buying company is right for you.
- Pros: Companies that buy your house have 3 main benefits over estate agents: You get a fast sale. There's total certainty. And it's much more convenient.
- Cons: The downside is that you get a lower price. Usually, it's around 80% of your home's full value. You need to watch out for dodgy companies too. You should be fine if you know how to spot scams though (or if you get a recommendation).
So how do you decide if it's worth selling your house to a "buy my house" company?
I've helped thousands of sellers make this decision over the years. There are 3 main signs that a house-buying company's a good fit for you:
- Priorities. A quick, certain sale is more important to you than getting the highest price possible.
- Speed. You want (or need) the deal done within 8 weeks.
- Price. You're able (and willing) to work with a lower selling price. (Usually about 20% less.)
If this describes you, you're probably a good fit. To confirm it, take the free quiz below. From there, I can connect you with a leading "buy my house" company I know and trust. They can make you a no-obligation offer within 1-2 days.
But what if the 3 points above don't describe you exactly? What are the alternatives?
3.1 Alternatives to "buy my house" companies
Let's work through the 3 points above. We'll cover the reasons a house-buying company might not be a fit for you:
Reason #1: I value price over speed.
You almost always need to accept a lower price to get a quick, certain sale. I call this the "Price-Time Tradeoff" of property sales:
If you can’t afford to accept a lower price (or just don’t want to), an estate agent is probably the best option.
Auction can work in some circumstances. Sometimes, you can get a higher price at auction than with an estate agent. It depends on your property. Take our quiz to see if auction's right for you.
Reason #2. I don't need a sale within 8 weeks.
If you want a quick, easy sale but have more than 8 weeks, auction can be an option. It's a good middle-ground between estate agents and "buy my house" companies:
- Auctions are much faster than estate agents...
- And they'll get you a higher price than a company who buys your house will offer.
Reason #3. I can't compromise on the price.
To sell by estate agent or to a house-buying company, you need to take a significant hit on the price.
If you can't afford to do that (or don't want to), then estate agents are likely your best option.
If you’re not a good fit for auction, finding someone to buy your house quickly and for a good price is tough. I've put this together to try and help you sell quickly with an estate agent though: My 9 best tips on how to sell your house fast for the best price.
Now let's imagine a house-buying company is right for you. Which one should you use?
4. Who is the best "buy my house" company?
In the UK there are over 200 companies that buy your house online. If you head to Google, you'll easily find 100 websites in the next 5 minutes.
The choice is overwhelming, and because regulation is so poor, it's hard to find a genuine one.
4.1 Contact my recommended house-buying company
I've worked in and around the "quick sale" industry for over 10 years, and know nearly all the major players.
If you’re thinking about a fast sale, the first thing is to find out if this is the right option.
I designed this 60-second quiz to help you do just that.
If a "buy my house" company is the right option, I'll introduce you to the company I know and trust on your quiz results page.
Hit the button below to start, and I'll see you there. Thanks for reading!
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert