If you’re thinking about selling to a house buying company, you probably have a lot of questions. That’s why I created this ultimate guide as your one stop shop to help you navigate the fast house sale industry!
Let’s start with the most important question…what are house-buying companies?
House buying companies buy homes directly from sellers. They pay less than market value but offer a much faster and more certain way to sell your house compared with estate agents or property auctions. House buying companies are willing to buy any property, even if it has issues or is in poor condition.
I’ve personally worked in and around the house buying industry for over a decade. In that time, I’ve worked with (or competed against) dozens of these companies, including all the main players.
This experience has given me a unique insight into the industry. As a result, I’ve been able to help thousands of homeowners navigate the important decision of whether they should sell to a house buying company. And I want to help you too…
In this article, I set out my honest advice and reveal the truth about selling your home to a house buying company. If you’re considering using this service, I think you’ll find this ultimate guide really helpful.
If you want to cut right to the chase and find out whether a house buying company is right for you, I've designed a short quiz. Hit the link below to get started:
1. House Buying Company vs Estate Agent Sale: what’s the difference?
Selling to a house-buying company is a faster and more reliable way to sell a property than selling with an estate agent. However, speed and certainty come at a cost. You will get significantly less for your property than you’d get selling through a good local estate agent.
Let’s briefly look at the main differences in more detail:
- Speed. Selling to a house buying company is the fastest way to sell your house. You can complete in as little as 2-3 weeks, whereas it takes the average homeowner nearly 6 months to sell with an estate agent!
- Certainty. You will also have a guaranteed sale if you sell to a house buying company. This level of certainty is unmatched by estate agents, who only manage to sell around 51% of the properties they put to market. This is partly due to the fact that a whopping 31% of all house sales fall through at least once before completion!
- Price. The biggest downside of selling to a house buying company is the price. A genuine, well-funded house buying company will offer in the region of 78-83% of your property’s market value. If getting the best price possible is most important to you, you should sell through a good local estate agent.
I’ve put together a table showing a few more of the differences between selling to a house buying company vs selling with an estate agent.
If you pick the right company, selling to a house buying company will be the quickest, easiest, and most certain house sale you’ll ever have.
So, how can house-buying companies buy your house so quickly…?
2. How do house buying companies work so quickly?
When traditional house sales can take a year or longer, it seems implausible to think there's a solution that only takes a couple of weeks.
But there are some key changes genuine, well-funded house-buying companies make that enable them to "short-circuit" the usual home-buying process and buy in unrivalled timeframes.
Here are some of the reasons why a home buying company can offer you a fast, certain sale:
- They're your buyer, so there's no waiting on an estate agent to find you one (and no risks of a buyer pulling out).
- They offer quickly, meaning you can have a price within 24-48 hours.
- They have their financing ready, so there's no waiting on mortgage lenders.
- They use the best solicitors, who are proactive and can save weeks.
- They have an experienced team, so they'll often take out insurance policies to help avoid many of the common problems that slow down traditional sales.
Keep in mind that not every home buying company will be able to act this quickly, despite making claims to suggest otherwise.
Many will need to apply for finance (which won’t always be guaranteed). Others pose as property buying companies but are actually brokers. This means they’ll try and find a buyer for your home, which can take months, instead of buying from you directly.
Do you want or need a fast, certain house sale? Take this quiz to see if a house buying company is right for you. If it is, I'll introduce you to the company I trust the most and recommend for my readers.
3. What are the pros and cons of selling to a house buying company?
Selling to a house buying company can be a great option if you value speed, certainty, and convenience over getting the best price for your property. You can save months of stress and disappointment that are common with estate agent sales. However, there are downsides which mean this selling method is not for everyone.
The two main pros of selling to a house buying company (aka “cash house buyers”, “property buying companies” and “we buy any house companies”) are:
- A fast house sale. Selling to a house buying company is the fastest way to sell your house. It’s much quicker than selling through an estate agent or by auction. You can have your sale done in as little as 2-3 weeks, but the timeframes are totally flexible. This means you can set the completion date to suit your plans.
- A certain house sale. Selling to a house buying company offers complete certainty. You will have a guaranteed sale if you accept their offer (compared with a 70-80% success rate for auctions, and only a 51% success rate for estate agents).
There are many other advantages to selling your home to a house buying company. You can read all about them in my article “Is It Worth Selling Your House to a House-Buying Company? [Pros & Cons]”.
The two main downsides of selling to a house buying company are:
- Low sale price. House buying companies offer substantially less than the market value. Typically, an offer from a genuine house buying company will be around 78-83% of your home’s value.
- Lack of regulation. Property buying companies are not regulated. As a result, there are lots of disreputable companies operating unethically with no consequences.
Fortunately, we can help introduce you to a trusted house buying company that is genuine and doesn’t use any unethical tactics.
If you're thinking about a fast sale, the first thing you need to do is find out whether this is really the right option for you...
I designed a free quiz to help you do just that.
If a house buying company is the right option, I’ll introduce you to the company I trust on your quiz results page. Hit the button below to get started…
4. Why do people use house buying companies?
People often choose to sell their house quickly when time is more important to them than getting the best price. For example, they may be repairing a broken chain, relocating for work, or downsizing.
It’s a common misconception that homeowners use "buy my house" companies because they’re desperate.
I’ve been working in and around the fast house sale industry for over a decade. Based on my experience, here are the most common reasons people use property buying companies:
- Retirement or downsizing.
- Repair a broken house chain.
- Sell an inherited property.
- Relocating or emigrating.
- Unwanted investment property.
I don’t recommend selling your property to a house buying company if you’re in financial difficulties. Selling your biggest financial asset for a discount is the last thing you want to be doing.
Whenever I've spoken with homeowners in a sticky financial spot, I've always tried to help them find other solutions.
Ideally, you want to sell your house for the best price possible.
If you need more time to sell, you can often negotiate with your mortgage lender. Learn more here: MoneyHelper: Mortgage arrears or problems paying your mortgage.
5. Is a house buying company right for me?
A house buying company will not be the right home selling method for everyone. In fact, based on my experience in the industry, I would estimate that only around 0.2% of all houses are sold this way.
In today’s property market, most people simply can’t afford to take a 17-23% discount on their sale price.
However, if your property doesn’t have a very large mortgage against it and you can afford to sell for a discount, it can be the best answer to "how to sell your house quickly". Especially if you feel that time and convenience are perhaps more valuable to you than getting the highest price.
The good news is you can find out in less than 2-minutes if a house buying company is right for you.
Simply take the quiz I’ve designed for you below.
If a house buying company seems like the right option, I can introduce you to the company I personally recommend, and the only one I trust.
I’ll also suggest alternative selling methods that could be better suited.
Hit the button below to get started:
5.1 Exception to the rule: problem properties
If you feel like a house buying company could be the right option for you, there’s one big caveat I’d add.
If you are trying to sell a “problem property”, I would usually not recommend selling it to a house-buying company.
For you, it could mean taking a “double-whammy” on the price you receive:
- You could take a hit on the price because of the issue…
- And you will take another hit by selling it to a house buying company.
So, if you want to sell your “problem property”, rather than wait to fix any issues, traditional auction is usually the way to go. You’ll likely get 20% more than selling to a house buying company.
6. How to find the best house buying company?
I get calls on a weekly basis from home sellers who’ve picked the wrong house buying company and fallen victim to one of the many unethical tactics these companies use on their customers. (More on this later…)
Unfortunately, this is a really easy trap to fall into.
If you want to find the best house buying company, don’t risk looking for one on Google or other search engines. It’s extremely difficult to pick the genuine companies out from all the rest.
When you look on the google search page, it is impossible to decipher which companies are reliable and trustworthy. All of them make similar promises on their websites, but only a select few actually deliver on those promises.
You also need to be careful of websites that list the “top house buying companies” too, as they usually have ulterior motives, or they are based on reviews. As we’ll learn later, you cannot rely on house buying company reviews (many use fake reviews or remove bad reviews to manipulate their online presence).
So, it’s really hard to find a genuine house buying company.
That’s where we come in…
I’ve got extensive experience in this industry, having been involved in and around the property buying world for over a decade. I’ve had my own house buying company, and have helped thousands of readers navigate the good, bad and ugly of this industry.
I can connect you with my #1 trusted house buying company, so you can have complete peace-of-mind knowing you’re dealing with a genuine, reliable company.
All you need to do is take this 2-minute quiz to find out if a house buying company is right for you. If it is, I’ll introduce you to the most reputable company in the industry, and you can have a genuine cash offer within 24-48 hours.
6.1 What makes a good house-buying company?
If you’re doing your own research, make sure to follow these top tips to help you pick a genuine house buying company:
- Make sure their offer is guarantee-backed.
- Never sign anything (such as “option agreements” or “purchase agreements”).
- Get proof of funds when they make their offer.
- Request the survey is done at the start of the process.
- Request exchange of contracts asap.
My main tip would be to get a recommendation from someone you can trust. I’ve worked in and around the house-buying industry since 2013, and I know most of the major players. There’s one house buying company I recommend that are trustworthy and deliver on their promises. They have a faultless track-record with our readers, and I can connect you with them too.
All you need to do is take this short quiz to see if you’re a good fit. If you are, I can introduce you to my trusted house buying company on your results page.
7. How much do house buying companies pay?
Genuine, well-funded house buying companies usually offer about 78-83% of the market value for your home. This is less than you’d get selling with an estate agent, but you’ll make cost savings which should be factored in. They'll cover your legal fees and estate agent costs, but it's still a significant hit on the price.
In some instances, house buying companies may be able to offer you slightly more than 80% of the market value. In the following circumstances, the company will receive a “stamp duty exemption” (saving 3-5% in costs), which they can pass on to you in the form of a higher offer:
- If you’re buying a new build;
- If they’re repairing a chain;
- If they’re buying from the personal representatives as part of the sale of an inherited property; and
- If you’re relocating for work.
However, if a house buying company claims they can buy your property for 90-100% of its market value, they are simply not telling the truth.
Property buying companies make their profit by buying your home below market value. They then step into your shoes as the new owner and try to sell it for the full market value.
They incur a lot of costs in the process. So, they must buy at around 78-83% of market value to cover their costs and make a profit.
This is why you won’t find a genuine company who’s able to offer more than that. Especially in the current market where prices are beginning to fall.
8. How quickly can house buying companies buy my house?
A genuine, well-funded house buying company can buy your house in as little as 2-3 weeks. It’s possible for them to purchase your home even faster than that in some circumstances. Selling directly to a house buying company is faster than selling by auction or with an estate agent.
One of the benefits of selling to a house buying company is you can choose the completion date that suits you.
Whether it is 14 days or 2 months, selling to a reputable house buying company will still be the fastest, easiest, and most certain sale you can achieve.
9. Who is the best house buying company?
There are over 200 house buying companies operating in the UK, but only a handful of those are genuine, well-funded companies. Even fewer are reputable and deliver on their promises. Because the industry is so poorly regulated, it’s difficult to find a reliable company that isn’t full of empty promises and unethical tactics.
Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you finding a house buying company you can rely on…
I’ve personally worked in and around the property buying industry for over 10 years, and I know nearly all the major players.
Based on my experience, there’s one company who are head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve worked with them for over 8 years because of the service levels they deliver to my readers. They keep their promises and provide an excellent level of service.
If you’re considering a fast sale, the first thing you need to do is find out whether this is really the right option for you…
I have designed a short quiz to help you do just that.
If a house buying company is the right option for you, I’ll introduce you to the company I know and trust on your quiz results page.
Simply hit the button below to get started.
10. Are house buying companies regulated?
House buying companies do not have a good reputation and, according to our survey, 58% of participants thought they were “not trustworthy at all”. This is largely thanks to many of the big players adopting unethical tactics (with no consequences).
So, are house buying companies legit?
Only a handful of house-buying companies are legitimate. Because the industry is unregulated, it can be difficult to find a genuine, trustworthy company. Reputable house-buying companies do provide a legitimate service though, offering a much faster and more certain alternative to estate agent sales and auctions.
Many house-buying companies display the Property Ombudsman badges or National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) badges. These organisations have no regulatory powers though.
This is the extent of each of their powers:
- The Property Ombudsman: "The Ombudsman is not a regulator and does not have the authority to take regulatory or legal action against an agent, impose fines or dictate the way agents conduct their business." - source
- The National Association of Property Buyers: "The NAPB is not in itself a redress scheme or regulator, it can provide information to anybody who feels that they have been unfairly treated." - source
While the Ombudsman and NAPB are well-meaning, unfortunately they’re only able to give an illusion of safety, but no real protection.
This makes it even more important to pick a reliable, trustworthy, and reputable house buying company. I can put you in contact with one of the largest property buying companies in the country, and the only one I personally trust.
Take this 60-second quiz to see if you’re a good fit for a home buying company, and I’ll introduce you to my #1 recommended company on your quiz results page.
Now we know that house-buying companies aren’t regulated, let’s uncover the scams you should be looking out for…
11. House buying company scams to look out for.
The house-buying industry has a bad reputation because so many unethical companies exploit the lack of regulation to take advantage of home sellers.
I've seen just about every trick in the book over the years, and I want to share them with you here to help you avoid them.
Here are the most common “we buy any house” scams to look out for:
- Reducing their offer at the last minute. The price you accept at the start of the process means nothing, because it can be changed at any time, and for any reason (until exchange of contracts). Many dodgy property buying companies employ this tactic and will drop their offer by thousands at the last minute.
- Mis-selling “option agreements” and “purchase agreements” as cash offers. Many property buying companies will act as if they’re buying your house for cash, when in fact they’re essentially acting as an overpriced estate agent sourcing a buyer for your property. This means you get the downsides of selling to a house buying company (low price) whilst also getting the downsides of selling to an estate agent (a long, drawn-out sale). To avoid getting tied up in an option or purchase agreement, never sign anything with a house buying company.
- False advertising and misleading statements. There are so many examples of false advertising in this industry. One of the most common is claiming you can have both a fast sale and a top price (when the reality is you must pick one or the other). Many home sellers make major financial decisions based on this misinformation, which is truly shocking.
- Manipulating online reviews. Disappointingly, you cannot rely on online reviews to find a genuine house buying company. So many house buying companies thrive by manipulating reviews or even paying customers to remove bad ones! You can read more on this below…
These are some pretty serious scams which, if ignored, can have big consequences.
If you want to avoid the scams, I can offer you a helping hand.
I've designed a free quiz to help you figure out if a house-buying company is right for you.
If it is, I'll put you in touch with a scam-free company if you want to get a no-obligation cash offer. You can have complete peace-of-mind knowing you're dealing with a genuine, reliable house-buying company.
If you want to save headaches, worry, and time, take the quiz now to get started.
12. Can you trust house buying company reviews?
Unfortunately, you cannot trust online reviews for house-buying companies. Online review-tampering is rife, meaning many of the worst companies appear to have great feedback. In reality, many of the companies post fake reviews, campaign for bad reviews to be removed or even pay customers themselves to take them down.
Property buying companies manipulate their online reviews in four main ways:
- Companies post fake positive reviews for themselves to drown out the bad ones and bring up their average rating.
- Shockingly, there is evidence that some will pay disgruntled customers to remove negative reviews.
- When the customer doesn’t accept payment, they contact the review websites and campaign for the bad feedback to be removed.
- Some property buying companies also seem to farm for reviews early in the process (before they drop the price, or communication disappears, and delays set in).
Here’s just one of many examples exposing the review-tampering tactics…
13. Do I have to pay any fees if I sell to a house buying company?
Most house-buying companies do not charge any fees if you use their service. Many companies will also pay your legal fees if you use their recommended solicitors. You should avoid any house buying company that asks for an upfront payment, charges for a valuation, or charges withdrawal or cancellation fees.
You can read more about the hidden costs and fees to look out for in my article “Inside Scoop: How Much Do House Buying Companies Really Pay for Your Home?”.
The reputable house buying company I recommend do not charge any fees and will even pay your legal costs.
You can get a free, no-obligation cash offer from my recommended house buying company. Simply take this free quiz to see if a home buying company is the right selling method for you. If it is, you can connect directly with the company I know and trust.
14. Is it worth using a house buying company?
Hopefully you now understand the ins and outs of the property buying industry, the scams to look out for and the pros and cons of using this alternative selling method.
House buying companies are the fastest way to sell your house. They offer an easy, certain, and hassle-free house sale that can be completed in an unmatched timeframe.
You avoid the stress of a traditional home sale, meaning you can wave goodbye to viewings, property chains, unqualified buyers, and estate agents.
BUT property buying companies are not for everyone.
House buying companies offer substantially less than the market value. Typically, you should expect to sell your house for 17-23% less than its full value. Some home sellers feel the compromise is worthwhile for the quick, certain sale. If you prioritise your time, or you don’t want to miss out on your dream home after your house chain has fallen through, it can be a great option.
It is important to understand your priorities when working out the best selling method for you.
If your main priority is a fast sale, the first thing you need to do is find out whether a house buying company is the right selling method for you…
I have designed a free, 60-second quiz to help you do just that.
If a house buying company is the right option, I’ll introduce you to the company I know and trust on your quiz results page.
Thanks for reading, and hit the button below to get started.
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert