There could be any number of reasons why you need a fast house sale. Whether it’s due to divorce or separation, a need to free-up cash in your property, selling an inherited property or something else (such as a chain breaking down if you’re already on the market), a quick house sale can save you a lot of headaches. With the help of property experts Springbok Properties, let’s explore your options for a fast and easy sale in more detail.
How do you complete a house sale quickly?
There are various options available to you and each should be considered carefully because they all have their pros and cons. Let’s look at two of the popular options:
1. Estate agent
An estate agent is the route most people will take, but it isn’t always suitable for those that want to sell a house quickly. That’s because your buyer could be arranging a mortgage, caught up in a fragile chain, or having trouble getting their solicitor to speed up. Equally, there’s a chance that your property could be on the market with little or no interest from buyers whilst time is ticking by.
Cash buying companies
A cash buying company is a property buying business that will quickly buy your home at a discounted price. The result is that you can sell your house fast without the hassle you’d have if you sold to a private buyer in a chain.
Can you sell a house in 30 days?
It is possible to sell a property in just 30 days if you use a cash buyer. As they’ll often be using their own money, no time is wasted sorting out mortgages and they won’t be in a chain.
How long will a sale take?
Each cash buying company will achieve a sale within a certain period, depending upon their workload. Some may take longer than others so it’s best to contact them individually and find out. Importantly, their timeframe should match your requirements, so don’t feel pressured if you need a little more time and want to move later than the (for example) 30 days they claim.
How much is my house worth?
There really isn’t a straightforward answer to this one. A fair market value is the price that a buyer would be willing to pay. You could look online at houses that have sold in your area and gauge the price, but keep in mind that all homes are different. For example, some may have a garage, a larger garden, a new roof, kitchen, bathroom, or anything else that could affect the perceived value.
The only true way to know the price of a property is to have a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) valuation. This is a professional assessment of the market value of property or land and takes into account a number of factors. Typically, a RICS valuation is conducted for mortgage purposes, or as part of a building survey to check that a property is a good investment. It isn’t cheap, with prices for a survey starting at around £500, but their valuation is usually valid for three months.
How much will I get?
This is very much a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question because it will vary massively depending on the cash buying company that you choose and how quickly you want to sell. You’ll be giving up some of the equity in order to get a fast sale, but the figure you do get can be anywhere from 60% up to 85% of the property’s market value. The better cash buyers will offer you more and will also confirm their figure in writing so that it’s fixed and won’t go down.
How do I get my money?
When the sale has been completed, the cash buying company will usually put the money into your bank account. Again, this varies between different companies so it’s always best to confirm how you’ll be receiving the cash from your property.
What should I look for in a cash buying company?
For your own security, check that the company is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) and The Property Ombudsman. This will give you independent help if there’s a dispute and also means that they have to abide by a code of conduct, so the service you’ll get is likely to be exemplary.
Anything else I should know when choosing a fast house sale company?
There are a few things that you can do for your own piece of mind. These include:
Speak to a few cash buying companies
All property buying and fast sale companies are different so find out what they each have to offer and if it suits your situation.
Get everything in writing
This way, you can recheck any details and you’ll have evidence of the price that was offered to you for your property.
Carefully read the paperwork
Some companies will hide important details in the small print, so don’t sign until you’re comfortable with the terms and conditions.
Make sure the offer they give you for your property is fixed
It’s not uncommon for some less scrupulous companies to reduce their offer at the last minute, leaving you with little choice but to accept.
Check out their feedback online
There are review websites (such as allAgents) that collate feedback on estate agents and fast sale cash buyers. Have a look at the comments left by people like you to see how they were treated and if they received a good service.
The first step is to find out if they have one. If they’re reluctant to answer it should be a big warning sign to you. A respectable company will put customer service at the top of their priority list and will be happy to tell you what happens if you’re unhappy.
Find out where a cash buying company will advertise your property. In todays’ world it’s not enough to put an ad I the local newspaper and hope for the best. People move all over the country so they look online. To get a sale sooner rather than later, you’ll want your house to be seen on local and national websites so that it reaches the biggest audience possible and gets lots of interest. Ask if they’re on the big online sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as specialist and local websites that are suitable for your property.
As we mention and explain later, the amount that a fast sale company will offer to you for your property will depend upon the company. However, you should ask how they reach the valuation. Some of the most reliable cash buying companies will use independent valuations to decide on a figure and show you the evidence that has enabled them to decide on that number. Meanwhile, others may not use such respected methods and flatter you with a higher offer on the phone; only to reduce it when they visit your property. It’s essential to ensure that the valuation you get is a ‘no obligation’ valuation; meaning you’re not forced to sell to that company just because they visited and valued it.
You may also want to ask about the timescales involved. Cash buying companies proudly boast that sales are conducted within a short period, but make sure that the timescale suits you. There’s no need to be rushed because you have what they want; a property.
One man band
There are some ‘one man bands’ that pretend to be cash buying companies. The risk you face with these are only having one person to deal with enquiries, viewings, and completions; instead of a team dedicated to each stage as you’d get with the larger cash buying companies. Also, if you are dealing with a ‘one man band’, there’s a risk for you that they won’t have the money they’re offering. If they do, it could be that they’re sorting out a loan or mortgage. At the very worst, they may not have any capital and are trying to exploit homeowners that are trying to quickly release some equity. Wading through all of this takes time and holds up your sale; not what you need when you want a quick sale.
Also find out if the cash buying company is available around the clock. Selling a property can be an emotional and stressful time so if you’ve questions, you want them to be answered, and that won’t always be between 9am and 5pm. Having a 24-hour service makes the process easier for you, especially if you also work business hours, or work shifts and need to talk late at night or early in the morning.
That’s a quick overview of cash buying companies, but perhaps you’ve got other questions about selling your house quickly.
Fees when selling a property
Don’t overlook fees that are hidden in the small fees (such as valuation fees) because these could have a big impact on your finances. Genuine and reputable cash buying companies won’t charge you a fee when they value your property or when you sell to them, but some could, so do check carefully.
Estate agents and online agents vary on whether or not they charge fees, and if they do it could be a fixed price or a percentage of the sale price. Either way, make sure you aren’t paying a fee to get a fast sale. Remember that there are sums that you’ll need to do if you’re selling to a cash buying company to work out if the money you’ll get is the amount you need.
Other fees to consider are those imposed by the government; not estate agents or fast sale specialists.
Capital Gains Tax
You’ve probably heard of Capital Gains Tax (also known as CGT) but don’t worry because you won’t have to pay CGT if all of these three points apply to you:
- you’ve lived in the property as your main home for all the time you’ve owned it
- you have not let out part of it out, nor used part of it for business
- the grounds (including the buildings) are smaller than 5,000 square metres (this is about an acre)
If these three do apply, you automatically get a tax relief called Private Residence Relief.
These can be up to £1,000 and are necessary to make sure everything is completed legally and registered appropriately. Sometimes, cash buying companies include conveyancing so it won’t be an extra cost for you, but it’s always best to check.
Energy Performance Certificate
Costing anywhere between £35 to £150 plus VAT, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a summary of the energy efficiency of a building. It rates a property between A – G and will include advice on how to move into a more economic category.
Whether you hire a van and do it yourself, hire a ‘man with a van’ to help, or use a removal firm, there will be fees involved in moving out of your property. Keep this in mind when you’re doing your sums because it’s often overlooked.
I’ve got sitting tenants – can I still sell my house?
This isn’t straightforward and there are lots of things to consider.
If you’re able to find a landlord that wants to buy a property with tenants, it takes away a lot of your problems and could result in a quick sale for you; especially if they have cash ready (or a mortgage in principle) and want to expand their portfolio. It also helps a professional landlord because it means they don’t have the costs of finding new tenants whilst paying a mortgage on an empty property.
Alternatively, if the property is vacant, it has appeal to a larger audience. Not only will it be seen by landlords, but it could also be considered by a large family that are happy to knock down walls and turn in into a place they can call home. You’ll also be able to walk through and check that rooms are clean, tidy and presentable before the property is marketed.
Evicting your tenants will take more time and won’t get you a fast sale. You’ll need to have a current and signed tenancy agreement that could stand up in court (in case your tenants choose not to leave), as well a valid gas safety certificate, electrical safety certificate and energy performance certificate. You’ll also need to prove that the deposit was registered with a government approved scheme and that it was done in a timely manner.
Can I sell a house that still has a mortgage on it?
Yes, you can. It’s not like a car that has HPI or finance owing. The first thing to do is check the terms of your mortgage to find out how long is left and what fees will need to be paid. In most cases, the mortgage on your property will be paid off when you sell. If you require a mortgage for your next home a separate application can be made or you could do what’s called ‘port’ your mortgage to your new place. Your existing mortgage company will be able to help you with that and explain what’s involved. Contact them for more details
What if I can’t afford my mortgage?
If you’re looking for a fast sale because you can no longer afford your mortgage payments, you can try negotiating with your lender to find out if they could set-up a flexible repayment plan or extend your mortgage period.
Do I lose my benefits if I sell my house?
If you’re receiving means-tested benefits – where your eligibility is based on how much money you have in accounts – the value of your home isn’t counted if you’re living in it, but the money you get from the sale of it would be included. You may want to speak to your local council to understand your specific situation before deciding whether or not to go ahead with the sale of your property.
Apart from a cash buying company, who else could buy my property?
There could potentially be buyers for your home that you may not have considered. Selling to these parties isn’t guaranteed to be a quick sale, but it could be something you want to investigate.
If you’re in an ex-council house – also known as a housing association property – an option could be to sell it back to your local council. They’re not obliged to buy back properties and will assess each on a case-by-case basis. Contact the council’s housing department and find out what can be done.
Friends or family
If you know someone that either wants to expand their portfolio of properties, or move directly into your house, this could be an option for you. Keep in mind that if they’re part of a chain, a quick sale is unlikely. Also, there’s nothing like money to cause arguments between friends and loved ones, so be careful because you don’t want things to turn sour at an emotional time.
Are there other options?
It all depends upon why you’re in need of a quick house sale, and how fast you need to sell.
If you’re considering a fast sale specialist because your property isn’t selling with an estate agent – and you don’t need to sell quickly – you could look at the reasons why it isn’t selling. Ask your estate agent for feedback from viewers to find out if it’s something you can change (such as tidying up the appearance with paint), or if it’s something that’s out of your hands. The great thing about cash buying companies is that they’ll purchase your property in ‘as is’ condition, so you won’t have the expense of buying paint, guttering or anything else your house needs to make it saleable.
Unless you directly know of someone that wants to live in your house, or move into that area, it’s unlikely that this method will achieve a quick sale. You’ll have to deal with solicitors and it’s possible that your buyer is in a chain. But if you can get a first-time buyer, or a buyer that isn’t in a chain, a private sale could be relatively quick and you wouldn’t have to pay fees to a cash buying company or an estate agent. However, that means you’ll be doing everything. Advertising on local Facebook groups or in newspapers and shop windows could help you to reach an audience, but you could be waiting for responses.
Sell and rent
You could consider selling your house and renting it back; especially if your reason for sale is because of a financial problem. Also called ‘sale and lease back’, these schemes are run by private firms that buy your property and then rent it to you. It’s best to think of this as a last resort because it could affect your housing situation and savings in the future. For example, if you fall behind with rent payments, it could lead to you being evicted.
This might sound exciting, but it is a high-risk option because a sale is not guaranteed; unless you go enter your property into the auction with ‘no reserve’ (and that could mean you get a lot less than you expect). If a reserve price is set, but your property doesn’t reach it, house buying companies will have seen this and therefore lower their offer if you choose to go with a quick sale specialist afterwards.
Whichever route you choose to take to achieve your fast house sale, we wish you success and hope you have a good experience.