Who Are Quick House Sale Companies?
Operating alongside traditional estate agencies and auction houses, the quick house sale industry has grown massively over the last 20 years or so.
There are a number of key benefits of using this type of service:
- Home sellers deal with serious buyers that pay with cash (not mortgages);
- Exchange and completion happen within a timescale that suits the seller. This can be in as little as 7 days in urgent cases;
- Quick house sale firms buy properties in any condition – even if there are structural or ground issues, for example;
- Fast house sale companies can handle a range of complex situations including repossessions, bankruptcies, problem tenants not paying rent, legal restrictions etc.;
- There are no estate agents, third parties or other intermediaries involved (sellers deal directly with buyers);
- There are no legal or other commissions/fees;
- The sale is 100% private and confidential;
- Decent fast home buying companies focus on providing win:win outcomes.
Why Does the Quick House Sale Sector Get Bad Press?
For years, the fast house sale industry has received widespread criticism. Without even a basic understanding of how the process works, some have gone as far to warn against using companies like ours.
One of the perceived downsides is that our offers for properties tend to be lower than the market value. Some observers believe that fast sale firms rip off vulnerable homeowners.
Yet many fail to see the real benefits of working with companies like ours.
It is also worth noting that estate agencies and auction houses regularly undertake ‘below market value’ sales themselves. This term is widely open to interpretation, especially as estate agents today frequently overvalue properties to win business.
On our quick cash sale page, for example, we show how the price difference between an estate agency sale and a using company like ours is not as high as many think. This is because many people forget about the costs of sale and the effects of time.
The ‘Dark Side’ of the Fast House Sale Industry
This is not to understate the fact that unacceptable experiences can and do occur. Although there is more regulatory control than ever before, homeowners still fall victim to the shameless practices amongst a handful of firms.
These days it is quite easy to set up a fast house sale operation and roll-out marketing campaigns in a deceitful manner. For example, there is a handful of ‘bad apples’ in our industry that fool people into selling their homes when they don’t have to.
In other situations, the price gets dropped just before the exchange of contracts. This is made worse when sellers backs are against the wall and they have no choice but to go ahead.
Unfortunately, then, the general public thinks we’re all cut from the same cloth…
Office of Fair Trading Investigation (OFT)
In 2013, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) began to closely monitor the sell house fast industry.
The Market Study, in particular, expressed concerns over companies that take advantage of homeowners in vulnerable circumstances. The elderly, infirm and those facing the prospect of house repossession were particularly highlighted.
Some of the publically condemned practices include:
- Supplying incorrect information about the property’s true value;
- Unannounced terms, conditions and fees after the sale is agreed;
- Dropping the price at the last minute (usually just before exchange of contracts);
- Fast sale companies not having the cash ready to move forward;
- Delayed sales, well beyond the period stated on the quick house sale company’s website.
Most reputable companies welcomed the investigation. Since then – although there has been some progress in changing the negative image of our industry – more needs to be done.
Property Solvers Code of Practice & Ethics
As well as working with organisations like the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB), Property Solvers continues to position itself as a leading professional in the industry.
In essence, our priority is to not mislead vendors into making hasty decisions that they could regret down the line. This ranges from exhausting all the possible options and placing no pressure or dirty sales tactics through to having a robust after-sales service.
Our clients are comfortable in the knowledge that Property Solvers adheres to Trading Standards and Anti-Money Laundering regulations alongside a wide range of legislation governing the estate agency industry.
We also want people get a better understanding of the high standards we place upon ourselves. It is a requirement for all members of staff and Area Manager associates to sign this code, which we believe goes above and beyond The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) own guidelines that govern the fast house sale industry.
We welcome any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our offices are also open Office (Monday to Friday – 8:30am to 5:30pm) on 020 8226 6901. Out of hours, you can leave a message on our 24/7 helpline number: 0800 044 3733 (freephone).
2. General Obligations
What follows is a detailed breakdown of our operational guidelines that govern how we operate on a day-to-day basis:
- Each Property Solvers Area Manager owns a specific region of the UK that primarily offers a quick cash house sale service. The Area Manager will also discuss our Express Estate Agency to clients that wish to know more about this service (see below);
- Property Solvers Area Managers will provide a service that is consistent with fairness, integrity and best practice;
- We will not seek business by deploying methods that are oppressive or involve dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation;
- We will take special care when dealing with homeowners who might be disadvantaged because of their age, infirmity, lack of knowledge, lack of linguistic ability, economic circumstances or bereavement;
- Property Solvers Area Managers will not buy homes from people who are in a mentally unstable or vulnerable position;
- We will never undertake business that would be considered dishonest, unethical or deceitful in the eyes of any right-minded person;
- Clients information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality by the Area Manager and the appointed solicitor (registered at the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority);
- As a company, Property Solvers will not release or misuse confidential information without the client’s explicit permission;
- Clients can request our credentials of membership to the following prominent trade / regulatory bodies (see below):
- The Property Ombudsman (TPOS);
- The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB);
- The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (Trading Standards);
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regulations;
- Information Commissioner’s Office (Data Protection);
- National Landlord’s Association (NLA).
- Clients can request proof of Property Solvers’ membership of these / regulatory bodies via email;
- Property Solvers management can demonstrate how the company meets our financial and compliance-related obligations with the above trade / regulatory bodies;
- Property Solvers Area Managers will take the time to fully understand vendors specific circumstances, acting genuinely in their best interests;
- Area Managers will not place any undue pressure which restricts a home seller’s ability to make a free and informed choice regarding the sale of a property;
- Where required, clients will be given sufficient time to read this Code of Practice before proceeding with the house sale.
3. Advertising & Marketing
- Property Solvers marketing practices are legal, honest and truthful;
- All aspects of the Property Solvers’ marketing strategy adhere to the British Codes of Advertising for sales promotion and direct marketing;
- Property Solvers marketing activities adhere to General Protection Data Regulations (GDPR);
- We will not use unfair or unethical methods to attract new clients;
- Our marketing collateral helps home sellers make the correct decisions based on their specific situation;
- The Property Solvers’ website and associated marketing collateral will be updated in line with changing legislation and regulation governing the fast house sale and estate agency industries;
- Property Solvers’ marketing approach underlines the importance of exploring all our clients’ options prior to discussing any form of sale;
- Property Solvers’ various selling guides are aimed at providing property owners with an objective understanding of their specific options and solutions. Area Managers will encourage homeowners to view these guides and ask questions;
- Property Solvers’ free ‘desktop’ valuation service will be based on sold house price data available in the public domain (via the HM Land Registry). These valuations are subject to a minimum 2-month time lag (for sold property values to appear in the public domain). Please access the free tools we use via our blog post on house valuation. Sometimes Area Managers find it useful to run through comparable evidence using Skype video chat or other free teleconferencing facilities;
- Area Managers will ensure that all clients are aware of all aspects of the Property Solvers ‘hybrid estate agency’ model:
- The Area Manager should allow a sufficient amount of time for the homeowner to fully understand and digest these offerings (and not place any pressure for a particular option to be chosen);
- Property Solvers’ marketing approaches will not mislead vendor clients regarding the likely timescales for the sale to complete;
- Vendors will be aware that the 7-day exchange/completion process will require extra paperwork and a higher degree of proactivity from all parties;
- Property Solvers will not mislead clients regarding the Area Managers purchasing proposals and services provided. For example, should a direct property purchase not be acceptable, the Area Manager will suggest a sale through our express estate agency service. Alternatively, an assisted sale may be a more suitable option;
- It is entirely up to the client whether they want to continue with any proposals made by the Area Manager.
4. Communication and Conditional Offers
- Prospective clients can get in touch with Property Solvers via our online channels or our freephone number (0800 044 3733) that is manned 24 hours, 7 days a week;
- The call centre representative will take some basic details and explain that the Area Manager will be back in touch to discuss the vendor’s situation;
- All of the details will be forwarded to the Property Solvers Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system;
- Clients can also email Property Solvers at email@example.com or call our London-based head office during office hours on 020 8226 6901 (this is more likely to be the case for client referrals).
First Phone Call
- During the first call, the Area Manager will take the time to understand the vendor’s specific situation prior to discussing any kind of sale;
- Should the property already be on the market, the Area Manager will ask about the ongoing experiences. The number of viewings, level of interest and information regarding previous offers would be common questions;
- The Area Manager will also ask about the property’s condition including any works, extensions or conversions undertaken. The client will also be asked about the boiler’s age, gas central heating and electrics/wiring. We advise clients to be as honest as possible to avoid confusion down the line;
- Prior to explaining how the quick house sale process works, Area Manager will discuss all the vendor’s possible selling options.
Some Alternative Options to a Fast House Sale
Property Solvers often make the following suggestions prior to discussing a quick house sale:
- At all times, the Area Manager will not mislead or pressurise homeowners into using any of the Property Solvers services;
- If the client is looking to stop house repossession, the Area Manager should appreciate the highly stressful nature of the situation and assist the homeowner in finding the best solution – even if there is little or no prospect of buying the property;
- The Area Manager will clearly explain how the cash home buying process works;
- The client is welcome to ask any questions about the Area Manager’s experience in the property industry and associated credentials;
- Depending on the situation, the Area Manager will run through the most appropriate service – outlined in the three boxes below:
Quick Cash House Sale in 7 to 28 Days
Under the 7-day sale option, vendors will receive up to 75% of the market value for their property. There will be no legal, estate agency or other fees to pay.
The Area Manager will explain that market value is based on comparable sold values as per the Land Registry. Although extra characteristics such as larger floor space, gardens, extensions will be taken into account. In the interests of transparency, we avoid using estate agency asking prices or other market-led estimations.
In addition to the information provided on our quick cash sale page, clients can be sent our full brochure which explains how this service works.
Express Estate Agency
This option works for clients with more time on their hands to sell who want to achieve 100% of the market value.
Our estate agency was built on the back of over 15 years of working in the quick house sale industry. We offer an enhanced ‘hybrid’ that embraces the benefits of both online and traditional estate agency services. We focus on getting homeowners a firm offer within 28 days of the property going to market.
Some of the other benefits include:
- Floorplans and high-quality photos;
- Impactful ‘For Sale’ board in front of the property;
- Access to all major property portals (including Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location, The House Shop and many others);
- Accompanied viewings (including evenings and weekends);
- 24/7 enquiry line/chat service;
- Weekly sales reports;
- Complete sales progression;
- No sale, no fee;
- No minimum contract.
Should there be interest, details will be forwarded on to Property Solvers Head Office who will contact the homeowner and explain the process in further detail.
As well as the information provided on our express estate agency page, clients will be sent a full brochure which delves into how this service works. Our blog post on this topic may also be useful to understand our position in the industry as a whole.
Assisted House Sale
Where appropriate, should a property require extensive refurbishment or have the potential for extension/conversion/development, Area Managers will outline the Property Solvers ‘Assisted Sale’ option.
As an outline, the Area Manager will propose to fund the costs of the works to bring the property into a marketable state. The property is subsequently sold on the open market at a higher value than would be the case if the works were not undertaken. The Area Manager will then take an agreed share of the proceeds of the sale.
Although relatively unorthodox, the process is entirely above board from a legal perspective. We use specialist solicitors to handle these forms of transactions. Clients are welcome to review any documentation with an independent solicitor.
- Should the homeowner express an interest in receiving a preliminary offer, the Area Manager should reschedule a convenient time to call back;
- During this period, research (due diligence) into the property will be undertaken including market value verifications, square foot comparable / sold house price data, secured debts, sales history, potential issues etc.;
- Property Solvers Area Managers are experienced property professionals and will be able to return calls within short timeframes;
- The Area Manager should provide his/her direct contact details and respond to any questions / queries the homeowner may have in the meantime.
The Second Phone Call
- Area Managers should return the call at a time convenient for the client;
- Although not mandatory, we encourage Area Managers to be available at evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays (to deal with queries and other concerns). Most are more than willing to oblige.
House Sale Offers
Area Manager will suggest the most appropriate solution in line with your specific circumstances:
Quick Cash House Sale Offer
This will be a conditional offer based on viewing and/or a surveying of the property.
There will be no legal, estate agency or other fees involved. If the homeowner has instant debts to clear or in a broken chain situation, the sale can be completed in as little as 7 days. It is also possible to access a cash advance, where money will be forwarded prior to the exchange date.
The Area Manager may choose to explain the logic and business case behind making the offer. These would mainly include the macro / micro risks involved in operating a property investment and trading business.
Express Estate Agency Sale Offer
This offer is aimed at homeowners that want to achieve a quick sale for full market value.
Although not as secure as our quick cash sale offer, it is a good option for those looking to work with an estate agency that has a good understanding of the market place.
The Area Manager will stress that the property will be ‘priced to sell’ within 28 days to generate real interest. We do not play the games that normal estate agents do by over-valuing homes to win business. We would prefer to walk away without wasting ours and our clients time and resources.
Assisted House Sale Offer
The Area Manager will propose a specific transactional structure where the property requires refurbishment works.
An agreement will be drawn up where the Area Manager will undertake the works and subsequently put the house up on the market once complete. A pre-agreed profit share agreement will be in place.
The Area Manager will highlight both the upsides and downsides of choosing this route. The homeowner may wish to seek independent legal advice before agreeing to the proposal.
- If acceptable, any offer made by the Area Manager is conditional upon viewing and fully inspecting the property;
- The Area Manager can also request for a survey to be undertaken. It is at the homeowner’s own discretion to accept this or not;
- There is absolutely no obligation for the homeowner to accept any offer made by the Area Manager;
- The client will be allowed time to consider the offer and seek external advice;
- The Area Manager should be willing and able to demonstrate proof of cash or guaranteed funds in place;
- The Area Manager will provide information with regards to the fast-tracked legal conveyancing process (including our 24-hour exchange and 7-day completion process);
- Where the vendor has received an offer from another quick house sale company, offering to ‘price match’ or ‘price beat’ is at the Area Manager’s own discretion;
- Should an offer not be acceptable to the vendor, or some time is needed to think (or speak to any co-owners), the Area Manager will not place any undue pressure and fully respect the decision;
- Where appropriate, the Area Manager may wish to suggest a date for a callback and also provide full contact details for further questions;
- The homeowner is entirely free to refuse the callback and request to be removed from the Property Solvers contact database. This request will be forwarded to Head Office by the Area Manager and actioned immediately;
- The initial appointment should be made in line with the vendor’s own diary. Area Managers will be flexible;
- Should clients wish to move forward with our 24-hour exchange and 7-day completion transaction process, extra paperwork will be required;
- Our sell house fast process is backed by a professional indemnity insurance policy and Area Managers should be willing and able to furnish any documentation required prior to initiating the process;
- As most Area Managers will be buying the property in a separate Limited company, the client is entirely free to request any further information required;
- The Area Manager will send an offer letter, which will confirm the details of the transactions;
- In the situation where nothing can be done to structure a fast property sale, the Area Manager should not simply discard the enquiry and will respectfully serve the client in the best way possible. In most cases, it will be a simple suggestion for the vendor to adjust the asking price to a more realistic level with the estate agent or explore a different sales channel;
- Where the client has financial difficulties or is in negative equity, approaching organisations such as Citizens Advice, Step Change, National Debtline, Business Debtline, the Debt Advice Foundation, Shelter and/or the Money Charity will be suggested;
- Property Solvers also has a wide range of industry contacts, such as Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) who may also be able to assist. Regardless of the situation, Area Managers should leave their contact details for any further enquiries.
5. Trade Body Membership
Property Solvers is focused on becoming the leading quick house sale company in the UK. Yet, as mentioned above, with the industry still attracting negative press, we have a lot of work to do.
These days, it’s relatively easy to set up a quick house buying website and purport to offer such service. However, issues can arise as the sector is not regulated in the same way as financial services.
Nonetheless, there are a number of bodies that professional firms in our space are becoming part of. The most notable two are The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) and the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB). Property Solvers has also become part of the Trading Standard’s Approved Code and signed up to Ant Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
This means that in the rare situation where clients are dissatisfied with any aspect of our service, they have a place to go. Furthermore, as we are in this business for the long term, we very much welcome clients to scrutinise us as a company.
Clients can contact Property Solvers head office for evidence of our membership to the relevant trade bodies listed below.
Member Number box and ‘Property Solvers’ under Member Name on the verification page. Note, the name Ruban Selvanayagam”, the co-director of Property Solvers Limited, will come up (his details can be verified on the Companies House website.
6. Initial Meeting, Property Inspection and Offer Confirmation
Initial Meeting at Your Home
- The pre-agreed initial meeting between the Area Manager and the vendor(s) is to clarify any aspects regarding the Property Solvers service;
- This is an opportunity for the seller to ask any questions;
- The Area Manager is there to address all concerns and not place pressure to proceed with using our services;
- If the homeowner is selling a tenanted property, the Area Manager can meet at a convenient location;
- The Area Manager will take full identification and, if requested, can leave a photocopy of his/her driver’s licence and passport;
- The Area Manager will provide with his/her business card (with full contact details). The client will also be given an Introductory Brochure that explains the quick house sale process in more detail (amongst other essential information);
- The Area Manager will ensure that clients have the contact number of the Property Solvers Head Office (020 8226 6901) as well as the Property Ombudsman (01722 333306) and the National Association of Property Buyers (01903 331329);
- If they haven’t been provided already, clients can request for Property Solvers credentials (the Area Manager will directly message Head Office on your behalf);
- With the client’s permission, the Area Manager will view the property. We generally suggest that the client accompanies this process and, where possible, respond to any questions that emerge;
- The Area Manager may request take notes and photos of the property. He/she will refrain from carrying this process if the client is uncomfortable;
- In some cases, the Area Manager may also draft a floorplan. This may be executed by an independent firm unless the client disagrees or is unhappy with this. The client will not be charged for this;
- With the client’s permission, the initial meeting may coincide with a professional survey, conducted by a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor-approved professional. This is more likely to be the case where time is of the essence, and/or a 7-day exchange and completion has been agreed;
- The client can request a copy of the survey report once it is completed;
- The Area Manager will have an idea of the size of the property having already downloaded the information via the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) register. The client can request a copy of this certificate;
- With the client’s permission, the Area Manager may request a structural / condition survey with a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors-approved professional or other formal investigation prior to making a final offer. This may be the case if the property demonstrates signs of structural problems, damp (not due to condensation), asbestos, subsidence or other issues that will have a material effect on the overall valuation.
Final Offer Confirmation
- Once the viewing is undertaken, provided that there are no unforeseen issues, the Area Manager will confirm the purchase price and associated transaction terms;
- The Area Manager’s valuation confirmation will be undertaken in a proper manner, fairly and in good faith. There will not be any deliberate misrepresentation of value;
- The Area Manager will be clear about the reasoning behind any difference between the initial offer (based on the ‘desktop’ valuation) and the final offer. Such reasoning can be provided in
writing, upon the homeowner’s request. In such instances the accompanying survey / investigative report can be forwarded;
- Where required, the Area Manager will give the client further time to consider the proposal;
- The client may or may not wish to accept an offer provided by the Area Manager;
- The client and the Area Manager will come to a mutual agreement regarding the date of sale, which can be in as little as 24 hours for exchange and completion within the following 7 days. This latter option is typically chosen where there is an imminent threat of repossession;
- Assuming the client wishes to proceed with the sale (and fully understands the terms of the agreement), the Area Manager should forward an offer confirmation letter using the Property Solvers branded template;
- Any proposal will be consistent with this Code of Practice and Ethics, The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice and Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015;
- Where requested, the Area Manager will provide proof of cash purchase funds. Typically, this will be via a recent bank statement or a formal letter from a qualified solicitor (registered at the Law Society);
- Where requested, the Area Manager will provide information confirming the sales process (memorandum of sale, sellers pack completion, survey, searches, contract drafting, exchange
- There is no obligation for the homeowner to accept the written offer, even if a professional survey or other contracted investigation has been undertaken. However, we would ask clients to appreciate that costs will be incurred and ask for honesty with regards to the real intentions to sell;
- The Area Manager will discuss the best form of communication moving forward. He/she will be readily available to deal with any enquiries;
- Upon request, the Area Manager’s solicitor can also confirm that the price will not be reduced prior to exchange of contracts without a genuinely valid reason. This is most likely to be related to significant issues that will materially affect the value of the property (such as non-standard construction, structural issues, evidence of subsidence). Should such circumstances arise, the homeowner will be able to withdraw from the sale and claim back any reasonably incurred expenses.
7. Moving Forward with a Quick House Sale
- The Property Solvers brand is built on completing sales within short timeframes (or in line with the seller’s own deadline);
- Area Managers are obliged to fulfil this commitment and ensure a smooth sale;
- If not already undertaken during the first viewing, the Area Manager will organise a convenient time for a surveyor approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to visit the property. The date and time of the survey should be coordinated with the seller’s own diary and requirements;
- The Area Manager will not alter the agreed price unless serious issues appear that were not notified by the seller (this is an extremely rare occurrence);
- In such situations, Area Managers reserve the right to renegotiate the price, provided there is a sufficient period for the client to find an alternative solution (or not sell at all). For example, the price cannot be renegotiated within days of the exchange date when the clients’ choices are extremely limited;
- The Area Manager will pay all the seller’s legal costs, including any associated disbursements and administrative fees;
- Bar exceptional circumstances, the Area Manager will pay for any professional survey or valuation costs;
- The seller solicitors on the Property Solvers panel have experience in dealing with fast contract exchanges and sale completions. Although there should be no objection to vendors nominating their own solicitor, the Area Manager should advise that completion of the sale may take longer. In such a scenario, the Area Manager will cover up to £500 of the total fees due on completion;
- Should the seller wish to nominate an independent lawyer, the practice should have a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy in place of no less than £2,000,000, a minimum of two partners, be a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer based in the UK and have no disciplinary proceedings or action registered against them. The Property Solvers Area Manager reserves the right to verify these details;
- The Area Manager will not impose withdrawal or termination charges on the homeowner. However, if the homeowner is unsure about any aspect of the sale, we strongly advise that the Area Manager is informed at the start so no time or money is wasted. The Area Manager may choose to explain to homeowners that expenses will be incurred from the point of agreeing on the sale;
- Unless there is a material legal risk or pre-exchange liability, the Area Manager will not require the seller to sign any form of ‘tie-in’ or option agreement. There are some circumstances where a delayed completion may be appropriate – however, Property Solvers generally prefer to execute a clean cash sale as this is usually the simplest route.
Completing the Sellers Pack
- The Area Manager will instruct the solicitor to act on homeowner’s behalf and a ‘Memoradum of Sale’ will be forwarded. The homeowner will receive a seller’s pack to be completed and sent back. The following forms will need to be completed:
- TA6: Property Information Form;
- TA10: Fixtures & Contents Form;
- TA7: Leasehold Information Form (where appropriate);
- With the completed forms, the solicitor will also require:
- 2 forms of identification;
- The Title Plan / Register (should the vendor have a spare copy);
- Other information related to the property that can help move things forward in a streamlined manner;
- Any warranties, guarantees, planning permission and building control certificates.
- The sooner the seller’s pack is completed, the better as the solicitors can then proceed quickly with the sale;
- The Area Manager will cover any costs of Royal Mail Special / Overnight (Guaranteed) Delivery and will be at hand to assist homeowners in completing these documents (evenings and weekends included);
- Normally, the moment the sellers pack arrives at the Solicitors office, the Area Manager should aim to get the matter completed within 10-20 working days. Should the seller require a fast-tracked (7-day) exchange and completion, additional paperwork/compliance will typically be required. Note that all legal, survey and ancillary costs will be covered by the Area Manager.
Other Essential House Sale Processes
- The following searches will be carried out: Local Authority, Environmental, Water/ Drainage, Chancel repair, Coal/Tin Mining, Brine/Common Registration and Clay;
- In particularly fast sale scenarios, the Area Manager may need to take out specific indemnity insurance policies to cover potential issues such as restrictive covenants, negative easements, ransom strips, third-party consents, negative search / survey results and other transaction-related problems. This means that the Area Manager is adequately protected whilst remaining committed to a quick property sale;
- The Area Manager will cover the cost of any new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) required as part of the sale;
- As the transaction progresses, the Area Manager will monitor progress on all sides and keep vendor informed. The Area Manager should provide main and out of office hours contact numbers;
- Unless agreed otherwise, the property will be sold with vacant possession upon completion;
- In certain circumstances, the Area Manager may agree to let the vendor remain in the property after completion. This is known as a ‘licence to occupy’ and is only given for an agreed and limited period (a specific legal agreement will need to be in place);
- We take pride in offering a friendly post-sales service for our clients and Property Solvers will be there to assist clients with any plans once the house sale is completed. The Area Manager will also deal with any unexpected problems that arise as a result of selling the property.
- A flowchart on our How We Work page briefly outlines the process outlined in Parts 1-5 of this code;
8. Express Estate Agency Services
- The Property Solvers Express Estate Agency option appeals to homeowners who have more flexibility in terms of their timescales for selling;
- This service employs a ‘realistic pricing model’ with a focus on generating secure offers in under 28 days at full market value;
- We are taking a more honest approach to open market house sales as our valuations are based on actual sold prices, not asking values often used by estate agents to win instructions;
- We also take into account the specific characteristics of a property that would warrant a higher valuation. Examples would include size, extension/conversion work, extensive refurbishment, positioning on the street amongst a range of other factors. Our post on house valuation addresses this topic in more detail;
- Some of the unique benefits of this service include no contractual tie-ins, fast onboarding processes, 24/7 support, complete marketing material, impactful FOR SALE board (with freephone number), access to the major property portals, accompanied viewings, complete sales progression. We also put clients in touch with the conveyancing solicitors we use for our fast sales;
- Should a client be interested in exploring this option, the Area Manager will refer the enquiry to Property Solvers Head Office;
- Property Solvers Express Estate Agency clients can be safe in the knowledge that the company is duly registered at The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) and operates under the Trading Standards Approved Code. The company also adheres to Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (HM Revenue and Customs) and Data Protection Standards (Information Commissioner’s Office). Our membership of these organisation ensures that our clients are fully-protected throughout the process;
- Property Solvers Estate Agency Services adhere to the following legislation: Estate Agents Act 1979; Data Protection Act 2018; The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017; Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs); Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007; Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) (see below);
- Property Solvers staff, associates and Area Managers at all levels, will act in the vendor’s best interest throughout the estate agency transaction process;
- The home seller should be made fully aware that the Area Manager and Property Solvers Limited will not be held responsible for any fraud, misrepresentation, illicit conduct on the buyer’s part during the transaction process.
9. Property Investor Partnerships
- Specific rules apply in scenarios where Area Managers pass transactions on to private investors (thereby operating as an intermediary in the sales process);
- Estate agency referral / strategic partnerships will be approved by Property Solvers Head Office;
- Both Head Office and the Area Manager will operate as a main point of contact during the course of the transaction;
- The property may be promoted through Property Solvers Investor Services (The Property Investor’s Estate Agency). Alternatively, should it be felt more appropriate, we may refer certain properties to our auction partners/sourcing company contacts;
- Property Solvers Investor Services is duly registered at The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and adheres to Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (HM Revenue and Customs) and Data Protection Standards (Information Commissioner’s Office);
- Property Solvers Head Office and the Area Manager will be duly responsible for verifying that the buyer has cash funds and relay any relevant information to the home seller (including bank statements/confirmations via solicitors);
- Should homeowners not wish to proceed with the private investor(s), all parties should respect their wishes;
- Irrespective of his/her involvement, the Area Manager will act in the vendor’s best interest throughout the transaction process;
- Clients will be made fully aware that the Area Manager and Property Solvers Limited will not be held responsible for any fraud, misrepresentation, illicit conduct on the investor buyer’s part during the transaction process;
- As per clause 4a of The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice, Property Solvers will be liable for the actions of the sub-instructed party and will be held responsible for any failure to comply and act in accordance with the regulations.
10. Quick House Sale – Property Solvers’ Legal Obligations
Property Solvers Limited complies with all relevant laws and regulations relating to the purchase of residential property:
- Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 – this legislation requires Property Solvers to place certain controls to prevent business activities from being used for money laundering. These include assessing the level of risk of the business being used by criminals to launder money and having the necessary management control systems in place. The company also retains any documentation relating to financial transactions, customer identities and risk assessments so they are available for assessment if required. Where deemed necessary, Area Managers can refer clients to the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group guidance;
- Estate Agents Act 1979 – Property Solvers Express Estate Agency service agent works in the best interests of our clients. We ensure that both buyers and sellers are treated honestly, fairly and promptly throughout the open market sales process;
- Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – alongside the money laundering regulations, this legislation requires us to report any knowledge or suspicion of money laundering to the National Crime Agency;
- Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) – this legislation prohibits businesses from advertising products in a misguided manner and sets out conditions under which comparative advertising is permitted to consumers and businesses;
- Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 – provision for the establishment of the National Consumer Council and its functions related to complaints, requirements to be part of redress schemes and cancellation of certain forms of contract;
- Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 – when dealing directly with homeowners, Property Solvers as a sell house fast company will be required to provide up-front and transparent information related to any transaction, including the right to cancel;
- Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) – this legislation provides consumer protection from unfair trading regulations in the form of (i) the general ban on unfair commercial practices; (ii) misleading and aggressive practices which are assessed in light of the effect they have, or are likely to have, on the average consumer. The ‘Black List’ contains the list of those practices which are unfair and therefore strictly prohibited;
- Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 – a series of legal requirements that we must adhere to when dealing with consumers and clients online. Any breach of these rules is a breach of statutory duty.
11. Property Solvers Complaints Procedure
- Property Solvers strives to be the UK’s leading fast house sale service. We take any negative feedback or complaint very seriously;
- The Property Solvers Head Office is open from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5:30pm on 020 8226 6901;
- Clients and any member of the public can also call 0800 044 3733 (freephone) to leave an out of hours message (this phone line is manned 24 hours, 7 days a week including on public holidays). We also regularly check our email at firstname.lastname@example.org – any messages to this address are received by the Directors;
- Our details can be found on the Companies House website;
- During our initial conversation, the Area Manager will provide the homeowner with a direct mobile telephone number and email address. As well as the office line, clients can call the Area Manager to discuss any issues or concerns (both during and after the sales process);
- Area Managers will keep records of all verbal and written complaints at the time they are made;
- As per The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) guidelines, all written complaints must be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days and a proper investigation promptly undertaken. A formal written outcome of an investigation will be sent within 15 working days of receipt of the original complaint. In exceptional cases, where the timescale needs to be extended beyond this limit, the client will be kept fully informed and Property Solvers will provide ongoing clarifications;
- If the situation is not resolved, and the homeowner (seller) still remains dissatisfied, Property Solvers directors and co-founders Ruban Selvanayagam (email@example.com) and James Durr (firstname.lastname@example.org) can be contacted. This provides the opportunity for a speedy, separate and detached review of the complaint by staff not directly involved in the transaction where that is possible. Such a review must be sent to the Complainant within 15 working days;
- Upon satisfactory resolution, Property Solvers will send a written statement confirming the final position. Should there be any aspects that the client does not agree with, the homeowner should get in touch again, via any of the means above. The letter will also inform homeowners of how the matter can be referred to The Property Ombudsman (which must be undertaken within 12 months of receipt);
- Although there is a separate process (see below), clients are welcome to contact The Property Ombudsman (01722 333306) and/or the National Association of Property Buyers (01903 331329) with regards to any aspect of the Property Solvers service. These are independent organisations established to protect home sellers in an impartial manner.
12. Compliance with The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice
- Property Solvers Limited understand it’s responsibilities as members of The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) and will co-operate with any investigations in accordance with the Ombudsman’s Terms of Reference;
- We will comply with any award and/or direction made by the Ombudsman against the company and accepted by the home seller and which is binding upon the Company under the Terms of Reference;
- Property Solvers will pay the amount of any such award if accepted by the homeseller within the period for payment required by the Ombudsman;
- Property Solvers Limited understands that cases of non-compliance will be dealt with by the Disciplinary and Standards Committee (DSC) of The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) council;
- The DSC will consider those cases brought to its attention by the Ombudsman, acting within the Ombudsman’s Terms of Reference, where the Ombudsman considers there has been any single flagrant breach and/or any persistent breaches of the Code. The DSC will also consider whether the conduct is such that it raises issues concerning the continuing registration under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act (CEARA) 2007;
- Any disciplinary action will be determined by the DSC in accordance with its terms of reference as defined from time to time.
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