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Quick House Sales. Dream House Buyer responds to OFT investigation Tue, 08 Oct 2013 16:14

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Now that the dust has settled, Dream House Buyer wanted to respond to the OFT investigation into our industry, where consumers are offered a quick sale for cash in return for selling their property at a discounted price.  (Typically, in our case, we offer up to 85% of the property value). 

The OFT launched the study in April 2013 following concerns about people in vulnerable situations being taken advantage of and entering into a "quick sale" agreement without fully understanding it.

Generally, quick sales of houses tend to come about when people have experienced:

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Debt
  • Redundancy
  • Facing re-possession
  • Looking to down-size (mostly elderly people)
  • Emigration

Such sellers might want to move quickly due to these stressful circumstances and the OFT was concerned that they might be taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies, in what is an un-regulated sector of the property arena.

"Businesses offering quick house sales may provide a useful service for homeowners who need to unlock cash in a hurry," said Cavendish Elithorn of the OFT.

"However, they are often used by consumers in vulnerable situations and therefore we are concerned about the risk of consumers being misled and losing out on large sums of money," he said.

The areas investigated included such unethical practices as lack of clarity on fee structures, large up-front fees, dropping the offer price at the last minute when the seller was already committed, claims about buying properties for cash, exaggerated claims about completion times, and sellers being contracted into "exclusivity agreements" with large severance penalties.

Find out why we are different to other quick sale house companies >>> here.

Confused.com reported that selling houses for cash is growing in appeal as many sellers are put off by the time taken to complete a sale, which has doubled over the last five years.

Mhairi Duffin, head of mortgages at Confused.com said that such a "drastic method" may offer a speedy solution but there are "serious implications" to consider and it was these that the OFT investigation intended to highlight, so that consumers could be empowered to make a wise choice for their situation and not fall foul of the less scrupulous operators.

During the investigation, the OFT also wrote to 120 "quick sale house" firms, including Dream House Buyer, to ensure that their business practices and contractual terms comply with their legal obligations. Discussions also got also underway with businesses in the sector on developing self-regulation.

The OFT's findings were published on August 7th 2013.

They concluded that quick sale house firms can provide a viable solution for people looking to sell their property quickly and without hassle.

However, their concerns (listed above) prompted them to open a formal investigation into 3 companies in the sector.

Gaucho Rasmussen, OFT Director, said:

"Responsible quick house sale firms offer a valuable service to consumers who want a fast sale. However we have also seen potentially illegal behaviour and as a result the OFT has opened investigations into three companies.

When sellers get a bad deal, they could lose a lot of money. We want to ensure that consumers can have confidence in this sector and put an end to these shoddy practices."

Founder of Dream House Buyer, Richard Hill, commented:

"We very much welcome the OFT's investigation and recommendations for the sector.  As an ethical, family run business, we believe that self-regulation is healthy for the industry, combined with increased consumer awareness to empower them in making informed choices when selling their home. We strive to become the leading house buyer in the UK, and we are very open and honest with our dealings with property owners. 

We appreciate that selling a property under duress is an emotive experience and we are committed to providing the very highest levels of communication and service to vendors we work with to ensure that the process is as painless as possible

To that end, we are pleased to share the OFT's "Tips for Consumers" >>> here.

Find out why we are different to other quick sale house companies >>> here.

Dream House Buyer is a family owned company that considers all types of property, and we buy property with sitting tenants too. We will make an instant cash offer for any property in the UK, regardless of the size, location, condition or value.

We will buy any property that you might consider a problem - including property with sitting tenants, flats with short leases, problem tenants, unmortgageable and structurally damaged property.  We also buy ground rents and portfolios. If you think we can help, then please invite us to make you an immediate cash offer for your property.

Watch our video on Quick House Sales here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_fcZCWIqEGFl98f9optlg

Contact us on 0800 1577 497 or email us info@dreamhousebuyer.co.uk


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