How to Sell my House Quickly for a Good Price

If you’ve waited for months to find a buyer, only for the sale to fall through a few days before exchange, then you’re not alone.  But it’s worth considering your options before rushing into using the services of a “quick house sale” company.

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We all know it can be difficult to make well informed decisions when you’re under pressure. Yet many homeowners in the UK face the decision of how to sell their property within a very limited timescale, often under financial pressure and with very little help or guidance. This article is designed to help property owners make an informed decision when they need a fast sale at a good price.
Last updated by Mark Grantham on 13th November 2019

Does a quick sale mean “below market value”?

If you ask a local estate agent to help sell your property quickly, you will probably be introduced to an investor who can complete quickly, offering a below market value price. To some extent, if you’re motivated to sell quickly a below market value sale is the price you pay for the convenience of a straightforward cash sale. But that’s not always the case, especially for properties with a good level of demand, where in fact buyers will pay a premium for the convenience of a quick and hassle-free purchase, rather than enduring the painfully long and frustrating process of buying through an estate agent. And before you hit the back button, your property might be considered “in-demand” even if you don’t initially think so.

Fast sale at a good price – is it possible?

Selling your house fast is not difficult, there are plenty of property buyers who will offer you a knock down price for the privilege of a quick sale. The real question is how to sell your property fast for the best possible price? What are your options?

Selling at auction – what price can I achieve?

The tried and tested method of selling quickly for the best price is by public auction. In fact, the word “auction” originates from the Latin word meaning “to increase” and is a method of sale designed to have a buyer pay as much as possible without setting a ceiling price.

The important number to consider when selling at auction is the reserve price – that’s the minimum price you will accept to sell for. Over the course of bidding the price will increase and in some cases the final sale price can far exceed the seller’s expectations.

An auctioneer will only take on a property if they can agree to a reserve price of around 85% of market value – that number will vary depending on the saleability of the property. For example, a property in a popular area that requires modernisation will sell particularly well at auction so the auctioneer may be prepared to offer a higher reserve price.

When talking to customers who’ve shopped around for offers from quick sale companies we’ve never seen a genuine quick house sale company offer more than an auctioneers reserve price. Except for the firms we refer to as “quack” sale companies, who will make a higher initial offer and reduce the price before exchange, sometimes not exchanging at all.

It’s worth noting that auction is such an efficient method of selling that some properties sell for more at auction compared to an estate agency sale. In fact, some property trading companies have made a business from buying through estate agents and selling at auction.

Whatever your circumstances or requirements, if you’re selling, then auction is certainly worth considering.

Be cautious of so called “quick house sale” companies

Even though you can expect to achieve a higher sale price at auction (and sometimes a considerably higher sale price) compared to selling to a quick house sale company, there are times when the benefits of a managed, direct sale outweigh the advantages of an auction sale. A typical example would be a situation where a property owner has their home under offer through an estate agent, and as with many estate agency sales the offer is subject to a chain of other buyers and sellers. When one seller backs out and the chain collapses, what can you do to avoid losing your dream house purchase? An auction sale is a viable route, but it doesn’t offer the flexibility of selling to a quick house sale company, where the seller can align the sale of their current property with the purchase of their next property.

If you’re in a situation where you really do need to use the services of a quick house sale company then there are a few things to check before accepting an offer.

Many of the so called quick sale companies are in fact property brokers. They don’t have the cash funds to complete on a purchase, even if they say they do. We describe these operators as “quack” sale companies because they are not genuine cash buyers, they’re imposters. Even if a quick sale company has good reviews and is a member of an ombudsman scheme it doesn’t mean they are a genuine cash buyer. Whenever dealing with a quick house sale company we always suggest the following:

Don’t sign anything – a genuine cash buyer will proceed with a purchase in the same way as you would expect if you accepted an offer through an estate agent. If you’re asked to sign an option agreement be wary!

Ask for proof of cash funds – a genuine cash buyer will be able to provide you with evidence of cash funds such as a recent bank statement.

Use your own solicitor – some genuine cash buyers offer the seller the services of their own solicitor, which is fine. But if you are not given the option of using your own solicitor then be cautious.

Accepting an offer from the wrong type of firm can lead to complications, and sellers often find themselves in a worse position than they started in.

Check the value of your property

Knowing the value of your property might seem obvious when you’re selling. But it can easily be overlooked, especially if you’re dealing with just one buyer. In the last decade property prices have increased dramatically in some areas of the UK and the value of your property might be higher than you think.

The easiest way to check the value of your property is to look at the prices of similar properties that have recently sold on your street, or nearby, using Rightmove and Zoopla. It’s important to check sold prices rather than asking prices. Estate agents often inflate asking prices to win instructions, so they cannot be relied upon to accurately reflect value.

“Rising prices and the “hidden value” of property (i.e. development potential) are sometimes completely unnoticed by owners who lose out when selling by private treaty (estate agency) sale. Selling by public auction ensures an open and transparent sale where the final sale price reflects the full potential of the property.”

Checking the realistic value of your property can also help weed out some of the bogus quick sale companies making offers that seem too good to be true. Some property buyers make very high initial offers just to get a foot in the door. If their offer seems unrealistically high compared to other property sales on the street, then as tempting as it can be to accept the offer, take a reality check. Accepting an offer that seems too good to be true usually ends up being dramatically reduced at the last minute – often to an amount far lower than a good and reliable cash buyer would be offering.

Keep your options open

As with any type of negotiation, you’ll come out best if you can afford to walk away from the deal. This is especially important to remember if you’re selling to a quick house sale company – some of the dubious ones will take advantage of a seller that’s backed into a corner, or has limited options.
Find out more about auction reserve prices and why they’re so important!

Find some extra time

It’s very unlikely you’ll find yourself in a position where you must sell your home within a matter of days or weeks. But even if the timescale is very tight it can be worthwhile trying to buy yourself some extra time and avoid being in a situation where you have no choice but to sell to the first cash buyer. Keeping up good communication helps in most circumstances:

Financial reasons – if you owe money and there are heavy penalties for not meeting the payment deadline then it can help to explain your circumstances and show that you’re trying your best to raise funds. If you can show that you’ve entered your property into auction then it will go a long way to keeping debtors off your back.

Sale fallen through – a broken property chain can be very frustrating, especially if you lose out on the purchase of your dream home. Simply asking the seller to wait a bit longer whilst you find a new buyer will usually work for the first or second time. But a third time will test their patience, so it can be worth having a back-up plan in place to avoid disappointment!

The golden rule in situations like this is not to panic, the seller of your onward purchase or debtors will more than likely offer some leniency if they know you are taking serious steps to sell.

Alternatives to selling

Rather than risk losing money on the sale of your home, if you need to raise funds quickly then it may be worth considering re-mortgaging your property or applying for a short-term bridging loan.

In times when the buy-to-let sector was strong and house prices were booming it was common place for property owners to rent out their properties rather than sell them. Although there are tighter rules and tax implications now, it’s still worth considering.

Discussing your options with a financial advisor could save you tens of thousands of pounds in the long term.

Need more help? Call us on 0800 862 0206 or send us an enquiry online.

Next steps – request an auction sale estimate

Why not request a free pre-auction appraisal for your property? It only takes a few seconds. Or feel free to call us on 0800 862 0206 if you have any questions.

ℹ Need a quick sale?

If you want (or need) a fast property sale, it’s worth taking some time to explore your options before rushing into accepting the first quick cash offer you receive. A few quick enquiries could save you tens of thousands of pounds.

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Property Ombudsman Member