Selling Your Home ‘As Is’: Property Buying Companies And UK Homeowners

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Selling a home can be stressful, costly and time-consuming for homeowners. Some elect to sell their property in its existing condition to property-buying companies who acquire homes without requiring repairs, renovations or homeowners making it sale-ready. This article explores the niche ‘as is’ purchase model, its pros and cons for sellers, and key considerations when using property-buying companies.

The ‘As Is’ Purchase Model

‘As is’ sales involve homeowners selling their property in its present state directly to a property-buying company. Unlike mainstream buyers, these companies purchase homes without mandating any pre-sale preparation like clearing, repairs or redecoration. The burden of getting the home sale-ready is removed.

Property-buying companies cater mainly to motivated sellers needing the certainty and convenience of a quick, guaranteed property purchase. Common scenarios include inheritance, emigration, divorce or financial difficulties. Sellers essentially exchange convenience for achieving a lower price than possible on the open market.

Advantages for Homeowners

For homeowners with specific circumstances or priorities, selling ‘as is’ to a property-buying company can have advantages:

  • Certainty – the sale is secured with a fair offer on the existing condition.
  • Speed – transactions can be completed in as little as 7-28 days.
  • Convenience – avoid the hassle of agents, viewings and negotiations.
  • Costs – save on repairs, staging, legal fees and double moves.
  • Cash release – access equity rapidly for other plans if needed urgently.
  • No risk – guaranteed sale removes uncertainties and fall-through risks.

When used appropriately, ‘as is’ sales can suit homeowners needing pragmatic options.

Drawbacks and Limitations

However, sellers should also be aware of the drawbacks of ‘as-is’ sales:

  • Below market value – typically achieve 10-20% less than full market potential.
  • No exposure – limited potential for competition to increase price.
  • Agent advice – lack guidance on preparing your home for best value.
  • Timing control – sale progresses to the buyer’s timeframe.
  • Post-sale contingencies – delays still possible for buyer surveys etc.
  • Tax implications – capital gains tax due on quick profits if not a primary residence.

While convenient, sellers must accept a discount selling this way in most cases.

Finding Reputable Providers

The property buying sector contains many operators, requiring research to identify reliable providers:

  • Track record – choose an established company with years of trading and many positive reviews.
  • Transparency – look for clear information on business ownership, values and processes.
  • Accreditation – check for membership in official bodies like The Property Ombudsman.
  • Professionalism – ensure valuing staff are qualified surveyors providing authoritative appraisals.
  • Referrals – get feedback from people who have sold to the company previously.

A reputable property buying company should demonstrate credibility, experience and customer service.

How the Process Works

Selling to a property-buying company follows these key steps:

  • Initial enquiry – register property details online or via phone for an initial market valuation.
  • Site survey – company surveyor visits to assess property size, condition and access.
  • Formal offer – a formal purchase offer is presented based on the surveyor’s valuation.
  • Offer review – time is given to consider the offer terms with legal advice.
  • Acceptance – seller and buyer representatives sign the contract and the deposit is paid.
  • Due diligence – buyer conducts building surveys and legal compliance checks.
  • Completion – the balance of funds paid on the property transfer date.
  • Handover – keys released once sale monies clear.

The process is streamlined but sellers should still engage legal advice.

Valuation Factors

Key elements that property-buying companies consider when valuing homes include:

  • Location – desirability of the local property market and demand profile.
  • Property type – pricing varies for houses, apartments, bungalows etc.
  • Condition – maintenance issues and repair requirements are factored in.
  • Size – gross and net usable interior and exterior space.
  • Facilities – presence of parking, garages and gardens.
  • Title – easements, planning conditions, leases etc.
  • Accessibility – restrictions that limit market demand.
  • Legal status – unregistered properties carry higher risk.
  • Marketing limitations – costs to upgrade to meet market standards.

Valuations account for multiple risk factors depending on the property attributes.

Negotiating Offers

When presented with an offer, homeowners can negotiate to potentially improve it:

  • Evidence sales – provide examples of higher prices achieved locally for comparable homes.
  • Highlight demand – reference market data or trends suggesting strong buyer appetite.
  • Clarify errors – correct factual inaccuracies in property details influencing the valuation.
  • Justify upgrades – present cost estimates to address deficiencies depressing the valuation.
  • Request guarantees – ask for a written valuation expiry period or post-survey price protection.
  • Offer incentives – propose a fast completion or flexible move date to boost appeal.
  • Initiate competition – mention alternative offers to apply pressure for an improved deal.

While limited, some upward negotiation may be possible using persuasive arguments grounded in evidence.

Making the Decision

Key considerations for homeowners deciding whether to accept an ‘as is’ offer include:

  • Other options – compare sale times, prices and costs using traditional agents or auctions.
  • Price suitability – is the offer enough to meet your onward plans?
  • Market timing – are prices rising or falling suggesting delay or acceptance?
  • Local demand – is buyer competition high enough to wait for a better price?
  • Personal situation – does your timeline allow holding out for top value?
  • Property condition – are defects tolerable for mainstream buyers?
  • Emotional readiness – are you willing to forgo maximum financial gain for convenience?

The merits of acting fast for a fair but reduced price should be carefully weighed.

Managing Expectations

Homeowners using property-buying companies should understand:

  • Below-market offers – houses with good fundamentals can achieve higher prices selling conventionally.
  • Sale motivation – companies act in their interests, not yours. Negotiate firmly.
  • Transaction complexity – professional advice assists in managing legal contracts and tax.
  • Sale preparation is still advised – decluttering and cleaning make valuations easier.
  • Process limitations – an offer does not guarantee purchase if surveys uncover issues.
  • Other hidden costs – you may require post-completion bridging finance.

Being realistic about the disadvantages ensures a pragmatic decision about the suitability of this sales route.

Alternatives to Consider

For homeowners who would benefit from a fast sale but want to maximise price, alternative quick sale options exist:

  • Sealed bids – agent invites best offers by a set deadline after property viewings.
  • Auctions – buying at auction provides buyers incentive for speed to secure preferred lots.
  • Investors – approach direct investors seeking off-market discounted deals for fast cash.
  • Property reporting – pre-listing inspections identify required repairs to satisfy buyers.
  • Pre-valuations – establishing your property’s true market value informs your strategy.
  • Sale-and-Rent – bridge sale and new home delays by initially renting.

While still offering accelerated sales, these may secure better prices than selling ‘as is’.

Conclusion

In summary, property-buying companies fill a niche for homeowners needing pragmatic solutions by purchasing homes in ‘as is’ condition. While providing speed and convenience, sellers sacrifice achieving full market price potential. Weighing up personal priorities against financial implications is essential to determine if this route is appropriate. For sellers prioritising practicality over maximum value, property-buying companies present a credible option if reputable firms are used. But for those able to prepare their home for sale and wait for the best price, alternative fast sale routes may deliver improved financial outcomes.

We are proud members of...

  • NAPB
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  • Trading Standards

We are proud to be the most regulated property buyer operating in the ‘Quick House Sale’ industry. We are an active member of the NAPB (National Association Of Property Buyers) and are RICS regulated, which means you can have every confidence of selling your home with us quickly & easily.