Quick house sale firms driving the dream home market

Data provided by 13,000 potential customers who visited the firms' website showed just 6.6% cited financial difficulty for wanting to obtain a quick house sale, while almost 60% flagged up relocation or the desire to buy a new house.

Chris Hodgkinson, a director at the House Buyer Bureau, said: “Our research demonstrates that those in financial distress make up only a small proportion of our customer base.

“It also shows that there are many common misconceptions about the quick house sale market, with the industry providing a useful solution to many families who simply want to sell their home quickly in what can be a sluggish market.

“A large number of our clients are looking for a quick sale for reasons such as having to relocate for work and not wanting to leave the house empty when they move to the new area, rather than because they are facing financial problems.”

House Buyer Bureau is backing calls for the formation of a voluntary industry body to prevent bad practice, such as dropping the price at the last minute, pretending to be a cash buyer or tying people into unfair contracts.

It has welcomed proposals by the Office of Fair Trading about the formation of an association of house buying companies and has been working with a small number of other quick house sale companies and The Property Ombudsman to draw up a Code of Conduct for the industry.

Hodgkinson added: “The worst two practices are reducing the price offered, without any legitimate reason, at the point of sale, known as gazundering and locking in customers in unfair contracts, known as option agreements, for six months or more which prevents them, through severe penalties for breach of contract, from selling to anyone else for that period.”

Earlier this year, following a study on the sector, the Office of Fair Trading stated publically that they “found the sector to be dynamic and innovative” and that “responsible quick house sale firms offer a valuable service to consumers who want a quick sale”. They also found there were firms using unfair trading practices that give the industry a bad name.