OFT launches study into quick house sales

Quick house sale providers offer to buy a house or find a third party buyer very quickly, usually at a discount from the full market value.

The OFT yesterday (18th May) launched a study into the market calling for people who have used, or considered using, these businesses to contact the OFT about their experiences.

They are concerned that homeowners making use of the service may be receiving far less than their property is worth, particularly the risk to those in financial difficulty.

Consumers at risk may also include those who need to sell their property quickly following a relationship breakdown or the elderly, who might need money to pay for their care.

They pointed to several practices of particular concern. These included; unclear fee structures, last minute price reductions and misleading claims about property value.

The OFT has asked over 50 quick house sale firms to provide information on their business models and practices and welcomes evidence from people with experience of this sector, including valuation experts, estate agents, debt advisors and home owners.

Cavendish Elithorn, OFT Senior Director for Goods and Consumer, said: “Businesses offering quick house sales may provide a useful service for homeowners who need to unlock cash in a hurry.

“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.

"We want to hear from anyone who has used a quick house sale provider, whether they have had a good or bad experience with the business.

“We will protect the confidence of anyone who contacts us and their information will be invaluable in helping us to build up a picture of the market and establish whether we need to take action.”

For more information, click here. Anyone who wishes to contact the OFT can email [email protected], call 08457 22 44 99 or write to the address below by 16 May 2013.

Quick house sales, 7th Floor, Office of Fair Trading Fleetbank House 2-6 Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8JX

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