Sellers are being warned to make strict checks before responding to advertisements apparently from prospective buyers.
The National Association of Property Buyers is warning that scammers are attempting to cash in on frustrated sellers as the freeze on sales begins to bite.
"Sellers should always be cautious about just who they are doing business with, but in the current climate there are more people than ever hoping to mislead home owners for financial gain” cautions Jonathan Rolande of the NAPB said.
“Promising unrealistic timescales, slashing prices at the last moment or simply dropping out of a sale leaving a seller high and dry are all tricks used in this kind of market. We are also concerned about the rise of property fraud with many solicitors now out of action which leaves sellers even more vulnerable” he continues.
Sellers are advised to check whether buyers are bona fide by ensuring that any quick-buy firm making an offer is a member of the NAPB: the association insists its members are also in The Property Ombudsman scheme.
"If a sale is agreed to a buyer who isn't in the NAPB the seller is not protected whatsoever. Despite the dire market conditions, many of our members are still purchasing property but it is vital that sellers ensure they are dealing with a reputable member firm and not a fraudster” adds Rolande.
The NAPB is a not-for-profit organisation with an objective of raising standards in the quick-buy sector.