An online agency says it’s offering its customers a kind of ‘fall-through insurance’ after over 100 deals collapsed between mid-March and mid-July.
99Home claims the collapsed transactions “definitely cost vendors as well as buyers in terms of lost mortgage and search fees”.
Estate Agent Today has asked the agency what proportion of sales this number of fall throughs represented; the agency has not responded, but separate correspondence suggests that it believes many of the 100 cases were down to Coronavirus-related problems.
The agency - which offers to sell homes for fees of £99 upwards - is selling the insurance for £78.40p and it offers cover of up to £1,650 including VAT. The maximum duration of the policy is 180 days only.
However, the wording suggests this is for “conveyancing fees” and does not cover the abortive cost of, for example, the online estate agency itself if the deal falls through.
Cover is provided for legal fees and disbursements that cannot be recovered in the event that:
- the buyer has an adverse search on the property, which either restricts, or is detrimental to a successful transaction;
- the buyer’s mortgage lender values the property at less than the amount offered by the buyer;
- structural defects are identified in the property and the cost of rectification work exceeds 10 per cent of the amount offered by the buyer;
- the buyer is diagnosed with a terminal illness, dies, or is given notice of redundancy or relocation, and is unable or unwilling to continue with the purchase.
Although the agency continues to offer an upfront non-returnable fixed fee service, costs for which start at £99 for sellers, it has followed a number of other larger online agencies with a no sale, no fee option.
For this, vendors pay £799, or £999 if their property was within London and the M25.