Scams are rife in the quick house buying sector with many companies seeking to take advantage of sellers in desperate situations.
That’s the claim made by one of the companies in the sector, GoodMove.
The company’s director, Ross Counsell, says one of the biggest tell tale signs of a likely scam is if the quick buy company offers full market value for a home.
“You should expect to receive less than market value. So, if a quick house sale company is offering you 100 per cent of the market value, this could be a red flag that the business is not legitimate” he says.
“You should also look to see if the company is approved and regulated by the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman as a minimum – if not, again this could be a sign that they shouldn’t be trusted” Counsell adds.
Controversially, he also describes online reviews as “a great way to check if the company is reputable.” He explains this by saying: “Check to see if the company has reviews from genuine customers before putting your trust in them – most reputable companies will use a trusted partner review site, such as TrustPilot, feefo or Reviews.co.uk."
Online reviews are regularly touted by companies as signs of customer satisfaction depending on the quality of reviews they themselves have secured. However, reviews vary massively from site to site. For example, it is well known within the agency industry that Purplebricks has many highly favourable reviews on Trustpilot, yet many relatively poor reviews on another online service, allAgents.
Nonetheless, GoodMove insists review sites are a reliable indicator of a quick buy company’s performance.
“Check to see if reviews are up to date as well and look out for any falsified reviews. Falsified reviews can be hard to spot, but key things to look out for are multiple reviews within hours or days of each other with similar turns. Nobody should fall victim to a scam, especially when they are trusting a company with something so important as selling their home” says Counsell.
On the GoodMove website the company goes into more detail of how fake reviews can be spotted.
It says: “Repeated reviews are a red flag, as are lots of reviews using identical wording. With any house selling company, and especially ‘we buy any house’ style companies, reviews are very important to build trust with potential sellers, so a disreputable business might try to artificially boost their rating to attract new clients.
“Look for reviews that specifically mention anything that’s been negatively rated in the past – of course, most of the time reviews are likely to be legitimate, from sellers like yourself, but keep an eye out for especially negative reviews followed by several glowing ratings immediately following it, in order to offset the bad rating."