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Speedy sales adding fraud risks for estate agents – warning

Speedy property sales may not be as good as they seem, an industry figure has warned.

Recent figures released by Rightmove indicate that the time taken to sell a property has halved over the past three years. 

Time on the market has dropped from an average of 67 days three years ago to just 33 days now, according to the portal’s data.


However, the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) says this fall is not necessarily good news for everyone.

Spokesman Jonathan Rolande warned: “Quickfire sales sound great on one hand, but on the other this may present an open door to fraudsters who could see it as a chance to try and capitalise on the speedy nature of the chain.

“Property fraud is already a massive and growing problem and those who fall victim to it often end up losing a lot of money.  

“Estate agents and solicitors are on the frontline when it comes to detecting and preventing property fraud. 

“However, if they are overworked and too busy as they race to complete a deal really quickly then detectable signs of a problem could easily be missed.  

“With solicitors harder to speak to and many now operating remotely, more and more work is done by email. It’s highly likely you won’t speak to your conveyancing solicitor let alone meet them. 

“Fraudsters know this and therefore try to intercept email to divert money from property sales to their own bank account. Never pay anyone based on an email requesting cash. Always check using a trusted number or an in-person conversation with the recipient.”

Rolande, the co-founder of House Buy Fast, said the supply shortage is also adding extra pressure for surveyors as buyers want to secure sales and avoid missing out on a property.

He added: “There is increased pressure on property surveyors right now too. Could this race to complete faster and faster mean they miss something? It’s possible. With property, the devil is in the detail. 

“Deeds and leases are a tough read at the best of times but they often contain vital clues to possible problems. 

“I wonder whether those agreeing to quick sales are also including buyers who are willing turn a blind eye to structural and repair issues knowing that losing a property will probably mean paying even more for one similar down the line. It’s a high risk strategy.

"Where possible it is best to avoid unnecessary risk like this as you could be storing up problems down the line which end up being really expensive to fix."

  • Shaun Adams

    Speedy sales may be fast to agree a sale but the time to exchange has now got longer due to high case loads and conveyancing fees driven down. At Cooper Adams we get the legals prepped before launch shaving weeks or months off. Solicitors do not email payment details nowadays. Houses selling quickly for full market rate must make it difficult for the 'WeBuyFast' companies.


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