Private House Sales Dealing Safely with Buyers

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Selling a property online means that you are going to make your home available to thousands of potential buyers each day. In fact right now thousands of buyers are making enquiries using the Internet and the majority are doing so safely. In over 10 years experience selling property online I have seen that the overwhelming majority of enquiries are from genuine people. The sad fact of life is just like any high profile website we may attract a few bad eggs just like in the ‘real’ world.
Scare Tactics Don’t Work
I have had lively discussions with heads of estate agent associations, agent only forums and been on live radio and TV debates; one thing for sure is that private house seller safety will always be brought up by agents who may over emphasise the reality of the risks.
The fact is selling a property online like anything advertised in the public arena can potentially attract a scam merchant. The fundamental difference is that when selling a property you have a stringent legal process to protect you. The third party intervention of a conveyancing company or solicitor affords you the ultimate protection. The weakness with a private sale may be an individual who is prepared to do something dodgy to make an apparent sale.

Common sense and not being blinded because of greed will keep you safe online.
Trusting your gut feeling when you feel that something isn’t legitimate means you’re probably right. Is it too good to be true?

My top tips to stay safe when dealing with buyer

Avoid and be suspicious people who talk about a third party i.e. they say they are buying for a client, buying for a relative or that they have investors who are interested in buying your home.

  1. Be suspicious of buyers that don’t ask any questions or show any interest in your home or location. Most genuine buyers will want to know more details.
  2. Never be tempted by buyers that will offer you more than your property is worth or cash deal with a short space of time.
  3. Ask the buyer lots of questions this is very natural to do after all you need assess them as a potential buyer. i.e. “Are they selling a property?  What is there situation? Are they buying jointly or on their own? Do they know your area? What else have they seen? How long have they been looking?  Is their property on the market ? can all be part of a natural conversation.
  4. Reject any financial irregularities i.e. avoiding solicitors, using their solicitors, part cash deals etc…
  5. Insist that everything will be going via a solicitor or conveyancing company.
Myth: Estate agents vet each buyer they send to your house.
The fact is estate agents do not run checks on every buyer that they send to your home. Good estate agents will record the details a buyer and be present when they view your home. The House Shop offer assisted viewings as a bolt on extra to some marketing packages.

When you are a lone seller it makes common sense to show your house to a buyer with a friend for added security. You could also make it known that you will be showing them around with another person present.
Don’t leave valuables lying around. Ensure handbags, wallets and any other valuables are locked away out of sight during a viewing.

I would recommend that you ask for the name, address and contact number before they view your home. Private house sales save our clients thousands in commission and is growing in popularity, it is the future as people take more control of their sales.


The House Shop support Get Safe Online

A joint initiative between the Government, law enforcement, leading businesses and the public sector. The aim of Get Safe Online is to provide computer users and small businesses with free, independent, user-friendly advice that will allow them to use the Internet confidently, safely and securely. You will find many useful tips about shopping or doing business online.


Author Nick Marr

The House Shop

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