National Homebuyers First Contact
On the first call I spoke to an agent who’s first asked me if I knew how they worked or if I wanted more information, I asked for more information. They then asked me how I found them and if it was through a letter that I had received to which I replied no I had found them online.
The agent then went on to explain that they are a cash buying company and could provide me a safe guaranteed hassle free house sale because they are not tied to constraints of traditional house buyers, like needing a mortgage for example.
They then went on to explain that they are not like some house buying companies who only list your property and try to sell it on your behalf.
This is an interesting thing to bring up at this point and it is certainly a practice worth avoiding if you are looking for a quick guaranteed house sale. You can read more about shady practices used by some house buying companies here.
They then went on to explain that 4 – 6 weeks is a comfortable timeframe for them to be able to buy my property but if I needed it slightly quicker than that they could likely accommodate that. At this point they also informed my that the service isn’t for everyone since I will get below market value for my house and they ask me if that is acceptable to me.
Next was some questions about the property and my situation in regards to selling the property.
Then the operator gave me a ‘very rough ballpark figure’ based on the recent sales of similar properties that had sold in my area.
During this part there was a prolonged silence as the agent typed away at their keyboard making the odd muffled sound here and there. It was noticeable that they were in a loud call centre with lots of activity going on in the background.
They came back with quite a wide range, which spanned £15,000 from the low figure to the high figure and the agent asked me if that was in an acceptable range.
I said yes and they explained that the next step was to book a call with their manager who could give me a clearer idea of what the offer would be.
They then confirmed some further details about the property (which took a rather long time due to the amount of typing between questions) and booked me a time slot with the manager.
At this point they asked me if I had any further questions, which of course I did. This threw up something fairly interesting. I asked how do I know they won’t change the offer further down the line and the agent said that ‘they get around this’ by not firming up an offer fully until the point of exchange of contracts, which sounds like a way of saying that the offer could change at any point.
Also an interesting point to note was that the agent hadn’t actually heard of the NAPB and actually had to go on to the NAPB website to check if they were members.
After my questioning the agent let me know that I would receive an email after the phone call inviting me to leave a review if I had found the service I had received so far to be good (more on this later). This first call lasted around 25 minutes.
National Homebuyers Second Call
The second call was with the manager and was short and to the point. Firstly he reconfirmed some of the information that I had provided and asked me a few additional questions about the property and spoke through the recent sold prices in the area and my reasons for selling.
He then went on to say that because they “don’t know what it is worth” they would work of a figure for now that they would base their offer on. He then talked about the market saying that traditional house sales through estate agents are taking around 4 – 5 months at the moment.
He then went on to explain that if I could work with the offer that he makes the next step would be to send an agent around to carry out a market appraisal of the property at which point they would make their “final offer” and they could purchase the property “as quickly as your solicitors could move”.
A couple of points worth noting. The “final offer” despite it’s name isn’t necessarily the final amount you will receive as it is “subject to survey” now this is fairly standard practise because if any major issues are raised on the survey any house buyer would have to revise their offer.
The other point is the emphasis being put on your solicitor to hit the timeframe, while this is true to a certain extent it does sound like they are setting the scene to pass the blame of any future delays on you and not them.
At the end of the call the manager said he would send an email with the offer which he did and gave me his direct telephone number. If I wanted to accept the offer I simply have to reply to the email.
National Homebuyers Sales Process
The National Homebuyers have a two step sales process;
Step 1: There is a first call, which acts as a sort of screening call where they give you a ballpark figure to qualify your interest. If you are ok with the rough number then you are booked on a call with a more experienced closer.
Step 2: There is a call with the manager. This is a very quick call where the manager provides you with an actual offer figure which is then followed up with an email. You can then either phone them directly or respond to the email to accept the ‘offer’.
National Homebuyers Valuation Process
According to National Homebuyers their valuation process has 3 steps;
Step 1: A desktop valuation – the agent on the phone will ask you questions about the property and take a look at recent sold prices of similar properties in your area to determine a rough value of your property.
Step 2: Local agent desktops – if you are interested in the offer they will then ask local estate agents that have listed houses within a half mile radius of your property to carry out a desktop valuation, this is similar to what they have already done but will include some local knowledge.
Step 3: A local estate agent will value the property – they will ask a local agent to come around and carry out a market appraisal on your house. The agent can see the condition first hand so can spot any undisclosed defects (cracks, japanese knotweed etc) that might affect the value of the property.
Now it is unclear at what point Step 2 takes place because by this point you have already accepted the offer and they are going to send an agent round to carry out a full market appraisal. After step 3 has been completed you can likely expect a revised offer based on the agents evaluation, be prepared for it to be lower.
What Percentage Do National Homebuyers Offer
The initial offer, based on the value that they provided worked out at just under 83%.
An initial offer of 83%, given the fact that the circumstances I provided didn’t qualify for any stamp duty exemptions, is slightly on the high side.
National Homebuyers Communication
The communication with National Homebuyers beyond the 2 phone calls was simply a follow up email confirming my initial offer which included a short form to fill in if I wanted to proceed with the offer and that was it. I certainly wasn’t hounded or pestered in any way. Communication throughout was professional.
The only other communication I received was an email with the subject “review request” which said that they are currently running a competition and I could win £1000 if I left them a positive review on the service I received.
There are a couple of things that I don’t like about this, the timing being the first, this was sent right after the first call had ended so before I had even received an initial offer and long before anything that could be described as a service. So what am I reviewing, a phone call? Even the worst company in the world could do an ok job on a 20 minute mostly scripted phone call. This makes it seem like a ploy to skew their positive review numbers in their favor.
The second thing that I take exception to is that it is implied that the review has to be positive in order to get entered into the prize draw. This is in fact a breach of the trustpilot guidelines which states that;
“Invitations must be written and structured in a neutral and unbiased way. Leave out any statements that try to persuade customers to write reviews that reflect anything other than their honest, genuine opinion.”
Offering an incentive to leave a review is also a breach of the guidelines;
“Businesses are no longer allowed to offer consumers an incentive of any kind for reviews of any kind. Incentives include, but are not limited to promotional discounts, monetary rewards, loyalty points, gifts, coupons, etc.”