Dropping offers is common practice, but it's not our practice
Sadly, many property buyers use surveys as an opportunity to “pick holes” in your property so they can come back and reduce their offer. The figure they drop their offer to is usually what they knew they really wanted to pay all along. They just know that you're more likely to accept the low figure 3 or 4 weeks into the process than you are at the start.
We see this practice from all types of buyers: Ordinary individuals buying their next home, property investors, and many professional home-buying companies too.
It's extremely unfair and dishonest, but has become a standard tactic in the property market. We do not use it though.
For us the most important thing is reputation
The thing is, none of those buyers (we're talking about ordinary individuals, property investors, and a lot of home-buying companies) have any long-term considerations to worry about.
Reducing an offer after a survey can save thousands of pounds. This is why it's rife in the property market.
For an ordinary seller buying their next home £3,000 is a huge sum of money. They can save that much with just a couple of phone calls to an estate agent. When else does someone get to make £3,000 with one or two phone calls? It's like a lottery win. It's the same for investors.
There's no incentive for them not to do this.
It's different for us.
We're here for the long-term.
We're not just buying one property like a private individual. And we're not just buying a couple of houses a year from different estate agents like property investors do.
We're here trying to buy hundreds of homes. And since we can only buy properties at a discount, it means getting hundreds of customers is really really hard (click to read more about how much we offer).
Sellers only choose to sell to us because we offer a great service: A fast, stress-free sale arranged to their timeframes. So if we undermined that service by reducing our offer mid-way through the sale, or not hitting the completion date our customer picked then we'll get bad reviews.
Almost all our potential customers read our reviews before contacting us - so it'd mean other sellers won't want to sell to us, and we won't have a business.
Why it's in our interest to stick to the price:
Sticking to the price = better reputation and reviews = more customers in the future
So because we're in it for the long-term, and because we're thinking about our reputation and all our future transactions it means we have a massive incentive to stick to the price.
And that's what we do. Our outstanding reviews should prove that and give you peace of mind.
This is why we say that the survey is only there to find major issues - not to nit-pick.
Aren't all home-buying companies in it for the long term though?
No. There are a lot of small businesses run by individuals or small teams who aren't thinking about their reputation. Getting a few extra thousand pounds from a property goes straight into their back-pocket, and they're fine with that. They aren't bothered about the longer term consequences, because they're just trying to make money now.
And online reviews can be... Unreliable
For a lot of these companies, they also know they can white-wash their online reputation. They can place dozens of positive reviews for themselves for every actual customer review they get. This helps them drown-out the negative, and maintain a great rating despite how they really treat customers.
Here's an example from an actual home-buying company:
When you read the first few 1-star reviews you get a feel for how this company really operates, and you'll know the positive reviews can't be genuine. We've never placed fake reviews: all our reviews are 100% genuine.
Back to surveys
So, reputation is the most important thing to us. This means we desperately want to deliver the price we agreed, on the date we agreed.
So when we get the survey results we're not interested in minor issues like damp, missing roof tiles, cosmetic factors and so on. These will already have been picked up during our valuation process and factored into our offer.
The only time that the survey findings may impact the sale or the price we have agreed is if a serious defect is found with the property – like subsidence, for example.
Serious defects are rare - and most homeowners already know about them
In reality though, 9 out of 10 times where a severe issue like this is exists, the homeowner is already aware of it.
Usually, the seller will already have made us aware of the issue too at the start of the process. This means that we can factor the cost of the remedial work into our offer, so when such a result comes up on the survey it still doesn’t affect the price we’re willing to pay.
- The survey is there to satisfy our compliance requirements, and to protect us against sellers deliberately failing to disclose serious issues with their properties
- The survey is not about "nit-picking" or looking for excuses to reduce the offer
- Reputation is the most important thing to us. So reducing the price will hurt us more than benefit us.
- Sticking to the price = better reviews and reputation = more customers in the future