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  1. Blog
  2. National home buyers review: Are they any good?
12 April 2022

National home buyers review: Are they any good?

Sam Edwards
Writer
National Homebuyers reviews: Are they any good?

Table of contents

  1. 1. What are cash buying companies?
  2. 2. How do National Homebuyers work?
  3. 3. How long does it National Homebuyers to buy my house?
  4. 4. National Homebuyers fees
  5. 5. How much do National Homebuyers pay?
  6. 6. Do I need my own solicitor with National Homebuyers?
  7. 7. National Homebuyers reviews
  8. 8. Are National Homebuyers any good?
  9. 9. National Homebuyers vs Estate agents
  10. 10. Summary: Is it worth using National Homebuyers?
  11. 11. Alternatives to National Homebuyers

Over the past decade, cash buying companies have grown immensely in popularity and appeal. National Homebuyers claims to be one of the oldest and most trusted. With 21 years of trading experience under their belts, how good are National Homebuyers, and can you trust them to buy your property?

What are cash buying companies?

Cash buying companies are businesses that buy your property for a cash sum. Usually, they make a ‘below market value’ offer for your property, and then sell or rent out your property to make a profit.

The reason for their popularity is understandable. The road to homeselling isn’t paved with yellow bricks. For some people, home sales can be a lot of hassle.

Problematic conditions, like Japanese knotweed and subsidence, can prevent your home from finding the right buyer, and the open market can be cruel to even the most prepared vendor. For those who have suffered during the homeselling process, a clear cash offer from a purported trustworthy source has immense appeal.

Theoretically, selling with a cash buying company means you won’t have to deal with a property chain, and in National Homebuyers’ case, you’ll receive a guaranteed cash offer no matter the condition of your property.

How do National Homebuyers work?

National Homebuyers are a traditional cash buying company. In other words, they buy your property for a price below market value in a quick turnaround.

Where National Homebuyers seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors is their claim that they’re ‘opposed to using unprincipled or dishonest tactics that other sell house quick companies resort to’. They go on to draw the distinction between companies that ‘don’t have the capital necessary to make a direct purchase’ and consequently take several months, and them, who can guarantee a sale within weeks.

In their FAQS, National Homebuyers outline their three step process. You can read the extracts below:

1. Information Gathering

The first point of call when it comes to finding out about a particular property is the homeowner. We make a point of spending some time talking to our customers about the local area, the available amenities but also details about the property interior. We also liaise with our local property experts and estate agents to ensure that the most accurate valuation is provided.

2. Valuation Report

The valuation report includes an extensive overview of the information which has been compiled by our dedicated house buying research team about your property, along with our guaranteed cash offer. Our customers can usually expect to receive our cash offer within 7 working days of initial contact with us. Following this, our offer will remain open for 14 days. If you decide to accept the offer, National Homebuyers can arrange a completion date that suits you.

Please note: Homesellers can expect to pay a fee of £300 - £900 for their valuation with National Homebuyers. This fee is apparently refunded upon completion of sale.

3. Acceptance

Once our offer has been accepted, National Homebuyers conduct an internal survey of the property to ensure that the specification and condition of the house is as described. As already mentioned, our customers have 14 days to accept our offer and when they have accepted, are free to choose a completion date which is convenient for them. We would also like to reiterate that our offer will be below market value and that at all stages of the process, National Homebuyers have a dedicated Customer Care Team to work with you to provide a quick, easy and stress-free service, allowing you to sell your house fast.

Please note: National Homebuyers offer to reimburse solicitor’s fees up to £1000 upon completion of sale. This is subject to the exchange of contracts within 30 days of acceptance of an offer.

So, with a sales-pitch that sets them apart from the competition, and a clear three step process, National Homebuyers paints a pretty picture. But are they too good to be true?

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National Homebuyers Review

How long does it National Homebuyers to buy my house?

National Homebuyers state that you can expect the entire process to be finished within four weeks, with money in your bank account by the end of this period. Based on anecdotal evidence from Google Reviews and online discussion boards, there are some discrepancies with this claim, to say the least.

Some reviews suggested that, instead of the four week wait for a sale, it can take anywhere from 11 weeks to six months before contracts could be exchanged. Other vendors described offers being rescinded or dramatically reduced just before contracts were exchanged, leaving them with little option but to continue the sale for much less than what was previously agreed.

National Homebuyers fees

You might be wondering about the kinds of fees to expect with a cash buying company like National Homebuyers. Without an estate agent to employ, as well as an offer to pay up to £1000 of solicitor’s fees, you would expect selling costs to be significantly lower. On the surface, this is true. Unfortunately, the potential costs you could save are surpassed by the potential losses.

What are the costs associated with National Homebuyers?

On their website, National Homebuyers state that they charge a small fee for the agent’s valuation, but they don’t detail how much this is. According to user reviews, this fee can be anything between £300 to £900 based on the price of your property. However, this fee is fully refunded once the property transaction is complete.

They also state that they will pay up to £1,000 of your legal fees upon completion. Unfortunately, conveyancing fees can stretch far beyond £1000, especially in instances where homeowners are buying a new residence at the same time as selling theirs. What’s more, this offer is subject to completion within 30 days of offer acceptance. With some sales having stretched over a period of six to 11 weeks, it’s clear that this offer can be, and has been neglected.

Of course, there are other costs to think about when it comes to selling with National Homebuyers, but these are much more ambiguous because they depend on the speed of the transaction:

Buying another main residence (along with all the other costs associated with it)

If you’re selling a second residence, you probably won’t need to worry about these costs. However, if you’re selling your main residence, you’ll need to purchase a new home. These costs can include estate agent fees, conveyancing fees, and Stamp Duty Land Tax. Naturally, this is a very expensive process, made all the more costly by selling with a cash buying company, as you receive much less return from the sale.

Removal fees

Before you vacate your property, you’ll need to remove all of your belongings. Removal vans usually require a deposit and at least two weeks’ notice before completion day. They can cost anything from £900 to approximately £1700.

Storage fees

If you’re vacating your property and have had little time to find somewhere new, you will need to store your belongings in a storage facility. Storage fees vary depending on how big a container you need and how long you need it for. They can cost hundreds to thousands of pounds.

How much do National Homebuyers pay?

National Homebuyers don’t outrightly say the minimum price that they pay for a property. As there’s no set price list, it’s hard to determine the average figure they pay out to homeowners. What we do know is that, if their reviews are to be believed, National Homebuyers have a history of paying out much less than previously agreed.

What percentage do National Homebuyers offer?

As per standard, cash buying companies generally offer 75 - 85% of a property’s market value, but this can be much less. National Homebuyers state as much in their Terms and Conditions:

National Homebuyers advise that any offer made will be lower than the current market value and, in some cases, this could be considerably lower than the actual market value. Our offer remains open for 14 days. Legal fees are only refunded if the exchange of contracts takes place within 30 days of your signed and dated original acceptance of our offer. National Homebuyers reserve the right to withdraw any offer at any time.’

Last minute offer withdrawals, otherwise known as Gazundering, are reportedly a common tactic by National Homebuyers. One review reported that on the day contracts were to be exchanged, National Homebuyers rescinded their offer in favour of a much lower offer (at least £30,000 less than what was previously accepted). Their reasoning was that the housing market had slowed and there were currently too many properties on the market. In this instance, the offer went from 83% of the property’s market value down to 70%.

Tactics like these leave homesellers between a rock and a hard place. Accept the offer, and you miss out on a good chunk of its market value in favour of a ‘quick’ sale. Choose to disengage from the sale, and you’ll not only lose your valuation fee, but you will be forced to pay legal fees for nothing. This could leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Can you negotiate with National Homebuyers?

There may be room for negotiation, but the success of cash buying companies hinges upon trading lower-than-market-value offers for quick, hassle-free sales. Don’t expect a miracle.

Do I need my own solicitor with National Homebuyers?

Yes, you will need to find and pay for your own conveyancing solicitor if you choose to sell with National Homebuyers. They will pay up to £1000 of your solicitor’s fees but only if contracts are exchanged within 30 days of offer acceptance.

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National Homebuyers reviews

We collated reviews from the top two review sites:

Review websiteRating
Trustpilot4.3/5
Google Reviews4.2/5

Commentary

National Homebuyers rank highly on the two most popular review sites: Trustpilot and Google Reviews. While you would be forgiven for taking this score at face value, we think it’s important to cover a few other aspects of these reviews.

Trustpilot.co.uk

4.3 out of 5 is a great score on Trustpilot. But out of 149 customer reviews, 17% gave National Homebuyers a bad review. That’s a very high percentage especially if you compare it to their competitors:

  • We Buy Any House UK: 8% bad reviews out of 247
  • Goodmove: >1% bad reviews out of 450
  • The Property Buying Company: 4% bad reviews out of 1400

Google Reviews

Like Trustpilot, National Homebuyers score reasonably high on Google Reviews. Positive reviews highlight a very professional service with good efficiency. Poor reviews however, suggest gazundering tactics and prolonged transactions.

Are National Homebuyers any good?

There are enough positive reviews to indicate that National Homebuyers can least guarantee a fast sale with some kind of cash offer above 70% market value. However, we cannot ignore the high number of poor reviews from legitimate users that corroborate in their accusations of poor service and gazundering tactics.

Are they reputable?

‘We buy any house’ companies are unregulated, which means it’s difficult to hold them accountable for bad business ethics and sleaze tactics. But that’s not to say there aren’t groups of cash buying companies that hold themselves to high standards. The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) are a voluntary group of cash buying companies signed up to The Property Ombudsman’s Scheme’s (TPOS) Code of Practice for Residential Property Buying Companies.

Whereas most reputable cash buying companies are members of the above institutions, National Homebuyers are not. However, they have been trading for almost 21 years, which does lend some reputability to their legacy.

National Homebuyers vs Estate agents

As previously stated, selling with National Homebuyers is usually a last resort for most homesellers. Unless your property has irreconcilable problems selling, an estate agent will nearly always guarantee a better sale.

They are regulated

Unlike National Homebuyers, most reliable high street agents are part of The Property Ombudsman Scheme, which means they hold themselves accountable for poor service. Estate agents are also regulated by government legislation, in particular, the Estate Act of 1979.

Sell for more money

Whereas National Homebuyers will buy your property for 70 - 80% of its market value, an estate agent will market your property with an asking price that’s firmly on the money. The chances are your property will sell for a price that you’re happy with.

It’s worth noting, however, that even with an agent, you should always be willing to sell your property for a price that’s 10% below its market value.

Longer process for greater returns

Though selling with an estate agent is a longer process than the National Homebuyer’s reported average, greater returns and a more transparent sale are much more probable outcomes.

The rewards speak for themselves

Selling with a traditional high street agent means you’ll probably have a more dynamic experience than selling with a cash buying company - in other words, you’ll be more involved in the process. This might be a turn-off for some homesellers, but the rewards speak for themselves. Without some time and effort, nothing would ever get done - and agents are paid to take the weight of selling from your shoulders.

Their fee is an incentive

High street estate agents charge a commission, generally 0.75% to 3% of your property’s final sale price. Most even follow a ‘No sale no fee’ guarantee, meaning that if your home doesn’t sell, you don’t have to pay them. As a result, agents are incentivised to sell your property for the highest possible price - not one that’s substantially lower than market value.

Compare agents

As with any service, you should compare estate agents using reliable data. Our free Agent Comparison Tool compares local agents in your area and ranks them according to:

  • Most likely to achieve your asking price
  • Most experience selling properties like yours
  • The quickest to sell

Comparing agents means you’re more likely to be matched up with a reputable agent who will get the most from your property sale. Our dashboard makes it easy to find an agent you’re happy with and book a free no obligation valuation.

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Summary: Is it worth using National Homebuyers?

To help you make your mind up, let’s take a look at their Pros and Cons:

Pros of using National Homebuyers

  • They’re a guaranteed cash buyer with immediate funds available
  • They will buy your property no matter what condition it’s in
  • You might sell much faster than with an estate agent
  • They have good reviews on Google and Trustpilot

Cons of using National Homebuyers

  • Accusations of sleaze tactics in poor reviews on Google and Trustpilot
  • They aren’t regulated by The NAPB or The Property Ombudsman
  • Their cashback promises on solicitor’s fees are subject to contracts being exchanged within 30 days of offer acceptance
  • Your property will be bought for a price that’s 20 - 30% below market value

Alternatives to National Homebuyers

If you’re still keen on using a ‘We buy any house’ company, try one that’s held accountable by the NAPB:

  • The Property Buying Company
  • We Buy Any Home
  • Good Move

Or better still, why not compare agents and find a reliable, local agent that can sell your home for more?

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It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

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