AssuredSale: A better way to buy and sell houses

Last post: Nov 11, 2011

A new service launched this week that aims to save all house buyers and sellers the heartache and hassle that occurs when the other party pulls out before contracts are exchanged.

A new service launched this week that aims to save all house buyers and sellers the heartache and hassle that occurs when the other party pulls out before contracts are exchanged. asks both parties to put up a fixed sum of money - called a "bond" - before they exchange as a sign of their commitment to the deal. The amount put up by each party depends on the value of the transaction (e.g. for a £250,000 property it's £1,000; for a £500,000 property it's £2,000; for a £1m property it's £5,000 and so on) and the money is held in a secured, neutral bank account. If either party pulls out, the other gets the money. We're all familiar with the stories: a house is for sale and the Vendors accept an offer. On the strength of this the Vendors make an offer on another property and it too is accepted. Before you know it they are excitedly packing all their belongings and awaiting for exchange and completion to begin their new life in their new home. Then the call comes from the Estate Agent: "Um...when the Buyer said they had funds in place... er... it seems it isn't quite so...". Devastation - not just for them but for everyone in the chain. Or from the other side: a young couple are house hunting an find the property of their dreams; they secure a mortgage and build their hopes on moving to the area and raising a family in their perfect house. They have surveys and searches done and expend a lot of time and emotional energy on the purchase. However, a week before exchange is due to take place, the Vendor changes their mind and decide not to sell. Heartbreak. We all think it will never happen to us but would it surprise you to learn that 1 in 3 attempted house purchases in England end like this? It numerical terms that's 200,000 potential sales and it leaves a multiple of this number in disappointed and annoyed people. It has been long said in this country that the way we buy and sell houses is far from perfect but until now, no one has actually done anything about it. For this reason we welcome the concept of and think it's a good idea to ask both parties to make a financial commitment to the process before contracts are exchange - this could save us all a lot of time and hassle by weeding out the time wasters from those who really want to buy/sell. The idea for this site - as with many businesses - came from the experience of the Founder. Tim Price lost over £2,000 and 2 months of his life when the Vendor of the house he wanted to buy pulled out at the last minute. While a bond from AssuredSale won't guarantee that anyone's sale will go through, it does at least call on both parties to make a monetary statement of intent - put their money where their mouth is, so to speak - and this should make everyone think a bit more carefully about what they are entering into at an earlier stage in the process. A cost, there may be, but if you work that hard to find a property, secure the best remortgage deal and plan your home there, don't you think it's worth a little extra to make the sale more secure? Will this catch on? Well, it does face some obstacles. Firstly there is no legal obligation on either party to place a bond with - this is an entirely voluntary service. Secondly, the Founders of this site are battling against natural human apathy to have their idea adopted - new ideas and concepts take time to enter the public conscience. And thirdly, it's going to take a big effort to make everyone aware that this service exists. Indeed until it is better known, in any one party in a house sale contract suggests to the other that they place a bond with AssuredSale, it's quite possible that the party unaware of the concept will become highly suspicious and the sale be thwarted for this reason alone. That said, we think it's an excellent idea. Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" and in some ways the current house buying process in England is like this. Maybe it's time for some fresh thinking on the issue and with a bit more awareness on this new option, perhaps this is an idea whose time has finally come. See