Everything You Need To Know:​

What is the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB)?

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We’d love to be able to tell you that the horror stories about the cash homebuying industry are just rare cases that have been wildly exaggerated. But sadly, this is not the case. The cash homebuying industry is full of dodgy dealers who don’t care about helping you, they just want to help themselves and make a fast buck.

Of course, they’re not all like that. Some cash homebuyers actually want to help you, by providing a prompt, professional service by buying your home fast at a fair price. 

Fortunately, there is one way of sorting the wheat from the chaff, the conmen from the genuine cash homebuyers, and that’s to see if they are members of the National Association of Property Buyers, better known as the NAPB.

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Just like the NAPB, the Property Sale Watchdog has thoroughly vetted dozens of UK cash homebuyers to help you to identify who you should do business with and who you should avoid.

Our expert researchers ranked each one based on their cash offers, reliability, customer service and 15 more metrics – including whether they are members of the NAPB and The property Ombudsman.

Our research showed us that ‘My Homebuyers’ are the top choice by a significant margin. They will give you the best genuine cash offer, without asking you to sign a contract or pay any fees.

Click the button below to see exactly why we recommend My Homebuyers as your best option, and how you can use the free Safe Connect™ programme to get VIP treatment from them.

 

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what the NAPB is, what it does for members, what it can do for you and why you should trust it as part of your research when it comes to choosing a cash buyer for your home. We’ll also explain the limitations of the organisation, and why it should only be part of your due diligence process.

What is the NAPB?

The National association of Property Buyers is a voluntary organisation created and run by the cash homebuying sector, for the cash homebuying sector. To quote the NAPB website: 

‘The NAPB is run by members who are keen to help sellers decide whether a professional cash buyer is right for them. 100% of all income generated by the organisation is re-invested in to marketing and promotion to assist sellers in reaching a decision that’s right for them.

The NAPB describes itself as a group of professionals committed to providing the highest possible standards in the property buying sector.

What the NAPB isn’t

While the NAPB is a positive step forward for the property buying sector, it is important to understand its limitations. The NAPB is run by the industry and is not an independent body. It is not government appointed or formally approved, although the HM Government ‘How to Sell Guide’ does state that:

‘One option to sell your home may be to consider a company offering an instant cash purchase… you should use a firm that is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB), as they are signed up to The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice.’

Although it insists that all members are also members of the Property Ombudsman, and must follow their strict code of practice and agree to their mediation in disputes, the NAPB itself has no powers of its own. It cannot discipline its members beyond kicking them out of the organisation, and it cannot directly protect home sellers or mediate on disputes.

Why was the NAPB formed?

The NAPB was formed in 2013, in response to a frankly damning Office of Fair Trading report on the cash homebuying sector. This report identified ‘business practices that may not comply with the law and practices that fall short of the standards we would expect of businesses in this sector’.

Faced with the prospect of stifling government regulation, which would be complicated and expensive to comply with, the industry set up its own self-regulation body in an effort to improve standards across the sector.

Who started the NAPB?

A common problem of self-regulation is the fact that by definition, industries end up regulating themselves, creating a conflict of interests. This is the case with the NAPB, and to some extent, it dilutes their authority and independence as a result.

The NAPB was set up buy one of the cash homebuying companies, House Buy Fast, and their director, Jonathan Rolande, remains the one and only director of the NAPB.

That said, many of the founder members are still members, and this demonstrates an ongoing commitment to improving the practices and transparency of this much maligned sector.

What are the criteria for joining the NAPB?

Membership of the National Association of Property Buyers is completely voluntary. However, with an annual membership of just £250, you have to ask why a legitimate cash homebuyer would not want to join and align themselves with such an organisation. What have they got to hide?

NAPB membership is only open to companies who buy properties directly themselves. This means that it does not admit companies who broker deals in the background without actually buying homes. 

According to the NAPB website, ‘potential members must demonstrate that they run a professional business (with the appropriate insurance cover in place to protect consumers) and a genuine commitment to upholding high standards in their business dealings so consumers are always treated fairly throughout the process of their house sale’.

Members also have to be members of The Property Ombudsman and agree to follow their strict code of practice and complaints mediation processes.

What is the Property Ombudsman?

The Property Ombudsman defends the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights within the property sector.

The Property Ombudsman has a specific category for fast home sale companies and these companies have to adhere to a strict ‘Code of Practice for Residential Buying Companies’. 

The Property Ombudsman has been also been providing consumers and property agents with an independent and impartial dispute resolution service since 1990.

In many ways, a cash buyer’s membership of The Property Ombudsman is more practical and more meaningful to sellers than membership of the National Association of Property Buyers. TPO membership should be the minimum criteria for a cash homebuyer to make your shortlist.

However, it is important to understand that even The Property Ombudsman has its limitations. For example, section 4i of their guidelines allows companies to drop their offer price ‘late in the process’ as long as they have a ‘valid reason’. And you can be sure that a dodgy cash homebuyer will be able to come up with a ‘valid reason’ to get around this rule.

You can check if your chosen cash homebuyer is a member of the Property Ombudsman by visiting their website at https://www.tpos.co.uk/find-a-member.

Constantly changing membership

The cash homebuying sector is in constant flux, with companies coming and going all the time. Part of this is due to the risks involved in buying properties so quickly, which can easily lead to big losses. Another reason is the impact of unexpected circumstances, such as Covid or a sudden economic shock, which can quickly put a company out of business. 

However, there is also an element of hit-and-run, where companies set up, make as much money as they can from shady practices. They then disappear again just as fast, before anyone can chase them for their money.

In the past year, the member list of the NAPB has shrunk from 49 to 41, with 14 companies disappearing and six new companies joining. This may be partly due to name changes and rebranding, but it also shows how fluid the cash homebuying industry can be.

The NAPB listings show you how long a company has been a member. Just like the length of time that they have been in business, the longer the better when it comes to credibility and trust.

Current members of the NAPB

There are currently 41 members listed on the members page of the National Association of Property Buyers.

  1. Any House Wanted
  2. Bettermove
  3. Bye Bye House
  4. Clear Sale
  5. Estates UK
  6. Fast Sale Today
  7. Francis Group
  8. Gaffsyn
  9. Good Move
  10. Halo House Buyers
  11. Highpoint Senior Living
  12. Home House Buyers
  13. House Buy Fast
  14. House Buyer Bureau
  15. Housebuyers4u
  16. My Homebuyers
  17. My Local Property Buyer
  18. National Housebuyers
  19. National Residential
  20. Open Property Group
  21. Property Buyers Today
  22. Property Rescue
  23. Property Sale Now
  24. Property Solvers Ltd
  25. Quick and Simple House Sale
  26. Quick Move Now
  27. Quick Property Buyer
  28. Sell Your Property 356
  29. Serene Homes
  30. Smoothsale
  31. Speed Property Buyers
  32. Spring
  33. Sprinkbok Properties Ltd
  34. The Assisted Sale Company
  35. The Property Buying Company 
  36. UK Home Buyers
  37. Upstix
  38. We Buy Any Home
  39. We Buy Property
  40. Ziphouse Ltd
  41. Zoom Property Buyer

Unfortunately, there is currently no search facility on the NAPB website, so you need to scroll down the list to see if your chosen cash homebuyer is there. This is not made easy by the fact that they are not listed in alphabetical order, or even in order of joining. To complicate things further, the order of the list changes every time you open the site, presumably so no company gets favouritism over any other.

Membership is voluntary

It’s worth remembering that membership of the National Association of Property Buyers is voluntary. Therefore, you could make the case that companies who choose to join do so because they care about the image of their industry and want to do something about it.

Joining costs money and also means that they have to register with The Property Ombudsman, if they aren’t already registered. It is not something a cash homebuyer will do lightly and the decision to join should be respected and taken as a positive sign that the company is worth considering.

Of course, since membership is not compulsory in any way, not being a member is not necessarily a bad thing or a black mark against a cash homebuyer. You will notice that a number of the major players are absent from the list, yet they still operate in a fair and reasonable way. Some companies operate fairly and reputably, but simply do not wish to align themselves with the NAPB. This is their choice, and you could always ask them why they haven’t joined.

At the same time, lack of compulsory membership, and the Property Ombudsman regulation that comes with it, makes the NAPB ineffective when it comes to self-regulation of the cash homebuying industry. With just 41 members out of hundreds of cash buying companies out there, most of the industry is still free to operate however they like, without regulation or consequences. 

The NAPB logo

The logo of the National Association of Property Buyers is simple and distinctive and looks like this:

However, just seeing this logo on a cash homebuyer’s website does not automatically mean that they are a member, and that they have agreed to conform to the rules and guidelines that come with it. 

It is very easy to cut and paste the logo, just like we have done above, without paying the membership fee or agreeing to any form of regulation. Shady cash buyers will do all they can to look legitimate using tricks like this, and so you should never take this logo, or any others for that matter, at face value. You should always go direct to the source and check their membership on the NAPB website.

If a cash homebuyer is showing the NAPB logo, but they are not listed on the NAPB site when you check, then you should inform the NAPB of this. They will then contact the company and ask them to remove the logo. This helps other sellers to avoid scams and stick to legitimate cash homebuying companies who care about standards and customer protection.

How is the NAPB funded?

The NAPB is not a government organisation or regulator, and as such it receives no external funding. It’s only source of money is the fees paid by member companies. With just 41 members, this means that they have just over £10,000 per year to spend.

Their website says that ‘100% of all income generated by the organisation is re-invested in to marketing and promotion to assist sellers in reaching a decision that’s right for them’. 

However, once you have taken off administration costs and the cost of running and updating the website, it’s clear that the NAPB has very little left for such ‘marketing and promotion’. With such a limited budget, it is hard to see how the NAPB is able to make any substantial difference to the industry or the wider perceptions of it.

So what does the NAPB do for its members and for potential sellers in the cash homebuying sector?

What does the NAPB do for members?

The National Association of Property Buyers provides a shop window for its members, where they can demonstrate that they operate to the highest standards and that they will treat their customers fairly. 

Each listing comes with a logo, a brief description of the company and a click through link to their website for further information.

The NAPB is also active in promoting and raising awareness of the cash property buying sector through PR and media work. It claims to be working with the Government to look into ways to improve and regulate the sector, but it does not give details of this work.

What can the NAPB do for you?

The role of the National Association of Property Buyers is two-fold for potential sellers. 

Firstly, as discussed above, they bring together some of the better cash house buying companies and provide a listing for you to pick from. In this way, they save you trawling through hundreds of companies, looking for the genuine firms amongst the many charlatans.

Of course, this list is only judged by a single metric – membership of The Property Ombudsman. For a much more comprehensive overview, which helps you judge companies on a far wider range of criteria, check out the Property Sale Watchdog cash homebuyer reviews.

The second role of the National Association of Property Buyers is to educate people about the industry. Their website contains a range of informative articles, such as ‘How to sell your property without estate agents’ and news stories covering the housing market in general.

Once again, you can find all this information right here on the Property Sale Watchdog site. What’s more, you’ll find that our articles are written from a more balanced, independent perspective than you will find on an industry run site like the NAPB.

What does the NAPB not do?

By its own admission, the National Association of Property Buyers is not a regulator or a redress scheme, and frankly it is toothless in the face of shady practices, poor customer service or abuse of trust.

Since members are required to be members of The Property Ombudsman, which is both a regulator and a redress scheme, and which does have teeth when it comes to bad behaviour and customer disputes, you could almost ask what is the point of the NAPB existing at all. 

However, any attempt to raise standards in such a shady industry needs to be applauded and supported, so here at the Property Sale Watchdog, we fully support the National Association of Property Buyer and all that it is bravely trying to achieve for the sector.

The NAPB in the media

As well as representing its members, and providing reassurance for users, the NAPB also plays a role in raising awareness of cash homebuying in the media. 

The organisation has featured on TV and radio, on GB News, Radio 5Live and LBC, and it is seen as the voice of the cash homebuying sector in almost all national newspapers, including The Telegraph, The Sun, The Times, The Guardian and many more.

The NAPB has been part of research by Which?, both in print and online, and has also been quoted by the online news resource Huffpost.

With the cash homebuying industry constantly attracting negative publicity, it is important to have the NAPB to put forward an alternative, and positive, point of view.

The NAPB is just part of your research

While finding that your chosen cash homebuyer is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers is a good start, it should not be the only criteria on which to base your decision. 

Elsewhere on the Property Sale Watchdog website you’ll find articles setting out step by step how to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate cash buyer. These steps include:

  1. Checking Companies House
  2. Checking how long they have been operating
  3. Checking memberships of NAPB, TPO and the Information Commissioner’s Office
  4. Asking about their track record
  5. Asking for proof of funds
  6. Looking for a published complaints procedure
  7. Speaking to past customers
  8. Looking at their offer
  9. Making sure they don’t ask you to sign a contract

As you can see, although membership of the NAPB is a good sign, it is just part of the due diligence process. With thousands of pounds at stake, you need to be thorough in your research. Remember, it only costs £250 to join the NAPB, and the entry criteria are not very demanding, so membership only tells you so much about the company in question.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the National Association of Property Buyers is a good thing, as far as it goes. It shows a willingness from certain companies to raise standards and separate themselves from the seedier elements of the cash homebuying sector. 

Given how bad things can get at the dodgier end of the industry, this can only be a positive thing. It will hopefully lead to a more general improvement, creating a cash homebuying industry that is respected, rather than suspected.

The NAPB does work hard to promote legitimate cash homebuyers, and to educate the press and the general public about how a quick cash deal works. Once again, in an industry shrouded in mystery and mischief, this can only be a good thing.

Yet however well-meaning it may be, the NAPB isn’t all that picky when it comes to membership, or all that effective when it comes to regulating the sector. It is not an independent regulator, like The Property Ombudsman, or the regulators that police the wider estate agency sector. The NAPB is the industry policing itself, by its own rules, and it needs to be seen as such.

The NAPB alone falls a long way short of the kind of detail and in-depth assessment you’ll find here at the Property Sale Watchdog, and as such it has limited value when it comes to choosing the right cash homebuyer.

That said, any regulation or organisation is better than nothing, and it does give the better cash buyers a way to distinguish themselves from the pack. Taken in context, the National Association of Property Buyers is a useful addition to your toolbox when it comes to picking which company to work with for your quick cash home sale.

You don't have to do this alone

To understand why going through us is both better and safer, instead of going directly to your home buying company of choice, click the button below.

We want to help out as many people as possible. That’s why we created this comprehensive article. Depending on your preference and circumstances, we’ll connect you for free with one of our strictly vetted, ethical partners.

They will help you sell your property for the best offer you can realistically achieve. They will take care of all of the legal processes and fees and you’ll get the cash straight into your bank account.

With our partners you can achieve a very fast sale or a slower one if you’re not pressed on time. Faster sales usually yield a lesser price but they save you time. It all depends on your circumstances and preference.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide has given you ample guidance on how to stop the repossession of your home. We’ve aimed to arm you with as much knowledge as possible. We hope you feel better prepared for any eventuality. 

Remember – your financial health is important, but mental health must always come first. 

Wherever you are in the process, make sure you talk to people regularly, whether it’s friends, family, trusted coworkers, or helpful agencies. 

Taking time away from dealing with phone calls and paperwork is crucial for clearing your mind, and keeping your sanity in tough times. 

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