Unique online service launched to transform home sales process in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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AssuredSale’s secured bond commits buyer and seller to home transactions

AssuredSale, an innovative online service to reduce the number of failed property transactions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has been launched by entrepreneur Tim Price.

The pioneering service ensures the completion of a home sale by committing the seller and buyer to enter into a pre-exchange bond with funds held in a secure bank account – so if either party subsequently withdraws, the bond is automatically forfeited to the other party.

The cost of the bond to buyer and seller is tiered in line with the value of the property involved so for example, could range from £500 to £1,000 for a three-bedroom family home with a UK average price of £162,000.

AssuredSale charges a fee to both the buyer and seller as it is designed to reduce the number of failed property deals for buyers, sellers, estate agents and conveyancers and speed up the sale process. The fee is tiered in line with the bond, typically being £150.00.

The pre-exchange financial commitment is legally binding and the entire buying and selling process offers transparency because it can be seen online by all parties. A tracker function shows the real-time status of the transaction, following the process to exchange and completion.

The funds will be held in an account with The Co-operative Bank until the sale is complete.

AssuredSale founder Tim Price said: “Alarmingly, almost one third of all property sales - equating to about 200,000 transactions and costing a buyer or seller on average £1,000 - fail each and every year. This is mainly because the entire sale process is based purely on non-binding verbal offers that cause widespread gazumping, gazanging and gazundering.

“I decided to establish AssuredSale because I lost £2,000 and two months of wasted time when the owner of the home I wanted to buy pulled out.

“We’re the first to market with this, so there’s nothing else like us that can give early commitment at verbal offer. Pre-exchange agreements are available, but these are ad-hoc, expensive and not well known.

Mr Price added: “There are many online tools from solicitors which handle the buyers’ conveyancing (legal) progress, but our tool is for all parties to share and collaborate on from start to finish to help resolve issues.

“The house-buying process in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is stuck in its ways with customers seemingly resigned to how bad it is. In our research, everybody has, or knows somebody who has had a bad experience. It’s not just about protecting the seller, because both seller and buyer stand to lose out financially if one pulls out on the other.

“AssuredSale addresses all of the key issues by being an online platform that adds transparency, financial protection and certainty for all parties involved.”

Mr Price believes the Government could monitor the performance of AssuredSale and then consider regulation - as it did for businesses in the rental tenancy deposit scheme.

He said the need for AssuredSale was proven by the e-homebuying forum*, chaired by Sir Bryan Carsberg, calling recently for such a service to be offered to the market, and the findings of a study of the housing market in 2010 by the Office of Fair Trading.* (see Notes to Editors below).

Tom Parker, chairman of the e-homebuying forum, said: "Initiatives such as those from AssuredSale could go a long way to bring greater transparency and efficiency to the homebuying and selling process and we look forward to seeing the results in the coming months.”

AssuredSale was launched at the Innovative Property Show at Wembley Stadium on Thursday, 3rd November and nominated for the Innovation of the Year award at the show announced by property, travel and lifestyle TV show presenter Melissa Porter.

AssuredSale was also recognised as part of the recent StartUp Britain UK Tour.

AssuredSale is being piloted by several estate agents, such as Davis & Bowing in Yorkshire, Clements in Hemel Hempstead, and Abode Estate Agents in

For more information about AssuredSale, visit the website at: http://www.assuredsale.com

*The report by the e-homebuying forum chaired by Sir Bryan Carsberg stated:
“Gazundering and gazumping can be avoided if the buyer and the seller reach a preliminary agreement and if one party refuses to enter such an agreement, the other is informed that there is no firm commitment. We believe a legally binding preliminary contract, requiring, for example, a 5-10 per cent deposit would give a serious indication of the intent to purchase or sell a house, therefore helping to identify timewasters and speculative sellers from the market”.
http://www.e-homebuyingforum.com/content/20110331Precontract.pdf

*The Office of Fair Trading study of the housing market in 2010 stated:
“Overall, it seems likely that the benefits of an earlier point of commitment leading to a quicker, more certain process, which reduced the failure of chains of transactions, would be significant. Better communication between all parties should help prevent information problems from jeopardising the transaction.”
http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/completed/homebuildingqa

Tim Price and AssuredSale

Tim lives in Cheshire, with his wife and two children under four years. The house sale that fell through and that inspired him to create AssuredSale, was to allow Tim and his family to move into a good school catchment area, because his oldest son was due to start school the following year.

Mr Price used a background in IT and business to craft the technology architecture and business model behind AssuredSale. He worked for Reach Telecom, a start-up backed by Phones4U founder John Caudwell – helping to grow the business that became Caudwell Communications to 250,000 customers from zero in just one year.
His previous role was as Chief Architect for the Hosting Business with FTSE 100 company Cable & Wireless. Mr Price left in December 2010 and started to develop AssuredSale.

The AssuredSale team includes chief technical officer Daniel Pass, who Tim has worked with for the past six years and all other members of the team are people Tim has previously known. All of the team has shares in AssuredSale to help them achieve and share in results.

For further information please contact:
Justin Strong or Anna Goulding, SKV Communications Tel: 0161 838 7770 e-mail: firstname(dot)surname(at)skvcommunications(dot)co(dot)uk

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Lucy Gordon
SKV Communications
0161 838 7770
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