As featured in WHATHOUSE, 12th April 2023

WHATHOUSE talk to Samar Shaheryar, co-CEO at Spring, a home buying service...

Samar, as newly promoted co-CEO at Spring, what does your role entail?

My focus is on growing the business, making it more efficient, and thus more profitable, all while enriching our various stakeholders. We are focused on three key principles. Firstly, creating easy and fast customer journeys for those who use our service; secondly, cultivating a thriving and happy team; finally, encouraging the diversity of thought we know that leads to the innovation the property industry needs.

Spring is a home buying service that buys a seller’s property at a fair price on a date of their choice – why do some people choose to sell their homes in this way?

In our experience, the primary motivator is to reduce the stress of selling on the open market, which can be fraught with delays and uncertainty. From waiting for months for the right offer, to offers falling though or chains collapsing, it is little surprise that selling a home is regularly cited as one of the most difficult life events we’ll ever experience. This is exacerbated if you have a particular time-sensitive reason for moving such as a growing family or illness.

Our service frees consumers of all of this, providing ease, speed and certainty with the sale of their property, ultimately allowing them to focus on their onward move.

How do you ensure you provide a fair valuation of the property you're looking to buy?

We have an extremely experienced underwriting team and a rigorous process which factors in the type of property, condition and local comparable sales to ascertain a fair price. We also ask two local agents for a valuation, to provide an independent, insider view. Lastly, before a final offer, we conduct a RICS survey, free to the seller, to confirm the final valuation and uncover any problems. This thorough process means we have an excellent track record for accurate valuation. And in the rare event we get it wrong, we offer the Spring Price Promise (SPP). The SPP states that if we go on to sell the home for more than our valuation within six months, we will give the substantial upside to the home seller.

What do you think are the main benefits of using a service like Spring?

Speed and certainty. We can make an offer in 24 hours and can complete in as little as seven days. Typically, most customers want to complete in one-two months to suit their onward purchase timeframe.

The certainty that comes with a Spring sale, is, however, the benefit consumers find most helpful. Humans are hardwired to hate uncertainty. There are studies showing we would rather definitely get an electric shock rather than deal with the question of maybe getting an electric shock. Not knowing if you’re going to get an offer, if the buyer might drop out, when the completion date will be are all profoundly stressful. The Spring model takes away all of that. We give you an offer, you choose the date, and it all happens as we said it would.

Is this service a growing model in the UK?

Absolutely, especially when the market slows as it has been since the second half of last year. For many of our customers, a home sale is the start of a new lifestyle and the thought of waiting five to seven months for a sale to complete to get into their new home and life is frustrating.

And what fees do you charge sellers for the service you provide?

Usually, our total home buying fee ranges from 10% to 15% of the valuation depending on current market conditions, the home’s location, situation and condition. Quite often, the developers we work with offer a concession when a homeowner sells using our service, which partially offsets our fee.

We appreciate this model is not for everyone, but, for many people the peace of mind that comes with a guaranteed sale is worth the concession in fees compared to waiting on the open market.

Spring also works with many new home developers to provide a part exchange service on their behalf – how does this work?

We partner with developers and housebuilders across the country, facilitating Part Exchange (PX) services which allow their customers to effectively ‘trade in’ their existing home, against the purchase of their dream new home. Our PX service keeps sales pipelines moving, gets more plots agreed and increases revenues.

We tailor our service to each developer’s unique needs. For some of our developer partners we speak directly to their client, for others we provide training and speak only to the sales advisor, who keeps the client updated. Our offering works especially well for small to medium-sized developers for whom we provide an end-to-end solution including robust reporting, marketing support and tech-based solutions. At the end of the day, however, we know the most important thing for our clients is fast, accurate offers, knowing that Spring will be there through the most challenging market conditions and will always treat their customers with care.

What are the most frequently asked questions you receive from clients looking to sell to you?

Customers often want to know if they need to decorate or undertake any work before selling – which they don’t, as we buy properties in any condition. Given the accelerated timeframe created by our service, another common question is whether buyers will have time to organise their possessions. Spring provides a ‘license to occupy’ so they can access their property for up to 14 days post-completion to make their onward move with less stress and time constraints.

Does your service tend to appeal to a certain demographic?

We have customers of varying ages, backgrounds and circumstances, with the shared common thread of wanting to move quickly.

In recent years we have seen particular interest from older sellers who want to downsize their family home and move to a smaller property or specialist retirement development. These larger family homes can take much longer to sell on the open market than smaller homes, so often they turn to us as to provide a solution.

And finally, what’s the best case study you can tell us of clients using this service?

We helped an elderly lady called Ethel who, following the sad passing of her husband, was intent on finding a retirement home with a genuine community spirit. She wanted to find a new home where she could make new friends, have space for family to come and stay, but also to have peace of mind with support services on site should she need them. Ethel listed her bungalow with a local estate agent and after a short period, accepted an offer.

Unfortunately, the offer fell through leaving her without a buyer and unable to proceed with the sale. With a desire to sell her home and make the move as soon as possible, Ethel got in touch with us to receive an offer on her Nottinghamshire home. “Spring made me an offer within 24 hours and it was a very fair deal, I was really impressed,” she said. “Once I accepted the offer, the sale was guaranteed and I knew it wouldn’t fall through, which made me feel a lot more relaxed and settled. Having my sale all agreed with Spring allowed me to reserve the two-bed apartment I loved.” Article can be found here

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