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If you are preparing to sell or buy property for the first time, it’s important to be aware of certain terminology that may be used as part of the process.
Every industry has its own jargon. Estate agents, auctioneers and other property professionals are no different. Often, sector-specific words and phrases will be used interchangeably with “layman’s terms” too, which can make things doubly confusing.
Below, we will be looking specifically at the term “vendor”. We’ll be answering a range of questions, such as “who is considered a vendor?” and “how can I be a vendor?”.
By the end of this article, you should have a much clearer understanding of who is the vendor in property transactions.
When you are planning to sell your home – or when buying a property – who is the vendor exactly?
The answer is usually that the terms “seller” and “vendor” are usually used interchangeably.
Specifically, the person who currently owns the property, and who has put it up for sale – whether via auction, estate agency or any other route – is referred to as the vendor.
Of course, it isn’t always an individual selling a house, area of land or commercial property. Sometimes, the seller is an organisation.
When it comes to the terminology used within the property industry, any entity selling property can be referred to as a “vendor”.
If the property in question has been repossessed, and the organisation that has taken ownership of it has since put it up for sale, that organisation still counts as the vendor.
Most commonly, this would be a mortgage lender who is selling the property in order to recoup any losses resulting from the previous owner’s non-payment.
Who is considered a vendor when you buy property via the most common route – i.e. using an estate agent?
In this case, the vendor is almost always an individual or couple who have engaged the agent to sell the property on their behalf.
However, if you decide to purchase a property from a fast home buying organisation, it may be that the company that owns the platform on which the property is listed for sale is the vendor. We will explain this in more detail later on.
There are many reasons why a homeowner may decide to use a fast home buying company when selling their property.
Most commonly, this method is chosen when a person needs a large cash injection quickly, they need to relocate within a set period, or a property is costing them significant amounts of money in upkeep or maintenance.
Usually, estate agents decline to answer the question “who is the vendor?” in a house sale if a buyer asks.
Not only would passing on contact details to a third party usually constitute a breach of data protection, but if the buyer is able to exchange messages with the seller independently, there is nothing to stop these two parties from coming to a separate agreement and cutting the agent out entirely.
Of course, there are ways to find out the name of the vendor and to communicate with them directly. For example, the name of the owner of the property will be displayed on HM Land Registry, making it easy to look up.
Of course, a buyer would also likely know the location of the property – so, if they have a specific question, there is nothing stopping them from posting a note through the door.
However, it is always best to keep things above board when communicating with the vendor of a property – purely out of courtesy and to avoid a level of interaction that may constitute harassment!
What’s more, under certain circumstances, depending on the vendor’s contract with the agent, they may end up being charged a penalty if they arrange a deal separately.
It is possible to communicate with the vendor at a property auction and arrange a deal separately, and this may be done before or after the bidding officially opens.
The vendor will have to confirm with the auction house whether it is possible to accept a bid in advance – but many are keen to sell quickly, so if the amount offered is deemed suitable, the buyer may be able to get in before competition ramps up.
Alternatively, if bids on a particular lot do not reach the vendor’s reserve price, the property may be withdrawn from auction. However, this is not necessarily the end – a prospective buyer may approach the vendor afterwards in order to make a further offer.
At this point, with the vendor facing the possibility of having to relist the property, or being stuck with it for the foreseeable future, they may be willing to accept an offer below their previous reserve price.
There are a number of other technical terms attached to the word “vendor”. One of these is a “vendor mortgage”.
This is a means of borrowing money whereby the buyer pays their deposit to the vendor and, in exchange, the vendor covers the remainder of the cost of the property.
Over a set period, the buyer then pays off the remainder of what they owe directly to the vendor.
This cuts out the middleman and also allows the vendor to earn interest on the loan, increasing the amount they receive from the sale of the property.
If you have received paperwork or other documentation that refers to you as a “vendor”, it is likely because you are the current owner of something that is being sold.
For example, if your house is on the market, you are the “vendor” and anyone who successfully places an offer on that property may be referred to as the “buyer”, “purchaser” or “vendee”.
If you are not sure why you are being referred to as a “vendor” in a piece of correspondence, it may be worth investigating.
After all, any transaction or financial activity being undertaken in your name without your knowledge or consent may amount to fraudulent activity.
If you have concerns of this kind, you need to contact your bank immediately – and get in touch with Action Fraud for further advice.
However, if you do wish to sell your property, there are a range of different approaches you can take.
If you wish to sell your property via an estate agency, you will first need to find the right service provider. Once you have chosen, you should determine a sensible asking price.
You will also need to choose a conveyancing solicitor to help you with the legal aspects of the transaction.
Your estate agent will usually arrange a valuation free of charge, but you can also do your own research by looking up the recent sale prices of comparable properties in your area.
Your listing will then be created, using information, photographs and a floor plan that will usually be compiled by the agent – however, you may also have input into this process if preferred. The listing may also include a video or VR “walkthrough”.
Once your property is officially listed on the open market, house hunters should start to request viewings.
The number of requests you receive will depend in part on the desirability of your home – and also on on the amount and quality of work undertaken by your estate agent in order to promote the listing.
Eventually, a buyer may decide to make an offer. It is then up to you to decide whether to accept it, or to negotiate with them.
Once you are happy with an offer, the estate agent, your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor will work together towards the exchange of contracts and completion – after which time the property will pass from your name into the buyer’s name and the transaction will be complete.
Estate agency sales can take a number of months to complete. Selling on the open market can be risky, too, as buyers may drop out at the last minute, and many will be part of “chains” – that is, they will need to sell their own property before they can access the capital to buy yours.
There are also a range of fees involved when you choose to sell via an estate agent.
Auctions are a popular alternative to estate agency sales. There are a couple of different types – traditional (or unconditional) and modern method (or conditional) auctions.
In the past, all auctions took place at an “auction house” at a set date and time.
Potential buyers would place bids, hoping to surpass the vendor’s “reserve price” (a figure not available to the public that is agreed between the auctioneer and the vendor to be the lowest offer acceptable to secure a sale) and the offers of the other hopefuls in order to win the lot.
Once the “gavel fell”, the winning bidder would then be legally contracted to purchase the property. They would pay a deposit on the day, and would be required to pay the remaining amount within a set period of time – usually the next 28 days.
Because bidders at this type of auction were required to have immediate access to the funds required to make the purchase (and needed to provide proof of this), the traditional method of auction was less accessible to buyers relying on a mortgage to pay for their purchase.
This approach is still employed by auctioneers today. However, there is now an alternative.
The modern method of auction often takes place online. Bidders can place offers on property throughout the entire time during which the listing is live – which may be up to thirty days or even more.
Once the listing is closed, the winning bidder is identified. They are then required to pay a non-refundable “reservation fee” – which is often 5%.
After this, they have 28 days to get their affairs in order, which may include instructing a conveyancer, paying the 10% deposit, arranging a valuation, getting approved for a mortgage and any other tasks.
They are not legally obligated to pay the full price of the property. If they drop out, they lose the reservation fee – and the deposit, if they have paid it – and the property then returns to the ownership of the vendor.
They will then need to relist the property if they still wish to sell in this way.
Selling via auction is often much faster than using an estate agent. There is no absolute guarantee that you will find a buyer, but the approach often takes between 6 and 10 weeks.
An increasingly popular option is to sell your property to a “fast home buying” or “cash buying” company.
An organisation of this kind will purchase a house directly from the vendor without the need for buyers to express interest or to arrange viewings.
This means that you will not be at the mercy of a chain, there will be little to no risk of the buyer dropping out, and the whole process can be over very quickly – sometimes in as few as seven days.
Most commonly, the vendor approaches the fast home buying company to request a no obligation valuation and cash offer. The company undertakes a “desktop valuation” – which is an informed estimate of the amount you should expect to receive for your property.
If you are happy to accept the initial offer, they will usually then arrange a survey and instruct a solicitor on your behalf. The results of the survey will then inform an official “confirmed offer” – which you may then accept or decline.
Should you decide to move forward, you and the company will fill in all required paperwork and exchange contracts, with the organisation taking over the ownership of the property and paying the agreed amount directly into your bank account within your preferred time period.
These organisations will never offer 100% of a property’s market value as part of a cash purchase. Usually, the amount will be closer to 75-85%. This is because they make their money by selling for a profit on the open market.
However, many fast home buying companies will waive agency fees and will pay your solicitors’ and surveyors’ fees. This, combined with a speedy turnaround, means that you will save money elsewhere, even if you are not achieving the full potential asking price of your property.
In this article, we hope that we have clearly answered the question: “when selling a house, who is the vendor?”- as well as delving into some other related terminology to help you better understand this particular piece of property jargon.
If you are keen to sell your house quickly for cash, or would like further information about the fast home buying process, do not hesitate to contact our team of specialists today. We will be more than happy to assist you.