Buyers Beware! They take your deposit and tell you that you will be buying the house from the word go by paying what appears to be a very reasonable weekly amount. However, part of the terms of the arrangement are that you will need to do some DIY work that is required on the house and this must be done in a fairly short space of time to show good will and show that you are serious about your 'investment'. They tell you that this will obviously benefit you as it will put value on 'your' property. It all sounds very good and the deal is arranged in good faith and a deposit is handed over. Work goes ahead, the new buyers are very excited and pleased with 'their' new house and consciensiously get on and do the work, however, the contract that they were promised appears to be taking some time to come from the soliciors, but it's in hand. More time goes by, you chase the contract and are told it's still in hand with the solicitors, but everything's fine and it will be with you soon, and the work and the investment continues. By the time the contract actually does arrive, two months have elapsed and much money has been invested by the new 'owners' as well as many hours of toil and labour.

Sounds Very Attractive! In just one instance a couple were told they would be buying a particular property right from the word go and they would need no bank mortgage as it was a private arrangement with the owner. They were that this was a new system that has come over here from America, enabling people to bypass the building societies and banks. Ideal if you may have trouble securing a traditional mortgage, especially with the abolition of self-cert mortgages, very attractive - or so it seemed. However, the property did need a fair bit doing to it and, as it turned out, after the couple had done several months work on the property at their own considerable expense because they believed they were buying it and were going to live there, the contract was then revealed. The new 'buyers' then find out that the whole deal is not what they were originally promised and is in fact all a bit of a con.

The Real Truth! When the contract eventually came through it informed them they that would in fact actually be renting for a compulsory period of five years and that, when this period was over, it would be up to them to secure their own mortgage to buy the property outright. If they could not then get a mortgage at that time they would forfit the property and everything they had put into it. The owner had lied to them from the outset pretending to be a decent and honourable person with a humanitarian cause. Some would say they were perhaps a touch gullable, but, in fact, they were quite desperate, and this is what he took advantage of. He simply pretended to be doing them a favour, saying that he liked to help people, and help people get on the housing ladder. It seemed like a golden opportunity. He had them believing that it was a good deal and that he was completely legitimate. Unfortunately the owner turned out to be a bit of a conman who left the couple severely out of pocket and trying to recover some of their investment!

A Bit Fishy! Nobody should be telling you what to do or not to do if you are buying the property. Unless it is a condition of a legitimate building society mortgage in as much as the property needs a new roof or something and, in which case they may hold some of the funding back until it is done. This can be usual practice for building societies with structural issues, however, but being told you have to decorate, or install a new bathroom or central heating, is not a structural issue and is stricly up to the people buying the house. It should in no way be a condition of any sale. If it is, be very suspicious! If you see anything advertised along these lines, don't be too quick to jump in and make sure you see and have the contract and are completely satisfied that the deal is legitimate BEFORE you put your money into the property, because certainly in this instance, the deal was a con and a very expensive lesson.