Interview: Property fund provides greater choice for practitioners

Since launching in December 2020 Proffered have quietly been going about their business of helping probate practitioners, executors and beneficiaries navigate the world of probate property sales with a fully funded solution for executors and beneficiaries.

Now ready to launch more widely, in an exclusive interview, Managing Director Adam Bonner tells Today’s Wills and Probate how Proffered is offering an alternative to traditional probate property sales.

• Who are Proffered and where have you come from?

Proffered is a probate property fund, based in Mayfair. We specialise in providing fully funded guaranteed transactions for probate properties.

We’re part of a larger group which has for the last 10 years focused on the B2C market, the best known of our brands is WeBuyAnyHome.

Many of our property transactions were coming to us via probate and there was an opportunity to explore the B2B market.

• Cash purchasing businesses have historically got a bad reputation; how do you tackle the stigma attached to this?

For us this is the big challenge, and if I am honest one of the first questions we get asked. For me it comes down to 3 key discussion points.

1) lack of transparency; how do you come to a valuation?
2) uncertainty; are you going to change the price at the last minute?
3) is there really a fair price paid to the customer?

I guess you could summarise it as a lack of integrity in the industry.

I think the way we combat that is by demonstrating our commitment to changing this perception. We ensure we provide a detailed valuation report which stands up to scrutiny against district valuers.

When it comes to creating greater certainty ultimately you do need to get a survey before you a buy a property. If a previously unknown/undeclared defect is unearthed, this will impact the price. Thankfully, this happens in less than 5% of instances, we will always share the report with practitioners and customers are free to walk away at any time.

And regarding offering a fair price, we offer 90% of property value which is market leading as a cash buying business.

As we’re looking to deal in the B2B space with respected parties who conduct themselves with integrity, if we don’t follow through on this we simply won’t have a business; it’s the only way we have a chance of succeeding.

• Tell us a little more about the how you come about your valuation and how you can offer 90% of market value?

Believe it or not we use up to 4000 datapoints to help us come to our valuation. In around 20% of cases we’ll also visit the property to conduct an on-site valuation.

How much we utilise all those datapoints depends on key information about the property, for example location and tenure, but we evaluate every property on 3 levels.

• How does it work, and where does the practitioner fit in?

For practitioners, executors and beneficiaries we want to be able to offer choice; for many, the traditional route of private treaty estate agency is the right thing to do, and we want to simply offer an alternative solution where other factors might necessitate a speedier resolution.

• What solution do you think you are providing, and why is it useful?

The key message from us is that we’re able to provide greater certainty. When you think about private treaty estate agency, once you account for the standing costs of home ownership which may include ongoing mortgage payments, energy, and council tax, and considered any estate agency and legal fees, a typical probate sale results in around 96% of the value of the property being transferred to the beneficiaries.

So, at 90% we believe we’re offering an alternative, albeit with a premium on certainty and speed as we’re usually able to transact within around 7 days.

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