1 in 3 house sales in the UK fall through, irrelevant of whether the market is roaring or in retreat. The big issue in the UK is that offers are not legally binding meaning that a buyer can make a u-turn at the 11th hour with no recourse. For the seller, it costs them on average £2,899 every time a transaction collapses.
Why do house sales fall through?
- Buyers financial woes — most people don’t have thousands of pounds sat in the bank and so need a mortgage to buy a home. That means that they’re at the mercy of the banks with no real security to the process; even those buyers with a mortgage in principle can have their pre-approved finance removed at the drop of a hat, and that means that they can’t buy your home any more.
- Buyer change of heart — they find another property, they don’t want to move, they get a bad vibe, they have a change of circumstances, the list goes on and on.
- Survey results — from damp to subsidence and Japanese knotweed, bad survey results can cause havoc for homeowners since they can make buyers reconsider what they want to do. And often, it’s to walk away.
- Property chain — unfortunately most buyers are in a chain. That means if it breaks somewhere along the line, then everyone is affected, and it can spell the end of your house sale.
- Gazundering — is the common process of reducing offers typically just a few days before exchange. Sometimes buyers have a valid reason, but more often than not it’s just part of the property game. If you can’t afford to accept the reduction, then the sale will fall through.
- Market conditions — an impending recession, government policy (cue covid-19 causing nationwide lockdown and the property market to shut), Brexit, and general elections can all play a part in buyers holding fire on big plans.
How can I stop my house sale falling through?
Unfortunately, you can’t.
The truth of the matter is that the UK property market isn’t geared up to offering security to the seller, and leaves the deal hanging in the balance until contracts are officially exchanged and the sale becomes legally binding.
There are a few things that you can do to try and minimise the risk though. For example:
- Get a survey — jump the gun so that you know if there are any issues with your home. That way you can be transparent with the buyer and factor the ‘issues’ into the cost.
- Choose a cash buyer — it’s not always possible as they are few and far between, but a cash buyer is always your safest bet. You don’t need to stick to individuals either: property cash buying companies are great options too.
What to do if your house sale falls through?
- Option 1 — most estate agents will suggest re-listing on the open market at a reduced asking price to generate interest with buyers quickly. This can seem like a good idea at face value, but remember there are absolutely no guarantees that this sale will go through. So you could find yourself in exactly the same position in a few months time, and even further out of pocket.
- Option 2 — we mentioned it above, but cash buying companies are a good option especially if speed is top of your list. They will pay slightly less than market value but they offer a guaranteed sale and can exchange within 7 days. There are no selling fees to pay and most will even cover your legal fees.
- If you live in Hull or East Yorkshire and would like more information, then call our friendly team on 01482 655346.
- Option 3 —auction is usually a last resort if you need to secure a sale but works for some people (often those who find themselves in financial difficulty, facing repossession, or are going through probate). You’ve no control over the price on the night, but as long as it’s priced right then there’s usually someone in the room looking for a deal.
- Option 4 — Rezee, a hybrid model of estate agents and auctions meaning that it’s a guaranteed sale but also a fair price (that you have total control over). It’s run like an estate agent with all the support that you’d expect, except there are no selling fees to pay. The sale is secure with less than 2% falling through, as buyers have to commit at offer stage with a non-refundable reservation fee.