fbpx How often does buying a house fall through? - Leightons Estate Agency

How often does buying a house fall through?

Take important steps to make your dream move comes true

So you’ve found the house of your dreams. It’s in the perfect place, close to the school so the kids can walk there, close to the park too. Perfect. You know roughly when you’ll be moving and you’ve already started thinking about colour schemes and furniture.

But then…. You’re busy making big plans and you get a call from the solicitor who is handling your purchase. It’s a bombshell – your dream is shattered because the house move has fallen through.

To be honest, it’s heartbreaking. And while it doesn’t happen all the time, it does occur. According to recent research*, just under a quarter of house sales in England and Wales “fell through” before completion in 2019.

So, it is certainly something to be aware of. But, did you know there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of a house sale falling through?

Four reasons why house sales fall through and what you can do to reduce the risk

1. Gazumping

Eeeek! Easily one of the worst words in estate agency. Whilst it doesn’t happen as often as you might think, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent someone else from swooping in and putting in a higher offer of the property you are buying. As long as contracts have not exchanged the estate agent is legally obliged to report the offer to the homeowner.

Top Tip: Before the sale is agreed make sure that the estate agent has tied up all loose ends with other parties that expressed an interest in the property. The last thing you want is to have your offer accepted and the estate agent receives a call from someone else that viewed wanting to make an offer as well.

2. Chain Breaker

In many cases, the purchase of your new home requires a chain of people to move out of a property and into another.

This chain can sometimes break, for several reasons. An adverse survey, down valuation, perhaps a purchase elsewhere has fallen through, or maybe someone just decided they didn’t want to move.

Top Tip: There is often nothing you can do about a property purchase along the chain, but what you can do is make your link as watertight as possible. Make sure the conveyancers are in place, ensure your mortgage offer is ready and valid and talk to your estate agent to ensure they keep abreast of any potential issues. But not just that, make sure that the estate agent is keeping everyone else in the loop too, regardless of how long the chain is. This is something we do, by the way, and that’s why sellers trust us!

3. Finding Funding

When home movers start the process of looking to buy a house, it’s often a head versus heart process. Sometimes, before calculating what funds you have, or even getting a mortgage in principle, you might go and view a property, fall in love with it and then make an offer.

The missing part, of course, is the money. And that is why, although you may think that an offer is going to lead to a sale, it may not.

Top Tip: It may sound simple, but make sure before you accept any offer, that the buyer has funds in place. Ensure that there is evidence of money in the bank and a mortgage in place. These are reasonable questions to ask, and your estate agent and legal team should be making sure it’s all ready to go.

4. Communication Breakdown

Good communication is key to getting things right and keeping things moving forward. If you stop conversations, then chances are that the process will slow down and deadlines will be missed. In fact, communication breakdown is one of the key causes of house sales falling through.

Top Tip: It’s good to talk, as the old ad says, so make sure that all the parties in your chain are talking, or at least their representatives are. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are on the case at all times.

We communicate with purchasers and sellers, and keep in contact on the legal side of things too. Worryingly, not all estate agents do this so be careful and keep on top of them!

The number of house sales that have fallen through with us?

Due to the factors out of our hands as listed above, we can’t guarantee that your house sale will complete. I wish we could! However we are nowhere near a 25% fall-through rate.

Based on the beginning of this year we have had 4 sales fall through out of 67 (5.9%).

Of those 4 sales, 1 was following the results of a survey, 1 was down to the findings from the conveyancing process and the other 2 were down to issues beyond our control, either up or down the chain.

Need advice?

Get it from us in the very early stages of your property move. Call us on 01535 666031 or email info@leightonsestateagency.co.uk.

If anyone is going through hell at the moment with their property move then I’m always here for a chat and can give you a second opinion on what’s happening. Mobile number is below!

Thanks for reading.


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E: info@leightonsestateagency.co.uk

Looking to sell a home in the South Craven area?

We all have different reasons for moving.

The first thing we do is listen to why you are looking to move and provide relevant and honest advice.

Office: 01535 666031

Mob: 07557 088460

E: michael@leightonsestateagency.co.uk

*Research conducted by Quick Move Now

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