Posted by Vivo_Team on September 22nd, 2020

houses on a street from a house sale that fell through

How many house sales fall through?

Moving house is stressful enough, even without a last-minute setback. So, when your house sale falls through unexpectedly or the property chain breaks, this can leave you unsure of your rights or what your next steps are. There can be many reasons for a breakdown in the property chain, from mortgage problems to conveyancing delays, so, why do house sales fall through so frequently and what options do you have if you find yourself in this situation? Read our guide to help you make an informed decision.

One in four house sales fell through in 2019, leaving thousands of potential sellers frustrated and unsure how to proceed. This situation can be an unpleasant experience too, you may have finally found your dream house to buy or maybe you need to relocate for a new job, so a sale slipping through your grasp can be particularly stressful. After such a setback it can be difficult to find the motivation to get back in the buying and selling process, which is unsurprising considering that selling a property is one of life’s most stressful experiences.

What are my legal rights if my house sale has fallen through?

Unlike in other countries, offers are not legally binding in the UK. A sale is only guaranteed once you have exchanged contracts, which generally tends to be 3 months after you have accepted the offer. A lot can happen during this time for a sale to fall through.

To begin, it’s important to understand that house sales on the open market are often part of a property chain. When an individual is looking to buy a property it’s likely that they’re selling their current home at the same time too. More often than not, the buyer’s ability to purchase your house will depend on whether they can find a buyer for their own house, and this pattern can repeat itself along an extensive property chain.

There are exceptions to the chain, such as first-time buyers (who do not need to sell a property first) or sellers that are not looking to buy again (no-onward chain) but unfortunately, there’s still a lot that can go wrong.

Why do house sales fall through?

One of the biggest reasons for a house sale falling through is issues with properties within your chain, for example, someone no longer wanting or being able to carry out a purchase, which then causes knock-on effects that can directly damage the progress of your sale. This is frustrating as situations out of your control can impact your sale and can leave you feeling helpless. Other common situations that can result in a collapse of a house sale include:

  • Property survey issues: An issue raised in the property survey has resulted in the buyer of one of the properties in the chain to retract their offer
  • Mortgage: Your buyer may not be able to meet the lending criteria for a mortgage in order to purchase your house
  • Change in circumstance: A buyer pulling out of house sale, due to personal reasons such as illness, loss of job or a divorce
  • Gazundering: There’s also the danger of gazundering (a buyer offering less money for your property than previously expected at the last minute)
  • Conveyancing delays: Buyers may become frustrated with delays with documents or slow responses from conveyancers.
  • Change of mind: A buyer may simply decide to change their mind for any reason
  • Market conditions: National issues such as Covid-19 can cause the housing market to slow down and some buyers may consider postponing until the market picks up again.

Coronavirus is expected to halt more than half a million house sales in the UK in 2020, due to the temporary freeze on the housing market back in March and the ripple effect across the property industry. Since lockdown restrictions began to ease, the number of houses back on the market started to pick up again. Also, thanks to a change in the United Kingdom’s Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rules, the last 8 weeks has seen positive growth for the UK Housing Market with house prices as well as buyer enquiries increasing.

However, with the ‘6 people rule’ being introduced and the threat of a second wave at the forefront of people’s minds, this could mean a halt to in-person house viewings and the return of video house viewings. There is also debate about whether the housing market will be able to continue to positively bounce back once the government’s COVID-19 support schemes are slowed down and the stamp duty cut finishes.

Do solicitors charge if a house sale falls through?

Some solicitors work on a no sale no fee basis and do not charge a fee for when a house sale falls through, however they may still charge for disbursements (costs made to third parties) for example search fees, identity checks and hours logged.

This all depends on the terms agreed by yourself and your conveyancer. Informing yourself on how these costs work will help you to understand what is fair and what to expect when being charged fees by your solicitor.

What can you do if your house sale falls through?

Option 1

Use an estate agent

The traditional method

The traditional way of selling a property involves using an estate agent to market your property, they can handle the process and save you a lot of trouble, as well as time.

However, using their services comes with its associated costs and fees, with an average fee being 1.3% of the selling price.

Think to yourself; does paying for this service suit your needs, or does this process need to be quick due to the plans you’ve set in motion? If you have time to spare and don’t mind paying for an estate agent’s services, maybe this option is for you. Although you should be aware that estate agents can have disappointing performances.


Option 2

Selling your home privately

Take matters into your control

This method can seem daunting at first but this route is becoming more popular with homeowners over time. But where do you start?

Those keen on selling their house privately should be motivated and ready to take responsibility for numerous processes, essentially becoming their very own estate agent. To begin, the property will need to be valued, advertised and prepared for viewings. Once these steps have been taken and you have found a buyer for your property you should instruct your solicitor to handle the legal side of things, after which an offer can be accepted.

Sounds like a lot? This option does require considerable attention, however, if you have the time and motivation, selling your house privately can save you thousands in fees.

Option 3

Using a fast property buying company

Sell to proceedable buyers

A fast property buying company can be useful in a variety of situations, from inheriting a property to relocation for example, but they’re particularly handy when a house sale falls through. Finding a new buyer on the open market can be time consuming and comes with many insecurities resulting in potentially losing out on the opportunity to buy your new dream house.

This is where a fast property buying company can offer an alternative approach. Using this option it’s possible to sell your home within 7 days, without the hassle of dealing with estate agents or solicitors.

For more information regarding selling your property or Vivo’s services please see our How it works pages or check out our blog.

Vivo can help

Receiving the unfortunate news that your house sale has fallen through can be a stressful and financially straining time, especially if the situation is completely out of your hands. At Vivo, we understand how difficult these situations can be. Vivo was designed with the vendor in mind to offer an alternative to open market sales so you can enjoy a secure, fast and stress-free sale. Once our formal offer has been accepted, your sale is final with no last-minute surprises.

Vivo are experienced fast property buyers that know how time consuming the open market can be. It’s possible for us to buy your home in just 7 days all while avoiding estate agents’ commissions and solicitors legal fees. Let Vivo take the pressure off selling your home.

If you would like to know more, please call us on 0800 773 4922 or fill in our quick contact form.

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