What to do if your house sale keeps falling through and your buyer pulls out before exchange
What to do when the sale of your house falls through and your buyer pulls out before exchange, it may have happened once, twice or perhaps three times. If this keeps happening and your house sale has fallen through twice or more, here are a few tips to help you.
What to do if your house sale has fallen through twice in less than 15 seconds…
What to do if your house sale has fallen through twice or more includes remaining positive. But you must also speak with your estate agent to find out why your house sale has fallen through and then fix the problem if you can. Remove some of the stress and move into rented accommodation if your house sale keeps falling through, as this will save on legal fees and surveyor costs.
House sale fallen through – the legal position
The UK is not like other countries in the world. An offer on a property is not legally binding in the UK. The sale of your house is only guaranteed once you’ve exchanged contacts. This tends to be around three months after an offer has been accepted.
Do Solicitors charge if house sale falls through?
Whether or not Solicitors charge if a house sale falls through depends on the solicitor you use and the deal struck with them. On the whole solicitors do charge if a house sale falls through.
They will charge for their time and any disbursements up to the point the house sale falls through. Disbursements could include the various searches on the property.
If the house sale falls through close to exchanging contracts your solicitor would have carried out a large part of the legal work at this stage, so the fee will be close to what you originally agreed in total.
However, there are insurance policies to protect against this, which will pay out in the circumstances where the house sale falls through. Check with your solicitor to see if they offer such an insurance policy before they begin the work.
Can you sue if house sale falls through?
You cannot sue if your house sale falls through until you’ve exchanged contracts. But once contracts have been exchanged, the buyer is legally committed to paying the price stated in the contract.
If your buyer pulls out after contracts have been exchanged, you can sue them for any loss this causes you, You will also likely be able to keep the deposit.
You will need to take legal advice on this, but most contracts of exchange are quite clear on this point. On a positive note, if you are able to keep the deposit, you are up on the deal by 10% of your house.
That means you can sell your house once more for full asking price, but you’ve already banked the 10% from the previous sale.
Can a house seller back out of an offer?
If you are the seller of a home and you’ve accepted an offer, up until contracts have been exchanged you can change your mind and withdraw from the offer.
However, at the point you’ve exchanged, you can no longer withdraw from the deal. If you do pull out you stand to lose the deposit, which is normally 10% in the UK. Plus your buyer can sue you for costs.
Reasons for pulling out of a house sale
There are a number of reasons why a house sale may fall through. This can be frustrating, and especially if it happens more than once. If it happens twice of three times, this may begin to become an unpleasant experience.
This is especially true if you keep finding a property to move to. Plus even more annoying if you keep spending out on legal fees and surveyor costs.
Here are a few reasons why a house sale might fall through
- An issue has been raised in the property survey. This doesn’t always leave to the sale falling through, as this can be rectified by agreeing to reduce the offer to cover the cost of any remedial work. Of course this can happen at any point in the chain and not necessarily on the offer on your house.
- One of the buyers in the chain, which may or may not be the buyers of your house may not be able get a mortgage as they may not meet the lending criteria for the mortgage lender.
- Buyers can sometimes pull out of a house sale due personal circumstances such as the loss of a job, sickness or a divorce.
- There’s also the chance of gazundering. Gazundering is when a buyer lowers their offer on a previously agreed sale price, just prior to the contract being signed. The sale will only fall through if the lower price is not accepted. This is more likely to happen in a slow housing market.
Regardless of the reason why your house sale has fallen through, it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating. But what can you do about it when this happens?
What to do if your house sale has fallen through twice
Here are a few options for you on what to do if your house sale has fallen through more than once:
- First and foremost is to remain positive.
- Speak with your estate agent to gain as much feedback as possible. Find out the reasons for your buyers pulling out.
- Find out if the reason for both buyers pulling out is for the same or a similar reason.
- Don’t but right away, but move into rented accommodation.
- Speak to us about a quick solution.
Now that I’ve listed what to do if your house sale falls through, let’s look at this in a bit more detail.
1. First and foremost is to remain positive
I know how frustrating it is to have a house sale fall through. But getting upset or down about it will not help.
You need to remain positive throughout and look for a solution. House sales fall through in all housing market conditions. It happens quite often in the UK due to house the legal process is set up.
2. Speak with your estate agent to gain as much feedback as possible
Find out the reasons for your buyers pulling out, especially if your house sale has fallen through twice or more.
You need to be finding out if whatever is causing your house sale to fall through you are able to do something about it.
If however you have just been unlucky each time your house has sold, you may wish to consider options 4 or 5 below.
3. Find out if the reason for both buyers pulling out is for the same or a similar reason
Once you’ve spoken with your estate agent and hopefully discovered the reason for your house sale falling through, you may be in a position to do something about it.
For example, if the reason why your house sale has fallen through is due to a problem that’s been picked up on the survey, you need to address the problem.
However, it’s likely that this problem would be picked up the first time your sold your house subject to contract. If the feedback from your estate agent is such that there’s say a damp problem, you need to either fix this or see if your buyers would agree to a reduction in the offer price to take amount of the work required.
4. Don’t but right away, but move into rented accommodation
If your house sale fallen through twice or more and you’re fed up with the costs of legals and surveys you’re losing, not to mention the loss of the house you set your heart on to buy, the alternative is to move into rented accommodation first.
But moving into rented accommodation on a temporary basis you not only take away the pressure and stress of selling your house, but you avoid the costs associated with buying another house.
The disadvantage of this solution is that you end up moving twice, but in the long run it may save you money. But also what it does do is to provide certainty.
You can sell your house and once your house sale finally completes, you can put the money in the bank. Then you are in a really strong buying position when you come to finally buy your new home.
Sellers love buyers who are in a position to move fast, which is what you can do if you’re in rented. You form the end of a chain and you’re less likely to fall though yourself when you offer.
5. Speak to us about a quick solution
If you are really fed up with the house selling process and your house sale has fallen though twice or more, please contact us for a solution. Or if you don’t like the idea of renting in the short term.
We have many solutions to buy houses and once we agree the deal, we don’t pull out. You’ll have a firm sale in the bag, allowing you to look for your ideal new home.
Or if you’ve already found somewhere to move to and your house sale has just fallen through again, we can help you to keep your new house purchase on the table, so that this doesn’t also fall through!
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