How to Move Forward When Your House Sale Falls Through
If your house sale has fallen through, you’re not alone. According to some recent research around one in four house sales fall through. If your sale falls through that doesn’t mean you can’t still sell your house and move, however. Here are some things you can do if your house sale has fallen through.
Find Out What Went Wrong
There’s always a reason why a house sale falls through. Trying to find the reason or reasons is the first step towards doing something about it.
In English law, a house is not finally sold until contracts are exchanged. A lot can go wrong between agreeing on a sale and the exchange of contracts. So ask your estate agent and solicitor or conveyancer if they know why your house sale has fallen through. If they don’t ask if they can find out from the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer or the buyer themselves.
Reasons Your House Sale Fell Through
The main reasons why house sales fall through according to Which? are mortgage problems, broken chains, problems with surveys, gazumping and conveyancing delays.
Your sale could have fallen through because of a problem with your property. This might be something the buyer’s survey has identified. For example, a structural problem, subsidence or rot. There could be a problem with the local searches or the legal title of the property.
Your sale could have fallen through because of a problem with the buyer’s mortgage. They might not have been able to get the mortgage they need. Their mortgage offer might have expired. Or their lender may not agree with the valuation of your property. That is they may have downvalued it.
Your sale could have fallen through because the buyer has decided they can’t afford it or just are no longer willing to pay the price agreed.
Your sale could have fallen through because of a broken chain. Perhaps your buyer’s house sale has fallen through, or a sale or purchase further down the chain has collapsed.
There could be no simple reason why the sale has fallen through. It could be a combination of the above reasons. Also, your buyer could have just changed their mind or had a change in their personal circumstances, and just pulled out of the purchase.
What Can You Do When Your House Sale Falls Through?
The next step is to decide if you are able and willing to do something that will stop your house sale from falling through. That is if you can do anything to rescue the sale.
You don’t have to do anything to stop the sale from falling through if you don’t want to or cannot afford to. A good approach is to compare the effort and cost involved with trying to rescue the sale with the cost of letting it fall through. Then you can decide which will work best for you.
How to Rescue a Sale that Has Fallen Through
If the sale has fallen through because of a problem with your property decide if you are willing to fix that problem if you can. If repairs are needed, for example, it might be a good idea to get a quote for any repairs to help you decide. Alternatively, you could offer to reduce the price by the cost of the repairs.
If the sale has fallen through because the buyer is no longer able or willing to pay the agreed price, decide if you are willing to accept a lower price or not. It could actually be cheaper to accept a lower price than to put your house back up for sale.
In this event, you should be aware of the practice of gazundering. This is where a buyer agrees on a certain price and then deliberately reduces it at the last minute.
If the sale has fallen through because of conveyancing delays then try to get all the parties involved to come together and see if anything can be done to speed things up.
If the sale is falling through because of a problem with a chain consider what you can do to help mend the chain.
If your buyer needs more time to complete the chain think about if you are able to wait for them and, potentially, other buyers and sellers further down the chain. If your buyer needs to move fast to stop the chain collapsing consider whether you are able to move out sooner, perhaps to rented accommodation.
More Solutions if Your House Sale Falls Through
If your house sale falls through and there is nothing that can be done about it here are some other possible courses of action to consider:
- You might decide not to sell at all and stay put.
- You might decide to take your house off the market, for now, then put it back up for sale another time. Consider that the housing market might change in the meantime. House prices might go up or down.
- You might decide to try to find another buyer now. Ask your estate agent to find out if any of the other prospective buyers who viewed your house are still interested in buying it. If not, talk to them about putting it back on the market as soon as possible with the aim of finding a buyer who can buy and move quickly.
- You could consider entering your house into a property auction. If it sells at the auction then auction rules mean that the sale will be final and it cannot fall through again. The sale will go through in as little as 28 days. There is no guarantee what price you will receive at auction, however.
You could consider selling your house for cash to a house buying company. House buying services may be able to offer you market value in as little as 28 days, or alternatively a cash price for a fast sale in as little as 7 days.
Once you accept an offer from a house buying company they may be able to guarantee that the sale will go through.
If your house sale falls through there is actually a lot you can do to remedy the situation, sell your house and move. Be sure to consider all the options before deciding. Which is the best option depends on you and your circumstances.
Also forewarned is forearmed! If your house sale has not fallen through yet, here's some useful information on how to stop it from falling through in the first place.