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Why do house sales fall through?

Published: 17/11/2017

Moving to a new Hammersmith house can be a stressful time, particularly if a sale falls through. Don’t worry if this happens as you can often salvage the situation.

Surveys
If something unexpected comes up in a survey, it may be a big enough problem to make the sale fall through.
In our experience, most house sales fall through due to survey reports. Unexpected work noticed a survey may cause some purchasers to walk away from a sale. We would recommend that sellers sort out any paperwork for work carried out and organise certificates to provide to your surveyor and purchaser.
If there is work that must be carried out, it can be more beneficial to rectify it before going on the market, because if your sale falls through, you will still should pay solicitor fees and may still end up paying for the work. Purchasers should fully read their survey report and ask their surveyor to explain anything they don’t understand. If surveyors have not seen any paperwork or evidence of work, they should assume it hasn’t been done and it can therefore seem like a larger problem than it is.
Some of the more common reasons for losing a sale can be avoided if you ask the seller if they are aware of any major works having been done on the property. Or, if alterations have been made, do they have any documentation which signs it off, either from Hammersmith & Fulham Council or Building Regulations.

Chain
A chain can fall apart for many reasons, and sometimes people can get bored of waiting and find a house elsewhere in West London.
When you agree a sale, you expect it to go through to completion. However, this is a time when you are not in control of events. You must rely on your buyer, and maybe even their buyer, and so on until the chain is complete. Any one of these people can and do change their minds occasionally. It is often nothing to do with your property.
The results of a single break can be huge, too. A sale falling through at the bottom of a chain of sales can potentially jeopardise all of the others, so one break can mean three, four or more sales falling through.
How can you try to stop a chain from falling through?
Our biggest advice to purchasers and vendors is that you may have to compromise during your sale. Also, picking the right local Hammersmith estate agent can literally keep your sale together; our 4 man &lady team have worked in West London, collectively for over 50 years! This is invaluable experience and local knowledge and on many occasions, sales would have not gone through without them.

During a negotiation
Negotiations can be a tricky time, and you can find yourself dealing with surprising demands. It is worth being flexible, and remember that small details should not be a make-or-break on your deal.
Fixtures and fittings can also cause some fraught negotiations with sellers wanting to take fitted wardrobes etc out of the property, keeping calm is often the key.
We have seen a number of sales almost fall through due to silly reasons such as having to leave a tired old shed, leaving curtains, not wanting to contribute towards an indemnity policy, or not being able to agree on a completion date.
This is where the quality estate agent mediates between both parties and get them to look at the bigger picture of completing the sales transaction.

People changing their mind and pulling out
Situations change all the time. Someone could lose their job, a family member could become ill, or people can simply have second thoughts.
The seller can change their minds after first accepting the offer and decide to stay put, which is sometimes called ‘gazanging’. The seller may not be able to find another property to move to, or the buyer’s finances are not in place or their mortgage advance is rejected.
The buyer can be ‘gazumped,’ which is when the seller receives a higher offer from another buyer. The opposite, ‘gazundering’, is when the buyer reduces their offer at the last minute, before contracts are signed.
As much as a buyer may want to move ahead, they may not be able to. Despite buyers having AIP finance, there is a changing mortgage market and tougher underwriting depending on the loan to value once an actual application is completed. This can lead to upset unless the buyer has regularly reviewed the arrangements they have made.

What should you do next?
If a sale falls through, get the property back onto the market without delay and commence a new marketing campaign. In the event of the cause having been a result of the survey, the seller should deal with any faults.

How can you prevent a sale from falling through?
Don’t forget to check your mortgage status before putting in an offer to ensure that you will be accepted to buy the home.
You should always remember to be patient, especially when waiting for sales to go through. The negotiation stage can be the most frustrating as you want the sale to move ahead quickly, but it is worth taking a step back and letting the negotiations take their course.
The most important thing is to choose an agent who can constantly chase your sale through, no matter if it is in a chain of not. As highly-regarded independent RICS regulated estate agent and The Hammersmith Members of The Guild of Property Professionals, will be experts in sale chasing and can ensure that everything possible is done to stop a sale from falling through.

For any advice or help with buying a property in Hammersmith, West London W6, please get in touch with our sales team on 020 8222 9958 or email sales@willmotts.com