There's always the urge to celebrate, and pop open the champagne once you have accepted an offer on your home. But with the uncertainty that comes with selling a property, it is best not to celebrate too soon.
Why? Well, quite frankly it’s not a done deal until you’ve both signed on the dotted line, the money is in your bank, and you have the keys. Up until that point, there is still the unfortunate scenario that the buyer might pull out.
Sadly, buyers pulling out and sales falling through is now an all-too-common occurrence. Miles Shipside, Director and Housing Market Analyst at Rightmove, warning, “When there is a chain of buyers and sellers involved, a third of deals end up falling through, and in some longer chains, when six property sales are involved, roughly 50 per cent tend to fall through.” Our own Spring data echoes that alarming statistic. In a survey conducted by Atomik Research for Spring, out of 1,000 respondents who had sold their home in the last 2 years, over 47% had an offer fall through.
So how can you spot the warning signs your buyer could be about to pull out? Here we look at three key clues that could indicate a rocky road ahead.
Communication is key and when it comes to selling a house, it really does take two to tango. Since both parties stand to benefit from the sale, it’s only natural that vendors and buyers will want to establish a firm stream of communication to ensure a successful sale. However, if communication begins to show signs of breaking down, such as phone calls not being answered, emails getting ignored or documents not materialising, this may indicate that there are potential issues with the sale and one side may be getting cold feet.
There are milestones buyers should meet when making an offer of a property and not satisfying any of these could indicate the buyer is not serious from the get-go. An estate agent should carry out due diligence before submitting any offer to you, but always ask to check the following:
- Position: Are they on the market, in a chain or a cash buyer – this could indicate how quickly they can move.
- Mortgage: Ask if the buyer has a mortgage agreement in principle – this shows they are organised and committed to buying.
- Solicitor: Ask if they have appointed a solicitor when they make their offer – again, shows commitment, so if they haven’t it could be a sign they’re not in it for the long haul.
It’s not until these things happen that a vendor can fully assess the buyer’s level of seriousness. If they miss these important milestones – all of which should come within a few weeks of the offer being accepted – it could reflect that the buyer isn’t interested in progressing and your sale may not materialise.
There are many reasons why a buyer might try to re-negotiate their original offer, such as their finances changing or because the survey has flagged up something that they were not expecting. The fact that money is once again being discussed usually means that the buyer could be ready to walk away from the deal if they don’t get their way.
If the dreaded phone call comes and your buyer drops out, don’t be afraid to ask why for your own peace of mind. Legally they don’t have to tell you, but as common courtesy, most will tell you why. Common reasons for buyers dropping out are:
- The buyer has simply changed their mind.
- Personal circumstances have changed.
- The buyer can’t get a mortgage.
- Property survey revealed something that wasn’t expected.
It’s important to now sit down, take a breath and carefully weigh up your options.
If your buyer does pull out, there is the obvious option of going back onto the open market and starting the process all over again. However, this obviously can add a great deal of time to your sale, and if you are in a chain, it could mean you may lose your onward property.
There are alternatives to waiting on the open market and using a homebuying service such as Spring, can keep your onward move on track and prevent you losing your next property.
How Spring can help
Spring has helped many of our customers when their buyer has pulled out at the 11th
hour. Our homebuying service can step in quickly and fix the broken chain by simply buying your home, instead of going back onto the open market. We can complete on a date to suit your onward move, and as your sale is guaranteed, you can plan ahead with confidence knowing your sale will not fall through.
Get in touch
If you would like to know more about our home buying service, speak to our friendly team and see how we can get you moving again.