Why do house sales fall through?

October, 2022

Selling a house is up there with one of the most stressful things you will ever do in your life. 

Home Selling Expert surveyed 305 people who have sold or have tried to sell their home to find out what percentage of house sales fall through.  The results are as follows….

31% of all house sales fall through at least once before completion

The most common reason for a house sale falling through is a change of heart or circumstance, closely followed by a break in the chain and mortgage problems.

What are the most common change of circumstances to impact a house sale fall through?

Buyers have been making rash decisions recently when it comes to house purchases with the number of potential buyers vastly outweighing the number of houses for sale.  It’s quite possible that your buyer may have gotten a bit carried away in a bidding war and overstretched themselves on their offer.  This can lead to buyer’s remorse once the dust has settled. 

Buyers may also have experienced an event in their personal life, such as their relationship breaking down or a redundancy, which makes the house purchase financially unviable for them.   

Redundancies can also lead to problems obtaining a mortgage offer. Lenders are also becoming more nervous because of uncertainty in the property market and so are rejecting more applications.

How does a house chain affect fall through rates?

If you find yourself in a house chain, unfortunately the risk of it collapsing increases with every additional house.

If there is no chain there is a 24% chance of your house sale falling through.

If there are two houses in a chain, there is a 42% chance that one of the house sales will fall through at some stage in the process.

If there are three houses in the property chain, the risk of one or more of the house sales falling through is more than half, at 56%.

You aren’t just relying on your survey coming back clear; you have to hope the surveys for each property in the chain don’t reveal a nasty surprise.  There are also more minds that can be changed, and communication can be trickier with more solicitors and estate agents to coordinate.  This can cause greater delays.

You can minimise the number of other transactions you're relying on by "breaking the property chain".

What are my options if my house sale falls through?

Although having a house sale fall through can feel like the end of the world, you do have the following options:

  • Try to renegotiate with the current buyer
  • Contact your estate agent about other interested buyers and/or putting the property back on the market
  • Sell to a cash house buying company
  • Sell via auction (if the sale has fallen through due to survey issues and you have no onward purchase)

The best solution for you will vary depending on whether you need a quick sale to avoid missing out on your dream home or if you need to achieve the best possible price to afford your onward purchase.

Want more advice?

Please feel free to call our team on 0121 430 4448 for more help and advice, alternatively email us on enquiries@hshomesofsolihull.co.uk.



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