Five Ways in which a Property Sale can Collapse

Property Sale

Five Ways in which a Property Sale can Collapse

Are you in a position where you are looking to sell a property? It can be a daunting task, as you’ll want to make sure it’s done right.

Buying or selling a property is arguably the most stressful thing we ever have to do in life. So much so, that a recent survey by NAEA Propertymark found that 49% of participants believe it to be even worse than planning a wedding. 48% responded that it was worse than finding a new job and 30% said the process is worse than being made redundant.

When it comes down to it, the stress is largely caused by issues out of the buyer’s and seller’s control.

NAEA Propertymark has put together a list of what can damage the sale of a property, according to its members:

Buyer’s remorse

Making the decision to purchase a property is one thing, but there’s every chance that, once an offer has been made, a buyer may change their mind. Once this happens, the entire chain is affected, which can result in your own sale falling through.

There is nothing that can be done pre-emptively, but what you can do is ask your estate agent about what vibe they are getting from the buyer, and an overall likelihood of them seeing the purchase through to completion.


Think carefully about who you choose as a solicitor. They play an important part in the process of buying and selling a property, so you want to make sure that you instruct someone you can trust. However, if you end up going with someone who is slow, and it’s the same at the other end of the transaction, the entire sale can become drawn-out.

Efficiency is key, in this situation. As important as it is to read documents carefully, you will want to avoid sitting on them for too long, and delaying the process. There is no way to control the pace of things along the chain, but you can at least make sure that matters at your end are under control and continuously moving.


This is when a buyer has had their offer accepted, only to later be informed that the seller has in fact deciding to go with someone else, who is offering more. There is nothing to stop this from happening at any point, up until contracts have been exchanged, leaving buyers with no home to purchase.

More often than not, this is price-driven. However, it can sometimes be triggered by the transaction not moving quick enough. Delays and issues can cause frustration, which may lead to a seller feeling as though the buyer is dragging their feet.

To avoid ending up in a situation like this, the best you can do is ensure that, as the buyer, you have a mortgage in principle agreed before making an offer, as well as a solicitor ready to go, and all the necessary documentation. This will get the transaction off to a positive start.

Delays in the chain

You will most likely find yourself in a chain, unless you are a first time buyer. With so many parties involved, you will want to make sure that you are doing all you can, in order to keep the process moving.

Simple issues like missing a call from your solicitor, or not being prompt enough with sending back paperwork, may hold up the chain and frustrate your buyer and seller.

You need to accept that normal life may have to take a back seat, until contracts have been exchanged. Just make sure that you are fully contactable, even if you go away on holiday.

Small Disputes

Buying or selling a home can be an emotional time, and matters can get slightly out of hand, resulting in the possibility of squabbles over small issues. It is important to make sure a good survey is undertaken and that you pay attention to the results.

For example, if there is a damp problem with the roof, it will mean extra costs in the future, so now would be the time to negotiate down your offer.

However, some issues can be resolved more simply, such as white goods, fixtures and fittings. When it comes down to it, you may not want the seller to leave their washing machine behind, but you could take it to the tip or donate it to a charity that will collect it from the house. Overall, this will help to avoid engaging in a dispute that could cost you the property.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “Around a third of property transactions fall through between the offer being accepted and the exchange of contracts.

So, concerns from buyers and sellers that this will happen to them are entirely justified and stem from the fact the home buying and selling process is out-dated.

“We know the issue is high on the Government’s agenda, but it does need urgent reform to give buyers and sellers peace of mind when they enter a property transaction. There are several things you can do to try and avoid your sale falling through though. For example, use a Propertymark Protected estate agent who will guide you through the process and help you navigate any unexpected events.”

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