Why Do House Sales Fall Through?

Posted on: 5 December 2017

On average there is a 23% fall through rate throughout the UK. Here are some reasons as to why -


Surveys can be one of the most common reasons why sales fall through. If something unexpected arises, your first instinct may be to run for the hills however, it is highly recommended that these issues are discussed before making any drastic decisions.

TIP: As a seller, we would recommend any paperwork for work carried out and certifications are on hand, ready to provide to the surveyor and both the solicitor and purchaser. If surveyors have not seen any paperwork or evidence of work, they will assume that it hasn’t been done and it can become a larger problem than it actually is.

If there is work that needs to be carried out, it can be beneficial to discuss/rectify it before going back to the market, because if your sale falls through, you may incur costs like solicitor fees on top of paying for the work.

TIP: Purchasers should fully read their survey report and ask their surveyor to explain anything they don’t understand.


Chains are 50% more likely to experience issues however, a chain can collapse for many different reasons. Some people can just simply get bored of waiting and go on to find a house elsewhere. The result in a single break can be massive and can potentially cause issues to all others involved no matter where they are situated.

So how can you try to stop a chain from falling through

We understand that a shorter chain isn’t always possible however, trusting in your estate agent to help guide you towards the better, qualified buyer is ideal.

Touching back on your estate agent, finding the right one to keep your sale together is also just as important. Does your estate agent have a dedicated team or member of staff that will oversee your entire sale? Those members of staff are hugely important and could be your saviour!

During a negotiation 

Adjustments on price isn’t always the only negotiation you will deal with. You can find yourself dealing with all sorts of surprising demands.

TIP: It is always worth being flexible, and remember that small details should not be make-or-break on your deal.

Fixtures and fittings can cause some discrepancies with sellers wanting to take fitted items. This can often cause sales to fall through due to silly reasons such as leaving an old shed or taking carpets.

Other negotiations you may come across will be during the legal side. Not wanting to contribute towards an indemnity policy, or not being able to agree on a completion date being the most common. This is when your sales progressor at your Estate Agent steps in. They mediate between all parties to help look at the bigger picture of completing the sales transaction.

People changing their mind and pulling out

Touching back slightly on the chain subject however, this can happen if you have sold an empty property to a first-time buyer or investor. Situations change all the time; someone could lose their job, mortgage offer rejection, a family member could suddenly become ill or people can simply have second thoughts. It happens. Also, putting the shoe on the other foot, the seller could change their mind after accepting that first offer. They may not find anywhere or just simply decide to stay put.




What should you do next? 

If a sale falls through and you can safely say you have done everything to try and save it, get the property back on the market without any delay and re-launch it to the public! In the event of the property falling through due to survey results, the faults should be looked at to avoid a repeat situation.

How can you prevent a sale from falling through? 

As a seller, we recommend getting all paperwork together for the sale of your property so you are prepared. You extended the kitchen in 2010, have the paperwork! Windows were replaced last year? Get the paperwork! Remember to be flexible on your fixtures and fittings – your curtains and blinds may be all fitted and you spent a small fortune on them but are they going to fit your new property? Are they going to get you the money you want for your house?

As a buyer you must also be prepared! Make sure you have planned your mortgage affordability prior to putting in offers. Make sure you have explored your options, got the best deal for you and have everything ready for your mortgage appointment and application.

During the selling or buying of a property you should always remember to be patient, especially when waiting for sales to go through. We understand that you want to sell your house and move quickly or you are purchasing your first property and your keen to settle in, but it is worth taking a step back and letting the negotiations take their course. A professional estate agent will see this through smoothly with very little stress on your part and this is the most important advice we can give - Choose a highly regarded, independent and qualified agent like Hawkins Sales and Lettings who will be able to make your entire journey a breeze! We can’t guarantee every sale will go through without any hiccups, but having a trustworthy agent who can overcome these hurdles effectively is crucial. Make sure your chosen agent are able to constantly chase your sale through and communicate with you, no matter if there is a chain or not and can honestly say they will ensure that everything possible is done to prevent a sale from falling through. 


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