What to do if a house buyer pulls out

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting times of your life, but that isn’t to say there can’t be bumps along the road. If a house buyer pulls out we’ve noted down what you can expect and how to prepare for such a predicament.

Both buyers and sellers can drop out of deals, but it’s more common for buyers to fall through. If you’re buying a new build house you have no need to worry about an onward chain, just your own buyers.

To minimise the risk of a buyer not making it to purchase completion, cash buyers and first-time buyers are an ideal audience. Neither are caught in a chain, and have many fewer reasons to pull out.


What are the most common reasons buyers pull out?

The first thing to remember is that everyone in the chain is a human being. Changes in personal circumstances, from being made redundant, to separation, or health concerns, are valid reasons for reassessing. So it’s important to stay empathetic and keep in mind that selling your home can take a relatively long time.

Offers are always encouraged as early as possible in the process. But this means that, following searches and valuation, mortgage offers may be withdrawn, or other issues may come to light. In fact, 31% of sales fall through at least once before completion, when surveys are taking place.

Of course, it could simply be the old classic: cold feet. They could’ve found a place that’s a better fit for them or have changed their mind about moving altogether It’s important to remember everyone’s just looking for the best life for them and their families.


Fees when a buyer pulls out

Now for the less pleasant news: there will be bills. Unlike Scotland, where buyers who drop out can be liable for fees incurred by the seller, these are the seller’s responsibility in England. And, brace yourself, according to the Homeowner’s Alliance, the average cost to parties affected by failed house purchases is £2,727. Although much of that will be spent by prospective buyers on searches and surveys.

So, you’re likely to have to cover some solicitors’ fees when the buyer pulls out. But what do you do next to get the ball rolling again?


The buyer’s pulled out. What now?

The first thing to do is try to find out what happened. A buyer doesn’t owe an explanation for dropping out of the deal, but they may be open to a conversation.

If it’s something as simple as a date or a price, you may have some flexibility to offer to get things back on track.

Failing that, it’s time to get in touch with your estate agent. They can refresh your listing, with new photos if necessary. They can also spark up those conversations with people who may have missed out last time.

A good agent will be able to get you back into the market very quickly, and minimise the time you’ll waste.

Any new bidders will need to get searches done, which takes time and costs money. Your agent could contact the previous buyer’s solicitors to arrange for a new bidder to buy the information at a lower price —and much quicker.


With a little preparation, you’ll be able to minimise cost and disruption

Chains are a fact of life for most homeowners looking to move. But, as we’ve seen, there are ways to make life a little easier, quicker and less expensive.

If you’re looking for an award-winning, beautiful new home, take a look at our stunning new and upcoming developments. You’ll also have the opportunity to take the onward chain out of the equation.