You fall in love with a property.
You have your offer accepted.
You have your mortgage offer.
You would think that it would be smooth sailing from there, just some legal bits to sign – et voila!
Unfortunately, house purchases fall through, and it's worth managing your expectations until the keys to your new home are handed over.
How often do house purchases fall through?
The frequency of property sales falling through varies month by month, but it's not uncommon.
Until the contracts are signed, sealed and delivered (and funds have moved), things can fall apart.
Why does this happen?
Here are just some of the things that can go wrong when buying a property:
The survey: A property survey can highlight defects with the property that were previously hidden. As a buyer, you need to understand the cost of repairs and decide whether you can cover the cost, renegotiate with the seller on their asking price, or walk away.
Problems in the chain: When a string of house sales and purchases are dependent on each other, expect delays, expect impatience and be aware that the chain could fall apart. This is hard to manage, but do reach out to your solicitor to try to understand your position in the chain.
Gazumping: A property sale is only legally binding once you’ve exchanged contracts. There’s nothing to stop someone swooping in and making a higher offer to your seller. If your seller accepts that higher offer, you’ve been gazumped.
Life happens: A seller can simply have a change of heart. Or their circumstances can change, either personally or professionally. There isn't much you can do if the seller is no longer in a position to move.
How to prevent a purchase from falling apart?
There is no silver bullet, but there are a few things within your control.
Try to get your mortgage approved and instruct your solicitors as early as possible. If you plan to have a survey done, get that sorted ASAP too.
The more information you have and the sooner you have it, the better! If there are going to be problems with the property - whether legal or structural - you need to know about them.
If you're unsure about anything, please reach out to your mortgage advisor.