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There are multiple stages that need to happen successfully in order for a home sale to go through; as a result, it is highly common for sales to fall through. In fact, according to data from Quick Move Now, in 2019 alone, 25% of transactions fell through between an offer being accepted and completion. Historically, the figure has been even higher.

When buying a home, there are lots of things that could potentially lead to the sale falling through, for example the property chain or issues with mortgages. We explore the top reasons why property sales might fall through and how you may be able to avoid them.


Issues with Mortgage

Mortgages can present problems when it comes to completing a property sale. One of the key problems is what is known as a “down valuation” – this is where lenders value a property at a lower amount than the buyer has agreed to pay. If this happens, there may need to be a price negotiation or buyers will need to come up with the rest of the money. Seeking valuations from multiple estate agents before listing the property should help avoid any misunderstanding when it comes to the house price.

Another potential problem with mortgages is when the mortgage offer falls through. This could happen if the buyer’s mortgage offer expires before they accept it. It can also happen if the buyer is no longer able to borrow as much as they need due to a change in circumstances. Buyers should only secure a mortgage agreement once they are ready to start viewing homes and ready to buy.

When working with cash buyers, this problem is removed because there is no need to wait for mortgage approval and you do not face any of the issues associated with mortgages. That is why it is usually far quicker to sell a property when cash buyers are involved.


Problems with the Property Chain

The property chain refers to the string of transactions which are linked together when selling a property; for example, you are most likely selling your house in order to buy another one and the buyers moving into your home are probably selling their own home, etc. If one sale in the chain collapses, it can break the whole chain and cause disruption for many parties. There are many reasons this could happen – a change in financial circumstances, issues with mortgages, a problem with one of the properties. Whatever the reason, one small change can have a huge impact on the entire chain.

In some cases there is a smaller property chain; for example, if there are first-time buyers who do not need to sell their own property. Similarly, those who are buying a second property will not necessarily need to sell another property before buying.



When the seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after they have already agreed to sell to you it is known as “gazumping”. Though unethical, gazumping is highly common, especially in the more competitive markets. This can be a frustrating situation and it is worth noting that no sale is official until the contracts have been exchanged.


Issues Highlighted in the Home Survey

Home surveys are designed to identify any potential issues, be it serious structural problems to smaller maintenance issues. If a major issue is uncovered in the survey, buyers could try and renegotiate the price or withdraw from the deal. Getting an adequate home survey up front can avoid any surprises later down the line.