What to do if your buyer pulls out

Selling your property can be an exciting process – after all, you’re just a few steps away from buying a new one! But if your buyer pulls out half way through, or even at the last minute, it can make the whole thing very complicated and frustrating. At Kaytons, we’re here to help though which is why we’re using this blog to highlight everything you need to know about these situations – and how you can prevent it from happening in the first place. 

The property chain 

You’ll probably have heard of the term, property chain. If you’re selling your house, you’ll be a link in this chain. Think about it this way: you’re selling your house to buy a new one, and your buyer is probably selling their home to buy your home. If this buyer pulls out, and your purchase of a new property is dependent on them buying your home, the whole property chain can fall apart.

The legal bits

It’s important to remember that once contracts have been exchanged, a buyer can’t legally pull out. So getting to this stage is important for any seller. If they do pull out after contracts have been signed and sent, as a seller, you can sue them. Before contracts have been exchanged, you need to make it your priority to ensure the process keeps moving forward – ensuring all paperwork is completed, fees are paid and that completion dates are set in stone.

If a buyer does pull out before you’ve exchanged contracts then, as a seller, you’re liable for any fees up until that point. This includes survey costs, solicitor fees and mortgage arrangement costs.

Reasons why a buyer might pull out

This will ultimately depend on lots of different factors but commonly comes down to:

  • The buyer’s chain being broken
  • The buyer finding another property
  • The buyer’s financial situation changing
  • Issues raised in the property survey

Protect yourself as a seller

Unfortunately, if a buyer decides to pull out, it’s out of your control. But there are a few things you can do to prevent it from happening. For starters, a chain-free buyer or a first-time buyer will mean there’s no chance of your buyer pulling out because their chain has problems. You could also request a token deposit from a potential buyer, that’s paid to your solicitor, and will mean you’re in a better position if negotiations halt. Once the sale goes through, you could even return this deposit but if the deal falls through, it can be used to cover some of your fees.

If issues have arisen because of the property survey, and your buyer expresses that they want to pull out, you could consider reducing the asking price – or paying for the problem to be resolved. 

So, what’s next?

One of the first things to do if your buyer pulls out is to find out exactly why – this can then help you to prevent it from happening again. Armed with this knowledge, it’s time to put your property back on the market. Of course, this may seem frustrating but with a team like Kaytons by your side, we’ll be sure to take care of any of the stresses.

Whether your buyer has pulled out or you want some advice on the situation, we’re always happy to help too. Drop our team of property experts a message today or pop into our office on Chapel Street.

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