How to Avoid Your Property Sale Falling Through

Selling a property can be a daunting experience, filled with anticipation and stress. While the process can be smooth, there’s always the risk of the sale falling through. This article explores common reasons why house sales fail and provides practical advice on how to avoid each pitfall, ensuring a successful transaction.

Young couple in office of real estate agent

Common Reasons for House Sales Falling Through

Buyer’s Mortgage Issues

One of the most frequent reasons for a property sale falling through is the buyer’s inability to secure a mortgage. Even if a buyer has a mortgage agreement in principle, issues can arise during the final approval process, especially if their financial circumstances change or if the lender’s valuation is lower than the agreed purchase price.

How to Avoid: Ensure that your buyer has a firm mortgage offer rather than just an agreement in principle. Verify their financial stability and ask for regular updates on the mortgage process. Working with a proactive estate agent like Newton Fallowell can help keep these checks thorough and timely.

Property Chain Breakdowns

A property chain involves several linked transactions, where each sale depends on another. If one transaction in the chain falls apart, it can cause a domino effect, jeopardising your sale.

How to Avoid: Consider chain-free buyers if possible, such as first-time buyers or those who have already sold their property. Alternatively, ensure your estate agent closely monitors the chain’s progress and communicates effectively with all parties involved.

Survey Results

Surveys can uncover hidden issues with the property, such as structural problems or subsidence. Negative survey results can lead to buyers withdrawing or renegotiating the price.

How to Avoid: Conduct a pre-sale survey to identify and address potential issues before putting your house on the market. Being upfront about any problems and fixing them can prevent unpleasant surprises later on.


Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after already agreeing to a sale. This can cause frustration and financial loss for the initial buyer.

How to Avoid: While gazumping is legal in the UK, you can mitigate its occurrence by taking your property off the market once an offer has been accepted. Additionally, a “lock-in” agreement can provide legal protection for both parties.

Legal and Documentation Delays

The legal process of transferring property ownership involves numerous checks and documents. Delays or mistakes in this process can cause significant setbacks.

How to Avoid: Choose an experienced solicitor or conveyancer who specialises in property transactions. Ensure that all required documents, such as planning permissions and building regulations approvals, are in order before listing your property.

Tips to Ensure a Smooth Property Sale

Set a Realistic Price

Overpricing your property can lead to prolonged time on the market and potential buyers losing interest. Ensure your home is priced competitively by obtaining a valuation from a reputable estate agent.

How you Can Help: Use multiple valuations to get an accurate market value and consider the advice of your estate agent. Pricing your property correctly can attract serious buyers and reduce the risk of lengthy negotiations.

Communication Breakdown

Clear and consistent communication with all parties involved in the sale process is crucial. This includes your estate agent, solicitor and the buyer.

How you Can Help: Regularly check in with your estate agent for updates and be responsive to any queries or requests for information. Keeping everyone informed can prevent misunderstandings and delays.


Negotiations are a natural part of the property sale process. Being prepared to compromise on certain aspects can help keep the sale moving forward.

How you Can Help: Decide in advance the areas where you are willing to be flexible, such as the sale price or completion date. A cooperative attitude can foster goodwill and facilitate a smoother transaction.

Ensure Property Readiness

A well-presented property is more likely to attract serious buyers and achieve a quicker sale. Address any minor repairs, declutter and consider staging your home to make it more appealing.

How you Can Help: Conduct a thorough clean, make necessary repairs, and create a welcoming atmosphere for viewings. First impressions are crucial and a well-maintained property can help secure offers.

At Newton Fallowell, we understand the complexities and challenges of selling a property. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support throughout the process, ensuring a smooth and successful sale. If you are considering selling your home, contact us today for expert advice and personalised service. Let us help you navigate the property market with confidence.