How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through, Why & How Can You Stop It?

How often do home sales fall through? This is a question that can vary from year to year and location to location. Across the whole of the UK in 2021, around one in three purchases fell through for one reason or another. 

While we do have to take into account the unprecedented events that occurred – it is still quite a shocking figure. Despite this, it is important to remember that there are plenty of reasons for this happening and ways you can prevent yourself from being in the same situation, so here are some thoughts from team Seymours.

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through

Along with the heartbreak a failed sale can cause – it is often a very pricey situation too. Our agents at Seymours always want you to have the best experience whether buying or selling. And that is why we do not charge a penny if your house doesn’t sell.

The property market is not straightforward and can certainly throw curveballs. But once you understand the reasons behind this and what you could be up against: you will be in a better position to prevent these unwanted situations from arising. 

There are 5 main answers to why and how often do home sales fall through. But amongst those, there are also a host of actions you can take and questions you can ask to leave in a more secure position. 

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through

Property Chains

Brett Foulser, our Sales Director at Seymours Woking commented “a chain is created when more than one buyer is involved in the transaction. For example, if you are buying from someone who is also moving house and buying from another party – a chain is created.  A common issue with this is that completion dates can be affected by pauses or timings at one part of the chain. When someone is relying on the sale of their home to continue the chain – it can be a more lengthy process”. 

“This is also a major contributor to answering the question of how often do home sales fall through. Even if the chain collapses at just one point – it can have a significant impact on the rest of the transactions and leave all parties at a stalemate”. 

A lot of the reasons below will also contribute to chain breaking as it requires full confidence and financial ability to complete a purchase. But what can you do to manage a chain and prevent this?

How To Mitigate The Issue

Our biggest piece of advice would be to ensure that you are willing to compromise during a sale, and take time choosing the right estate agent

When you can rely on your agent to chase contracts and keep the process moving, there will be less chance of people getting cold feet or running into any issues. 

With our expert knowledge of the local property market and dedicated negotiators and sale progressors, you can be sure we have all of the right people to complete swiftly. 

Similarly, having close and frequent contact with your solicitors and agents will keep you in the loop and allow us to answer any questions or concerns you may have. So don’t forget to keep picking up the phone. While we chase the contracts, you can chase the answers!

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through


Nick Johnson our resident Partner at Seymours in Thames Ditton says, “unfortunately, this issue can lead to a sudden and unexpected fall through in the purchase of your new home. Despite the seller accepting your offer, a new buyer could quickly come in with a higher one – trying to push you out of the running. While it’s not the most moral of decisions, until you have exchanged contracts – the seller can still legally accept offers from other people.”

Nick went on to say, “We would never advise you to rush a sale. It is vital that all the correct measures are taken and details considered throughout the journey. However, with gazumping possible until the moment you exchange contracts – it is important to try not to slow the process down from your end. That being said – it is a good idea to be completely confident in your decision and ensure you have the finances and support necessary to complete the transaction”. 

“If you can create a quick and easy process for the sellers – they may even be reluctant to accept a higher offer down the line. Avoiding gazumping is tricky when it happens, but doing all you can to move along quickly will help you pip them to the post and complete contracts as soon as possible”. 

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through

Critical Survey Results

Oliver Crouch from the Camberley office mentioned “there are a few types of property surveys that can greatly influence a buyer’s decision. From a condition report to a whole building survey, they can highlight both minor, quick fixes and significant issues with a property”. 

“Sometimes, problems can arise that could result in large repair fees or the need for work to be done that buyers are not prepared to carry out. While this may affect the value of the property in the first place, it can leave people disheartened and unsure as to whether they’re getting the best deal. As a buyer – there is not much you can do here except decide whether or not you want to take on the property with its issues”.

As A Seller

Ben Conquer from Seymours Ripley added, “If you’re asking ‘how often do home sales fall through’ and are worried about the results of a property survey, it could be worth holding off on listing your house until repairs, maintenance and updates have been made. Carrying out the work before going on the market could also see your house being valued higher than originally thought. With a more secure foundation and the removal of any hazards – buyers may be more inclined to see the sale through”.

“While we understand you may be concerned over the cost of rectifying these issues – the solicitor’s fees will still need to be paid if the sale falls through. Therefore, making these amendments before going on the market is more likely to result in a successful sale and a higher price!

Change Of Heart

West Byfleet’s resident Partner Vince Nigrelli agreed, “this is probably the most frustrating of all the reasons as not much can be done to get around it. People’s situations are ever-changing and you can never be sure of the circumstances surrounding a change of heart. We have seen people pull out due to redundancy, family troubles or simply second thoughts about moving altogether. This could really happen at any point in the sale, so we suggest making sure you have all of the information you need and having actions in place to revert back to step 1 if this does happen,” he said.

Be Ready

Advise echoed by all 20 of our offices was that it is important as a seller to be understanding of these instances and ensure your estate agent is ready to find you another buyer. If you are part of a chain, looking to buy a property yourself – it is more important than ever to get the process moving again.

As we said previously, this is why it is so crucial to choose your estate agents and solicitors wisely. This will give you confidence that you can pick up from where you left off with a great offer and less risk of breaking your own chain.


Mortgages And Other Finances

Finally, Simon Stone, the Partner at Seymours Knaphill felt that “while it seems all well and good to have a mortgage in principle – this does not guarantee the loan will actually be approved when it is needed. Once the details are finalised and you are looking to complete the sale, you may find that the buyer cannot actually afford to purchase. A lender can decide to change their mind because of even the smallest details. This is why we always push to make sure buyers qualify and are in the best position possible to afford their offers”. 

“Similarly, you may find that part of the chain did not receive as much for their own home as they first thought. As a result, this can affect their ability to continue with the purchase. While this can be frustrating – it serves as a reminder to ensure all the relevant checks, questions, valuations and surveys have been carried out”.

Tips For Mortgage Approval

Securing an application is nerve-wracking and many assume that a mortgage in principle is a green light. In reality – there are many factors that could cause lenders to change their minds. 

From incorrect forms to job changes, you should keep these tips in mind when applying to ensure it is not the reason your sale falls through. 

  • Check your credit score – Building up a good credit score can greatly benefit your chances at borrowing money, so check it before you’re looking to buy and spend time improving upon it. 
  • Schemes – There are plenty of schemes available for first-time buyers and other owners that can help get you the deposit and other funds needed to secure a new property. 
  • Evidence of deposit – If you have been saving for a year or two, you will need proof as to where your deposit is coming from. Evidence of saving patterns and bank statements will be required to approve your mortgage. 


How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through

How Often Do Home Sales Fall Through? – A Conclusion

While there can be times that this dire situation cannot be mitigated or rectified, it also raises some actions that may need to be taken to best position you for a successful sale. 

As a seller, you should ensure you have a reliable and professional agent on your side to push the sale through quickly and give you the best chance at listing your property again quickly – should it not sell the first time. 

Whereas, buyers must be confident in their finances and take the time to invest in the correct surveys and applications. 

It can be a stressful time, but choosing Seymours will ensure you have all the support and information you need from the first visit to completion. You can fill out a contact form today or visit our website to book an appointment and find out more. We keep our processes simple and transparent and won’t try to baffle you with small print or jargon