When you are trying to sell your house, there is nothing worse than the deal falling through at last minute when your property buyer pulls out.

Sadly, this is a common occurrence for many people selling through the traditional practice of using estate agents.

If you are trying to sell your house and fear that your buyer is going to pull out of your sale, or they already have, then read on for information on what this means and what your next steps should be.

What happens when a house sale falls through?

When a house sale falls through before the contracts are exchanged, your deal is thrown out and you need to find another party to buy your property.

Unfortunately, if you are a seller committed to using an estate agent, there is not much that you can do besides relist your house and await any further offers.

If selling your house quickly is important to you, then another option is to seek out a house buying company to buy your house quickly for cash. If your house sale has fallen through, then a house buying company can provide you with an offer on your house within just a few hours. Then it will be up to you whether you accept this offer and potentially sell your house within just a couple of days.

Reasons why house sale falls through

There are many reasons why a house sale could fall through, some are more common than others. Here are a few of the most common reasons why house sales fall through in England:

Chain collapsing

If you are selling your house in a chain, it means that your sale is reliant on a series of other property transactions before or after your own.

For example, if you are the last house in a chain, then the people buying your property will be relying on the funds from their own house sale to buy your property.

Being in a chain makes a house sale falling through much more common because if just one party involved in the chain pulls out, for any reason, then the entire chain could collapse.


Gazumping happens to house buyers. It is when a seller agrees to their offer but then accepts a higher offer from another buyer.

Unless the seller has specifically agreed with the buyer that they will not accept higher offers before the contracts are exchanged, then gazumping is perfectly legal.

While you may not be worried about gazumping as a seller, if another party in your chain is gazumped then it could have a knock-on effect and disrupt your own house sale.


Delays in the conveyancing process are unfortunately quite common and unless the solicitors explicitly communicate the reasons why any delays are occurring throughout the process then this can put a buyer off and they could abandon the purchase.

Mortgage problems

Your buyer may experience issues with obtaining their mortgage. While this can be mitigated by accepting an offer from a buyer with a mortgage agreement in principle who has all of their finances in order, their bank or mortgage lender could have a sudden issue with the purchase which causes the sale to fall through.

For example, the mortgage lender may perform their own valuation of the property and decide that the selling price is too high. In cases such as this, they may not lend the buyer the full amount that they need in order to purchase the property.

Housing estate

What to do when a buyer pulls out of a house sale

When you are informed that your buyer is pulling out of the sale, try your best to find out the reason why.

The sale could be salvageable if your buyer is just trying to lower the price by reducing their offer before the exchange of contracts – this is called gazundering. It is up to you whether you accept their lower offer and go through with the sale at this late stage.

If they have identified a problem with the house then you being aware of this means you can proceed to make amends or repairs, if necessary, before trying to sell your house again. However, the buyer may simply have changed their mind and decided not to go through with the sale.

In some circumstances, you may be able to purchase the completed search documents from your buyers’ solicitor, so that you can quickly provide those documents to your new buyer.

What to do when a seller pulls out of house sale

Try and find out why the house sale has fallen through and attempt to seek a compromise if you still want to purchase the property.

If you have been gazumped then you can always come back with a higher offer of your own, although you may simply be gazumped again or be left paying much more than you initially expected to.

Unfortunately, you may have to accept that your house hunt is back on and fingers crossed you will find an even better property within your price range that you can place an offer on.

House keys

What are your legal rights when a house sale has fallen through?

Buyers can legally pull out of a house purchase before exchange with no legal recourse or financial implication.

After contracts are exchanged, if your buyer has pulled out of the house sale then you can seek any losses you have incurred from them and you may also be able to keep their deposit, although you will need to seek legal advice for this.

Need to Sell Your Home Quickly?

If you want to avoid the stress and concern that comes with selling your house through an estate agent, then a house buyer in the UK like us at Easy Sale may be the better option for you.

We can make you an offer on your property in just a few hours at trade prices of up to 85% market value. The offer we give you will be the amount you receive as we have no hidden fees and even cover your legal costs.

To sell your house fast in Liverpool, contact us now for a quote and begin the process of selling your property in the quickest way possible. Or see our blog for more information, such as on how long you have to wait before selling your house.


Are estate agent fees payable if buyer pulls out of sale?

It is uncommon for estate agents to charge you if it is the buyer who has pulled out of the house sale. Instead, they make their money after contracts are exchanged and the property is sold.

Do you pay solicitor fees when a buyer pulls out?

You will have to pay for disbursements, such as searches and checks that have been completed.

Your own agreement with your solicitor will dictate what other costs you are eligible to pay so we recommend checking over your contract.

Can a seller pull out of sale when contracts are signed?

If the contracts are signed and exchanged, then the seller is bound to the sale. If they pull out of the sale then they will be liable to financial and maybe even legal penalties.

Can a buyer pull out of sale once offer is accepted?

Yes, a buyer is free to pull out of a sale at any point before the contracts are exchanged.

What percentage of house sales fall through?

In 2019, 272,768 property transactions fell through, equating to roughly 24% of all transactions.

Does a fallen through house sale put people off?

A house sale that has fallen through may potentially ward off other buyers as they may believe that a problem may have been identified with your property which caused the buyer to pull out of their deal.

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