What to do when you’ve found a dream home and your buyer walks away

Are you worried your buyer might walk away? Sam Samuel, Director at Edward Ashdale, Bromley, gives his advice on what you can do to protect yourself

The last thing that you want to happen once you have found a dream home is to see your buyer walk away. According to Sam Samuel, Director at Edward Ashdale, Bromley, in a market supported by such strong levels of demand, once the price has been agreed, you can expect to see the sale go through but often a buyer will have to pull out due to a change in circumstance.

Mr Samuel explains that when there is a delay in obtaining solicitor’s details or a reluctance to provide the financial details, sellers start to think that the buyer is wasting time. “Everything should be in order from the outset and buyers must show signs they are motivated to buy, as well as to sell. Not answering the phone, returning calls or emails is also a pretty good indicator of their feeling towards the purchase.”

What can you do to protect yourself?

As the seller, you should protect yourself from the outset to ensure you don’t waste valuable time and expense chasing an uncommitted buyer. This is just one good reason to ensure you employ an estate agent who has the knowledge and skill to recognise committed buyers. To keep things moving along, ensure your agent has checked the buyer has a mortgage offer in principle, providing assurance that they are able to borrow the desired amount. Chains with three or more sellers have a higher risk of a sale falling through. If your buyer is part of a chain, your agent should check the progress of this sale.

What to do if the worst happens?

If you have already found your dream home then you will want to replace the buyer quickly. Mr Samuel suggests that you work closely with your agent to establish two key factors:

1. An accurate valuation: In such a strong market the value of your property may have gone up or down in the time that it was off the market. Seek the expert advice of your local agent and check the price against similar homes in your area using sold prices, available at OnTheMarket.com.
2. Marketing: Does it need refreshing? Is the agent utilising all the marketing platforms available to them? If the property has been on the market for a while it may be time to refresh the photographs. Use floor plans, videos and comprehensive information.

It is frustrating when a buyer pulls out of a sale. However, as Mr Samuel points out, sometimes it can be for the best. “In such a strong market, we can usually replace buyers to re-complete chains quickly and get vendors an increase of one per cent to two per cent of the value on the price. In a tougher market we will have detailed discussions with vendors to find out what is important to them. Each circumstance is different, so we decide on an appropriate strategy on a case by case basis.”

Content provided by OnTheMarket.com is for information purposes only. Independent and professional advice should be taken before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial products.

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