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What to do if a house purchase falls through NAEA offers advice for buyers facing disappointment in a competitive market

Losing out on a dream home can be a difficult experience, but there are steps that can be taken to
maximise a buyer’s chances of concluding their next purchase successfully, according to the National
Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

NAEA’s latest research reveals that there are, on average at a national level, over eight buyers for
every property that comes to market. With this level of competition, buyers are increasingly left
disappointed, even if their offer has been accepted.

Under the rules of the English conveyancing system, the seller or purchaser is completely free to pull
out of the purchase process, without penalty, until contracts are exchanged.

Jan Hӱtch, President of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “Losing out on a house can
be an understandably upsetting experience. To minimise the chances of disappointment, it is always
sensible to find out as much as possible about the seller’s situation. For example, ask if they have
already found a property to buy, and if so, whether or not the upward chain is complete. All of these
factors could impact upon your purchase.

“Remember that estate agents are legally obliged to let sellers know about any offers that are made,
and unfortunately this can sometimes result in gazumping. Rapid price increases in some areas have
led to some sellers deciding to leave their property on the market a little longer and hold out for a
higher price than the original valuation. It is important to work closely with the agent you are dealing
with to understand the seller’s situation and prepare your approach accordingly.”

The NAEA’s top tips for those who have just had a house purchase fall through are as follows:
Find out what happened – A purchase can fall through for a number of reasons. If, for example, the
seller was in a chain that broke down, the property could come back to the market, or the chain
could re-form with a different property being chosen by someone in the chain.

Prioritise – Sit down and list exactly what features you liked and disliked in the property that you
missed out on. This can help focus your search if you do decide to re-enter the market and may even
help to find a more appropriate property for you.

Communication is key – Keep in touch with the agent as they will understand your situation and may
be able to give you early warning of similar suitable properties in your search area. Remember that you are an attractive buyer for anyone looking to make a quick sale as you will probably already have
your mortgage finance set up and the ability to move fast.

Asking for a property to be taken off the market once your offer has been accepted and your
mortgage finance and survey are confirmed is a reasonable request, and can minimise the chances
of additional offers coming in over and above yours.

Don’t put all your eggs into one basket – If you are in rented accommodation, once an offer to buy is
accepted, there can be temptation to give notice straight away on your current home. Remind
yourself that nothing is set in stone until you have exchanged contracts, and factor this into any
decisions you make about when to inform your landlord.

Get the best possible advice – Much of an agents’ involvement in a property transaction goes on
behind the scenes, and a good estate agent can help a sale progress much more easily and smoothly
than going it alone. To ensure you are getting the best possible advice and information about your
purchase, always talk to an NAEA member agent.

Source - NAEA http://www.naea.co.uk/media/539506/what-to-do-if-a-house-purchase-falls-... (07.03.2014)

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