One in five sellers suffer a fall-through costing them an average £2,700 - but many lose £5,000 or more.
These are the findings of consumer group HomeOwners Alliance, which says over 300,000 property transactions collapse each year, in large part due to buyers pulling out of the deal.
Overall, more than two thirds of sales that fall through do so because a buyer changes his mind or finds another property, or because of a mortgage problem.
One in 12 sellers claimed they’ve suffered a failed sale because of gazundering, where the buyer lowers their offer just before the exchange of contracts.
The group claims that many prospective sellers put off marketing their home because of the fear of a chain breaking down - and almost a fifth say they won’t put their home for sale because they fear in the current market they won’t get a price they want.
The research also shows almost one in four sellers having six or more different people view their home before finding a buyer, although the average number of viewings is just under five.
The research comes after the government announced plans to improve the home buying and selling process with a number of measures, including the introduction of voluntary reservation agreements.
These legally binding agreements - supported by the HomeOwners Alliance - would require both buyers and sellers to put down a non-refundable deposit to commit both sides earlier in the process.
“Gazundering and time wasting is a huge problem. The home selling system is so unreliable it’s deterring homeowners from selling – adding to the ongoing housing shortage crisis as a lack of suitable homes is one of the barriers to people moving up the property ladder” claims Paula Higgins, HOA chief executive.
“Buyers need to have a little more skin in the game too. An earlier commitment – for example through reservation agreements – would go some way to avoiding these situations” she insists.