There’s more fuel added to the current debate about reform of the house purchasing process, as new data reveals one buyer in six pulls out of a deal.
The most common reasons were regarding purchaser finance, a disagreement over the price or a simple change of mind by the buyer.
The study involved 2,056 people over the age of 18, each of which had previously sold at least one property.
Of the sellers, it was discovered that 16 per cent had seen the sale of their house fall through because the buyer had pulled out of the deal.
When asked what reason was given some 17 per cent said they did not know but of the rest:
- 24 per cent said the buyer couldn’t raise the funds;
- 19 per cent blamed disagreements over price;
- 16 per cent said the buyer simply chose to buy a different property;
- nine per cent said the buyer’s own sale fell through; and
- eight per cent blamed a problem thrown up by the survey.
Some 14 per cent said they had fallen prey to gazundering and ended up selling their home for less than the amount that was initially agreed. The average difference in price was £8,500
For those whose deals collapsed, the average sum lost as a result of the buyer pulling out was £1,945.
In the study, for the Thomas Sanderson company, 31 per cent of respondents said they blamed estate agents for the problem.
Interestingly - given the current industry debate about reservation fees - 61 per cent of respondents said they thought the buyer should be made to pay lost fees if they pull out of a deal.
On the other side of the coin, it was found that one in nine sellers had pulled out of a deal to sell their home after putting it on the market.
The findings go to the heart of the current industry debate about buying reforms.
In January the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed that politicians and officials were studying a ‘model’ two page reservation agreement drawn up by a law firm as a possible way of slashing fall throughs and speeding up transactions. An announcement is expected soon on a pilot project.
The government has also hinted that it is looking at the idea of property ‘log books’ - although it insists it has no intention of reintroducing Home Information Packs which had been widely criticised by agents and others in the property industry a decade ago.
The government has already clamped down, via new guidelines from the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, on what it considers to be unfair and unreasonable referral fees during the property purchasing process.