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When Property Buying Goes Wrong

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Try not to get too carried away with a particular property until the deal is done.

Sometimes, no matter how well things seem to be going, there’s always a chance a property transaction won’t work out.

This can be hard to accept, so here’s our advice for when property buying goes wrong.

Why property buying goes wrong

When buying a house, there are many problems that can arise. Losing your dream home is the most devastating. The home you thought was yours suddenly isn’t available to you anymore.

Here are some reasons why property buying can go wrong:

It can be heart-breaking to lose something you have become emotionally invested in. The thought of starting the lengthy process of finding another suitable property can seem like too much to bear.

However, it’s important to pick yourself up, and get back to your property search.

Is there a way to prevent this?

Home Buyers’ Protection Insurance is a safety net for many buyers. It allows you to claim back some of the money you’ve spent, such as survey and valuation fees.

However, some circumstances are simply out of your control! House sales are most likely to fall apart between exchange and completion, even though your offer has been accepted.  

What to do if property buying goes wrong

Wallowing around feeling angry or sad won’t achieve anything for you. Chances are, you have an eager buyer interested in your own home that you don’t want to lose.

Try not to get despondent. It’s likely your estate agents will have you as a ‘live’ buyer on their system, and it won’t take long to get them active again on your behalf.

Obviously, there are many things that could have gone awry in your particular circumstances. However, in general, there are a few things you can (and should) do if you miss out on your chosen property:

Get back to your search

The best thing you can do is get in touch with all of your estate agent contacts and let them know you’re looking again. Your recent experience will help prove to them you are a committed buyer.

Be sure to tell the agency about the property you missed out on, so they have a real and relevant illustration of your likes and dislikes. Referring to an actual property is easier than a list of hopes and expectations.

Don’t stay angry

However emotional you feel about the process of your failed purchase, try not to hold onto it. There’s nothing you can do about the past, and while it’s a cliché, what’s done is done.

Try to take this as a positive learning experience and move on with the process. The property market is a notoriously tricky one to navigate.

Remain professional

Regardless of how you feel, it’s important to present your most ‘contained’ front to your estate agent.

This is particularly true in the case of sealed bids. If you didn’t win a bid, then be sure to be polite to the selling agent, and let them know if you are still interested.

Often, the winning bidder in a sealed bid scenario changes their mind, or the transaction becomes problematic later on. You’ll want to be first in line for when they’re looking for another buyer.

Try not to play the blame game and bad-mouth any agents, solicitors and/or the seller. Speaking ill of those involved is likely to reflect badly on you.

The last thing you want is a reputation for being difficult in the face of unfortunate circumstances.

Try and find the silver lining

You’re bound to have learnt something from this experience, so put it to good use in your next property search.

Try to take this as a lesson learned, and turn it into something useful for your future search:

  • You might realise you need to respond faster or insist your solicitor is more proactive in their communications
  • You might decide you don’t want to be involved in a property sold as a result of a divorce or a probate sale
  • You may come to realise you have been too selective. Consider broadening your search to include a wider array of properties

Make a complaint

Making a complaint won’t always be necessary, but you have several avenues to pursue if you feel you have been treated unfairly.

Initially, verbalise any problems you have within the estate agency branch you have been dealing with. Speak or write to the manager of the branch, carefully outlining your complaint.

Remember, the seller of the property is their client, so there may be very little they can do to help you. They are also likely to publicly defend their staff. However, this depends on the nature of your issue.

If you feel there has been a serious problem with conduct during your attempted purchase, you may want to escalate your issue to a property redress scheme. All agents have a legal requirement to be a member of such a scheme.

You can ask the estate agent you’re dealing with which scheme they belong to, but it’s likely to be The Property Ombudsman Scheme, which is the largest scheme of its type in the UK. Before submitting a complaint to the Ombudsman, you’re advised to first seek a ‘final position’ letter from the estate agent. This will demonstrate you have done everything possible before escalating this with an Ombudsman body.

Equally, if you’re making a complaint against an estate agent, you will need to substantiate on what material grounds you believe they have breached.

Finally, just as a word of warning, the property market is a small place. So, while you should speak up if you feel there has been misconduct, try not to escalate things over a small matter. Agents talk, and if you’re still in the property market, you don’t want them to talk negatively about you.

Restart your home search

It has been reported that 1 in 3 homeowners have had a bad experience when buying a property.

When you restart your search and start shortlisting properties it’s important that when buying a property you avail yourself of as much information about the building and the area as possible.

With Phil Spencer’s Property Report you can instantly access important information about the property and area including the title register, valuations of the property and local crime and school statistics. This will provide information that will help empower you and a tool to use to not only enable you to negotiate a house price and get the best deal possible, but also make you aware of any potential issues that the sales agent may not have made you aware of.

Get a Property Report

Last Updated: July 20th, 2021