Buyer pulls out last minute

Buyer Pulls Out Last Minute Before Exchange – What to Do Next

What this article covers

  • Why buyers may pull out just before exchange
  • What to do if your buyer pulls out last minute

Lots of frustration can boil up when you try to sell a home in the UK. The lack of legal commitment before the exchange of contracts results in a situation where a buyer can pull out last minute without facing any significant penalties (although the same risk does apply to the buyer with some sellers also known to pull out).

Why is your buyer pulling out last minute?

There could be all sorts of reasons that may lead to a buyer pulling out of a house sale the day before or even the day of the exchange. While frustrating, some reasons could be valid. The buyer, for example, may be facing a sudden change in their financial situation, such as a change in their mortgage offer, and they are no longer in a position to be able to purchase. The buyer may have also been spooked by recent changes in interest rates.

Other reasons you should feel totally aggrieved about. For example, some sellers have shared stories of deals falling through at the last minute because their buyer was only using their property as backup for another house sale. Some buyers have also been known to play dirty tricks by relying on desperation. They may purposely delay the process then put a much lower offer on the table not long before exchange. They may say they will pull out of the deal unless the lower offer is accepted.

Do you have to pay solicitor fees if the buyer pulls out?

Yes, you are most likely on the hook for solicitor fees in the event your buyer pulls out. You will need to pay for whatever amount of work the solicitor conducted to get you to the point of exchange. Some solicitors may have a ‘no move, no fee’ policy but be extra cautious of these packages. It might sound great on paper but the solicitor could simply be adding a premium to the completed transaction to cover the cost of abortive work.

What to do if your buyer pulls out last minute

Unfortunately, there is not much recourse for the seller if the exchange of contracts has not yet taken place. Your energy is best spent moving on and looking for a new buyer as soon as possible, especially if you are part of a chain and have already had an offer accepted on a new home.

Contact your estate agent straight away and start getting the viewings arranged again. If you are lucky, the estate agent might already have a backup buyer ready to view and offer. If you are in good standings with the previous buyer, it might even be possible for the new buyer to buy the searches off them. This may help speed up the process by a week or two if local authority searches in your area take a long time to process.

Published on | Last updated on 12/04/2023

Share your thoughts