We had a problem with the house we were buying. The problem happened before we exchanged contracts but although the vendor, his solicitor and the estate agent all knew about it they didn't tell us. We found out the day after exchange of contracts. We wanted to pull out before completion but our solicitor warned us not to because of the risk of being sued by our buyers. He certainly seemed to think that not only could they sue for actual costs incurred but also for compensation. We therefore proceeded with the sale but didn't know until the day of completion if we were going to go ahead with the purchase or not. We did go ahead as we were able to agree a discount from the vendor as compensation.
You can sue for breach of contract but quantifying the actual "loss" is difficult so claims are often not made.
Obviously legal fees etc. can be easily quantified, as can any deposits you've paid to removal firms etc. and any compensation you have to pay to your purchaser (for the same things as above and right down the chain) - but the hassle/time wasted/potential uplift in the market whilst the deal has been with solicitors etc. are all must more difficult to measure so rarely get taken into account.
Is there any reason why you think your vendors might be getting cold feet ? Or is it just usual last minute nerves ?
We've agreed with Oct 1st OR SOONER as completion to give our vendors a chance to find somewhere (we worry they're in for a shock: they're buying local and are currently feeling 'quids in', a happy state that will evaporate as soon as they realise you have to view AND OFFER on the first day a property hits the market, and even then perhaps a bit ABOVE asking price! The clue should be in that happening to them as vendors!)
They've SAID they'll rent if necessary to make sure we don't walk away if they breach the Oct 1st deadline but we'll see. I do wonder if they might stall with exchange to get as close as poss. to Oct 1st to buy themselves time to either buy, or withdraw from this contract. Guess we have no comeback with that!
we were in the most awful position on buying this house. we had an orthodox jewish businessman buying our london house and we had exchanged. We were then told by our solicitor that he was going to fail to complete. Now I can't remember exactly but I seem to remember there is a further 2 week period after completion day where they have to pay you 10% of your deposit and I think that's daily. Now we didn't actually get any further because our estate agent immediately held an open hour, invited various jewish businessmen he knew and we had 4 other offers on the table the same day. funnily enough the original buyer managed to complete shortly after schedule but it was the most worrying/anxious time ever because being in a chain, we were going to fail to complete as well. I had never heard of this, but I gather it's relatively common particularly within the orthodox jewish community.
oh and the worst thing was that the mother had not been told completion had not taken place (it was in 1999 and she didnt have a mobile!) and turned up at midday with her 4 kids and two removal vans expecting to move in!