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My buyers pulled out on the day of exchange

35 replies

Rox73 · 24/06/2009 12:00

Just to warn you that this is a venting message and a "why is the house buying/selling process SO incredibly difficult" message.

We accepted an offer from our buyers back in March. We were told that they were cash buyers and would be flexible on dates as we had not seen any houses we wanted to buy and didn't want to move into rented accomodation as we have 2 young children. After accepting a low ball offer based on that information (10% below asking), we were subsequently told that they were equity buyers but that their sale would go through independently. Once we had found a house to purchase we were then told that they were going to enforce a chain (i.e. tie their sale with our purchase).

Then we start haggling over fitures and fittings. They had assumed everything (including audio/visual equipment - i.e. speakers, amps, etc) was included. A bitter round of arguments ensued.

We were then 2 weeks away from exchange when they decided that they didn't like the completion date (it was too close to their holiday) so wanted the date brought forward. This almost jeopardised the chain but the people we were buying from agreed to move out earlier.

Then yesterday when all was in place to exchange on both the sale and purchase, our buyers pulled out. The wife "had changed her mind" and they are now going to live with her parents.

I don't know who I'm more angry with. The buyers or the inept agents who failed to do proper due diligence in the first place. When I spoke to them about the misrepresentation they said "things change". Actually I do know. I hate the buyers and I think the agents are idiots.

Why is this sort of carry on allowed to happen?

OP posts:
notcitrus · 24/06/2009 12:09

Much sympathy. Been there twice (once seller changed his mind day of exchange, second place buyer vanished just before exchange. Turned out his bank suddenly decided to increase the rate of interest on his mortgage by 1%, after confirming the offer!).

Agents seem to have no power to check what buyers tell them.

We ended up with all the local agents helping us, and bought an identical flat to the original one, only for £20k cheaper. Hope it works out as well for you in the end.

LittleMissNorty · 24/06/2009 12:13

crap system isn't it? We should follow the Scottish system where there are no estate agents involved.

What a shit thing to happen - hope it sorts itself out in the end for you

PortAndLemon · 24/06/2009 12:18

If it's any consolation at all (which it probably isn't) if the exchange had gone ahead they would have found some way to screw you over between then and completion.

Fimbo · 24/06/2009 12:20

Scotland do have estate agents too!

You have my sympathies, house buying/selling has to rate as the biggest stress factor of all time. It is horrid. There should be some kind of law to prevent people doing this sort of thing.

soopermum1 · 24/06/2009 12:49

happened to me. buyer wanted money off at the very last minute, i said no, she pulled out on the day of exchange. later sold at a higher price to someone else. my agent spoke to her solicitor who said she had done it before, allegedly through gritted teeth

1dilemma · 25/06/2009 01:18

From my fairly limited experience of house buying/selling I don't think EA do any due diligence do they?

It's not like they ask to see pay slips or property deeds before showing you round is it?

However sorry this happened to you had it done to me the other way round the whole system clearly needs reforming

trixymalixy · 25/06/2009 06:30

I think a combination of the Scottish and English systems should be used.

In Scotland buyers can't pull out at the last minute (well technically they can, but there are fincancial penalties and it doesn't happen that often).

Whereas the Scottish offers over system is a nightmare for buyers when the market is bouyant. The English offers system just is so much more transparent.

Although in Scotland house sales are completed much more quickly than in England.

WowOoo · 25/06/2009 06:39

Oh my! Awful for you. I'd be angry with buyers..
This is what puts me off doing it all again, although we will sooner or later.

We had arses like this but they pulled out way before completion date and gave us lots of warning.

They'll get their Karma somehow and you'll get a lovelier new house eventually.

badgermonkey · 25/06/2009 06:43

This happened to us (well, the other way round: the seller changed his mind on the day of exchange) when we bought our first house, and we were heartbroken. We went on to buy another house, and when we sold it, we made £25,000 profit, whereas the original house was in an area with a glut of houses for sale and had only gone up by £10,000 or so. So from a mercenary point of view, the idiot did us a favour, because otherwise we'd never have been able to afford the house we live in now!

Rox73 · 25/06/2009 10:22

Trixymalixy, I agree something should be done to overhaul the whole system.

Don't get me started on the HIP packs. What is the point in having this and charging sellers this when a lot of the information was previously free or as a buyer you have to replicate anyway (e.g. fixtures/fittings list and searches respectively).

At the very least there should be some recourse to recover costs lost (surveys, solicitor's fees) from people who have "changed their mind" at the 11th hour.

Like most people have said, I'm sure I'll find a better buyer and better house later on. So am focussing on selling my house again. Anyone interested in buying a lovely 4/5 bedroom home in North London? ;-)

OP posts:
wildfig · 27/06/2009 15:31

Total and utter sympathy for you. Their solicitor and the estate agents want a good slap.

We narrowly escaped being in the same situation in reverse: we made an offer on a house back in March, as cash buyers, ready to move immediately. Agents told us that the seller wasn't in a chain, would move in with her children, could do the deal within six weeks. OF COURSE this turned out to be entirely in the agent's tiny mind - prompted by a protective family solicitor, who delayed the provision of vital documents for eight weeks, the vendor then announced she wanted to find her own house first, and by the way, she needed our deposit to put down on her purchase. We finally exchanged on Tuesday, on the threat of us pulling out altogether.

Offer accepted: March. Completion date: August. And if the agents and her solicitor had been straight with us from the beginning, or better, not been involved at all, it could have been done in half the time. Grr.

Lizzylou · 27/06/2009 15:44

I work in an Estate Agents on a Saturday (am sat here whiling away the last 20mins now).

We DO check that all offers are proceedable, if someone is a cash buyer, then we have to see evidence of that (bank books etc), but I know an awful lot of agents do not carry out these checks.

So sorry for you, must be heartbreaking.

Hope you sell soon.

wildfig · 27/06/2009 16:02

PS Should add that once we lurked around the estate agency and found a more, um, straightforward agent to deal with, things moved quite quickly! So not all agents are evil, obv.

But, just noticed: what on earth where the buyers thinking, assuming you'd leave your speakers, amps, etc?! they sound pretty nightmarish. portandlemon's right: they'd probably have screwed you over had the sale gone further. You are Well Shot.

herbietea · 27/06/2009 16:08

This reply has been deleted

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SouthernMeerkat · 27/06/2009 19:39

Total and utter sympathy - this happened to us and we lost my perfect house - even though we offered to exchange with a delayed completion. they didn't want to wait, had 4 offers within 24 hours and we took another 3 weeks to sell ours so are in a 'compromise' house now .

It shouldn't be allowed - but sadly it happens all too often...

hope you sell at a higher price to much nicer people.

Mintyy · 27/06/2009 19:46

"Agents seem to have no power to check what buyers tell them" - indeed, this is because agents are not blessed with the gift of foreseeing the future, or knowing whether or not someone is telling the truth.

The agents have lost £1000s of pounds on this sale. Do you think they would just let that happen if they could possibly prevent it? The buyers are the idiots. Direct your anger towards them.

Rox73 · 16/07/2009 14:32

The plus side of all this is that we've now accepted a higher offer on our house. Fingers crossed it all goes through properly. Now I have to find a house!

OP posts:
GrendelsMum · 16/07/2009 15:41

The estate agents for the house we bought checked our bank statement too, to confirm we really did have the cash ready to go.

missamiss · 16/07/2009 21:48

Good uck with the new buyers Rox

Rox73 · 17/07/2009 10:25

thanks a million!

OP posts:
faraday · 17/07/2009 13:30


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bagpussy · 06/08/2009 10:25

Two days ago our buyers pulled out on the day we were hoping to exchange! I am still in total shock and I really don't know if I can face to go through all this again.

We now stand to lose a dream property and also our mortgage offer which was quite exceptional in the current climate.

I'm all up for campaigning for a better system if I have energy after this fiasco!

The excuses our buyers gave were absolutely pathetic and inaccurate (about works needed to the house). However, they don't even need to give excuses do they! they can just pull out because 'they want to'!

I'm so shocked I can't even cry about it.

Mins · 06/08/2009 11:36

Ohh bagpussy I am so sorry to hear this. We just moved a week or so ago and I had fears that our buyers were going to do exactly the same thing. Luckily they didn't but I do believe that if it's meant to be it will happen. Just try and think positive no matter how hard it is in these circumstances. I do believe in karma too so what goes around comes around - your buyers will pay for this in some way!!

Rox73 · 06/08/2009 11:41

My sympathies bagpussy. It's really disappointing I know. The whole UK system is nasty and messy.

We managed to find new buyers for our house pretty quickly, we put an offer on a lovely house but then got gazumped last week. We're still going to sell and are still looking for a new house to buy but may move into rented accomodation if we can't find anything soon. We're not having much luck.

I'm sure you'll find new buyers soon, there are alot more people looking and not alot of new homes coming on the market.

Most banks give you up to 6 months to complete on mortgage offers so if you might still be able to get your dream house.

Good luck!

OP posts:
CaresMildly · 07/08/2009 12:36

Feeling the pain here as we are due to exchange today (although it won't happen) after 18 months. Sold twice only for it all to fall through on day of exchange, lost 5 houses (although the current one that we are due to buy is lovely so it did work out for us that way in the end). And what's more lost £70k on value of our house and in negative equity so having to stump up actual cash to complete the move.

Our current house is just too small for us (and I can't stand it!) so it is worthwhile, but the whole process of moving is just guaranteed to bring on a breakdown. The 2nd time we got to day of exchange and everything broke down I broke down myself. The baby was about 6 months at that point and it felt like we'd never get shot of the hell-hole and into a family home for her to grow up. But it does look like we've finally cracked it and even if we don't exchagne today that it should all go through next week in time to complete for the Bank Holiday.

I completely agree about agents not being straight though - we put in an asking price offer on the new house with the proviso that they were out in 6 weeks as the chain below us was all ready. Agent agreed so we started the process only for the vendors to then say they weren't going anywhere until their own purchase was complete. So 6 weeks has stretched into 4 months (and counting) all because the agents didn't tell the truth to start with.

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