Don't Panic If Your Property Offer Is Withdrawn - By: Brazg Gavin

It can be a distressing moment to lose the house you have set your heart on, not just because you have already envisaged your new life there, but because you may also lose out financially if you have already instructed a conveyancing solicitor and surveyor.

So what do you do if the property chain breaks on you? Or, indeed, you break the chain?

The first obstacle could be a rejection from your mortgage lender; which is why it is advisable to get a provisional offer before you start property-hunting.

It is a good idea to find out exactly why your lender has refused to offer you a mortgage, If you are using a broker, they will suggest the next course of action. If you're dealing directly with the lender, it may be harder to find out, so you won't know which lenders will be more sympathetic the next time around. That said, the more applications that are made, the worse the credit file will be . If you keep getting gazumped - the nasty practice of a vendor accepting a higher offer after they have accepted yours - then try speaking with the estate agent to uncover what motivates the vendor.

It will most likely be money, so coming up with an improved offer may help your cause. But if you are chain-free and/or a cash buyer, you really could have the upper hand over your opposing purchaser as the seller may want the transaction to move as quickly as possible.

To avoid being gazumped in the first place, some advice. Offer a deposit with a lockout agreement. That prevents the seller from speaking to other interested parties for a specified period once your offer is accepted.Always talk to your conveyancing solicitor, they may be able to advise you appropriately.

There is also an art to making an offer and you should enter the negotiation with as much information as possible.

Knowing exactly what will tempt your seller is a good place to commence, whether it is the price or completing the property transaction within a certain time scale. Again check with your conveyancing lawyer that the suggested timescale is realistic. Additionally make sure you have done your research on what is selling locally and how high a demand there is for the kind of property you're after.

Now that the sun is smiling down on purchasers once more, with prices falling and sellers becoming more vulnerable, there is less possibility of the buying process going to sealed bids. If this does occur, you must decide on the absolute maximum that you are prepared to pay, stick to it, and don't look back if you lose out. Make it known when you place your bid if you have nothing to sell or are flexible over completion dates and supply details of your solicitor and mortgage lender's provisional offer.

Many housing chains break simply because someone simply gets cold feet, so keep in regular touch with your conveyancing solicitor and the estate agent to keep things moving and so you can try to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. But until contracts are actually exchanged with the seller, absolutely nothing is certain - the buyer or the vendor can walk away from a deal until that time without any subsequent legal recourse. Any payments made up to this point - on searches, legal or survey fees, or a deposit in the case of new builds - are at the purchaser's risk.

If your seller pulls out, try to find out why. If the reason is cash, consider if the extra required is worth it, it may be that by paying more you can seal the deal. If the property they are buying has fallen through, perhaps they can move out and rent while they begin a new search. Or maybe you can wait until they find somewhere else to buy?

Receiving the survey and processing the results can be another deciding factor on whether to purchase or not? No property looks like the deal of the century after you have ploughed through pages of issues, but subsidence is the only one you really need to worry about.

Focus on the summary at the end of the surveyor's report to see what needs doing and how much it might cost, either determine it's too much and pull out from the purchase or get the seller to fund as much as possible before they leave, There is no reason why that should be your responsibility.

It pays to review the property with that report in your hand. The faults described in the report can seem a lot bigger than they actually are. Don't panic. Just look at the property again and then talk about it.

Ultimately, though,if your purchase falls through, there is always another, probably better, property just around the corner. Over a lifetime, there will probably be numerous properties you loved and lost - and never thought of again.

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Gavin Brazg is editor of The Quick House Sale Advisory( - UK's largest free resource of free expert advice for UK House sellers.