Martin Tolhurst Banner Image

Knowledge Hub

News and Events

What factors put buyers off once they have made an offer on a property?

View profile for Richard Carter
  • Posted
  • Author

A recent survey has given some insight as to reasons why a buyer withdraws from a transaction. The survey was carried out by a “quick buy” company that specialises in buying houses where transactions have recently fallen through. Almost all of the problems that cause buyers to withdraw are discovered in surveys, searches, or information provided by the seller during the conveyancing process.

The number 1 reason given as to why buyers withdraw from a transaction in a survey is subsidence. Buyers are concerned that it will knock considerable value off the property, or leave them with an ongoing structural problem. Subsidence is usually discovered after an offer has been made by way of the buyers’ survey, or alternatively if there has been previous subsidence information being disclosed by the seller on the Property Information Form.

The second on the list is Japanese knotweed, or other invasive plant species becoming evident on the property or very close to the property.  Again, this is something that is either revealed on the buyers’ survey, or comes to light in the replies to enquiries from the seller during the conveyancing process. Japanese knotweed, or other invasive species, have to have careful management to prevent the plants spreading or returning in future years.

The third biggest factor is “poor upkeep of the property” which again is identified on the buyers’ survey – items such as replacement guttering, replacement windows, roof issues, etc can be identified by surveyors in their report and whilst possibly visible to buyers when they are inspecting the property during viewings, is more serious than the buyers originally thought. The costs of such works can be significant and such costs, as well as the sorts of firms that carry the work out are reasons why buyers withdraw.

Revelations on environmental searches such as flood risks, power lines, mobile phone towers, or wind turbines within the vicinity of the property, or proposed to be within the vicinity of the property gives the fourth most common reason for withdrawing from a transaction. These matters are usually revealed on an specialist environmental search. The fifth most common reason for withdrawal is “nuisance neighbours” and often this is revealed in replies to enquiries or replies on the Property Information Form completed by the seller during conveyancing.

Occasionally it is personal reasons that put buyers off and these should not be discounted. A buyer losing their job, or a relationship breakdown can also be contributing factors to a sale going abortive.

Martin Tolhurst Managing Partner, Richard Carter, who deals with residential conveyancing cases for the firm commented “the value of a good survey, and ensuring that you check all of the information that is supplied by the sellers on the Property Information Form, as well as all of the replies to enquiries raised by your conveyancing solicitor are key. Some clients withdraw from the transaction because they see the potential for significant costs or problems if they buy the property. Other issues can be raised and more easily fixed, with works being carried out by the seller prior to completion, or further investigations showing that there is no real problem. It is worth a buyer investing in their own survey, and taking time to check all of the information that is supplied by the seller during the conveyancing process to ensure that the property that they are buying has no nasty surprises after completion."

Contact our experts for further advice