Common Problems When Buying and Selling Property

Common Problems When Buying and Selling Property

Whether you’re buying or selling a property or trying to do both simultaneously, several common problems may arise.

Buying and selling property in the UK can be long-winded and stressful. In this blog, we’ll flag the potential problems and share our top tips for avoiding them so that you can experience a hassle-free house move.

Common Problems When Selling a House

Several issues could arise when selling your home:

Problems with Your Estate Agent

Estate agent fees can run as high as 3.5% of the sale price. On a house that sells for the current average of £268,349, that amounts to £9,392. Despite this eye-watering commission level, you are not guaranteed a first-class service. If your agent fails to give their all to selling your property, this could delay the sales process and even contribute to a failed sale.

Poor communication, restrictive “sole agency” agreements and generally poor service — for example, sending potential buyers inaccurate property details and not being available for viewings — are common problems sellers encounter with estate agents. What’s more, if you decide not to sell or find your own buyer, you may still be liable to cover the costs the agent has already incurred.

Top Tip: If you encounter problems with your estate agent, you can contact the government-approved complaints scheme that they belong to. Every agent must belong to The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services or The Property Redress Scheme. You can also switch estate agents or sell your property without an estate agent.

Misleading Valuations

Some estate agents will place a high valuation on your property in a bid to win your business. If you set an unrealistic asking price, this may delay the sale of your property. Homes that are priced too high then reduced to entice potential buyers take considerably longer to sell than properties priced accurately from day one on the market.

An overpriced house is also much more likely to lead to a down valuation. This occurs when the buyer’s mortgage surveyor values a property at less than the offer amount accepted by the seller. When this happens, the buyer may not secure the loan amount they need to go through with the purchase, resulting in a failed sale.

Top Tip: Don’t rely solely on an estate agent’s valuation. Do your own research into how much properties similar to yours have sold for locally, and ask us for a free valuation of your home today 

Delays on the Buyer’s Side

One of the most common causes of delay on the buyer’s side is the time it takes to get the necessary mortgage approved. Until the buyer’s finances are in place, the exchange of contracts cannot occur, which delays the completion of the sale. By selling to a cash buyer, you can avoid this potential delay.

The buyer may intentionally try to delay completion for several reasons. Their decision to buy your home might be contingent on them completing various renovation work, so they may stall the sale until the necessary planning permission has been obtained. Or, if they are selling a property to buy yours, their buyer may be causing delays.

Whatever the reason, buyer delays can be problematic for sellers, especially if they have committed to buying another property and can only do so when their current home sells.

Top tip: If you see signs that the buyer may delay completion, speak to your solicitor or conveyancer for advice as soon as possible. Sell to a cash house buyer to eliminate the risk of delays due to property chain problems and financing issues. 

Difficulty Getting Viewings

If you’re not getting any viewing requests, the chances of receiving an offer and making a sale are slim or even non-existent. A lack of interest could be down to the poor condition of your property, its location, inadequate information and images in your marketing or an ineffective estate agent.

Top Tip: Ask your estate agent to gather feedback from viewings to find out what may be putting people off. Ask your estate agent to talk you through their marketing and sales strategies if you’ve had no viewings. You might also consider making home improvements that add value and kerb appeal. Alternatively, skip the need for viewings altogether by opting for a quick cash sale to House Buyer Bureau

Download our guide, “5 Reasons to Sell Off-Market”

Common Problems with Buying a House

Many of the problems that sellers face will cause issues for buyers too.

A Misleading or Incomplete Survey

If you pay for a property survey and subsequently find problems with your new home after moving in, you may be entitled to claim compensation. The first step is to speak with the surveyor and ask them to talk you through the report. After purchasing the property, the issues you have discovered may not have been covered by the survey you bought. A property survey will not identify every potential problem.

Top Tip: If you decide to make a claim against your surveyor for the difference in value between the property described in the report and the property’s actual condition, write them a letter that clearly outlines why you feel they are liable for the money you’ve lost. If the surveyor rejects the claim, contact the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Property Ombudsman Services (TPOS) for help to resolve the issue.

Difficulties Getting a Mortgage Approved

If your mortgage lender’s surveyor down values the property, they are unlikely to approve the loan amount you have applied for. If you cannot make up the shortfall from savings, this could force you to withdraw from the sale.You may also encounter difficulties securing the financing you need if the home you wish to buy is of a type not favoured by lenders. This includes non-standard constructions, buildings with cladding, short leaseholds, brownfield sites, high flood risk properties and many more.

Top tip: Always ask for a mortgage in principle or agreement in principle (AIP) before offering on a property. While this is not a guarantee that you will get the mortgage you want, it provides both you and the seller a good idea of whether or not the lender is likely to approve the loan amount you need to buy.

The Seller Gazumps You

Neither party is legally bound by a house sale until contracts are exchanged. Consequently, the seller may accept a higher offer or an offer from a buyer in a stronger position — such as a chain-free cash buyer — after accepting your offer. This is known as gazumping.

Top tip: To reduce the risk of being gazumped, put yourself in the strongest position to buy. Selling your house and moving into rented accommodation will make you an attractive proposition to the seller because you are not part of a property chain and have the cash ready to buy. This makes it less likely that the seller will reject your offer in favour of a new one.

How to Sell Your House Fast

If you’re looking for a hassle-free quick house sale, House Buyer Bureau can help. We have the funds to buy your home in as little as 7-days. There is no need for viewings, you won’t need an estate agent, and we buy properties of all types regardless of condition.


Contact us today for your free, no-obligation cash offer and avoid the common problems many homeowners face when selling.

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