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Jason Tebb

Jason Tebb is the founder of Ivy Gate. He regularly comments on the UK and International property market on multiple media channels.
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According to industry data, the average ‘fall through rate’ – the number of properties which fail to exchange after a sale is agreed – is 30%. This makes grim reading for sellers. Not only is this emotionally and practically challenging, with sellers having already found their next home and made arrangements for moving, but there is a financial implication too. There may have already been thousands of pounds incurred in solicitors and surveyors fees.

We are really proud that our fall through rate is 8%, almost a quarter of the National average. Here are 3 easy tips to maximise the chances of your sale proceeding to exchange:

  1. Make sure ALL terms have been agreed.

There are many more aspects to agreeing a sale than just agreeing the price. This is where many buyers, sellers and estate agents get things wrong, caught up in the excitement of an offer being made and rushing to agree something. There are lots of other factors which are significant in the decision making process. These can include; the length of the lease, the service charge, the parking allocation, your current mortgage and any early repayment penalties, the fixtures and fittings which are included, your onward move and the links in the chain above and below.

I’ve seen sales fall through for the smallest of reasons. So it’s best to get all these factors out of the way at point of offer rather than wait for them to come up later, when the effects may well be exacerbated.

2. Be clear about your intentions and be prepared to compromise.

Whilst we would always advise that you put a property on the market and ideally agree a sale before finding a new property, you must be clear on your intentions for moving at the outset. If you have a clear goal in mind, then this makes things easier. For example, you may have already found your next property and made an offer, but what would happen if that seller withdrew from the sale? Making a commitment to move to a rental property will ‘break the chain’ and increase the chances of your own sale moving to exchange. If you lose your onward move, be prepared to compromise on your search criteria to find something else suitable. You can read more about my view on compromising here.

3. Make sure that there is proactive ‘sales progression’ from your agent.

When I ask sellers what’s important to them in choosing an estate agent, most will reply with three or four standard answers concerning website presence, marketing, historic sales activity and local knowledge. In 15 years of estate agency, no one has ever said that they would choose the estate agent with the lowest fall through rate, and therefore the highest chance of getting a property through to exchange.

Some larger corporate agents use administration teams known as ‘sales progressors’ to manage the sale after an offer has been agreed. We believe that this is fundamentally wrong. Not only will this individual have never ever been to the property, but it is unlikely they will have the in-depth local and agency knowledge to resolve any issues should they arise. We believe in handling all sales progression ‘in-house’ with a single point of contact from start to finish.

I often refer to the concept of ‘bullet proofing’. This is the term I give to making sure that buyers and sellers are aware of any potential hurdles before they arise. For example, when a survey is booked on a property, a quick call to a buyer to explain that the survey will undoubtedly bring up a number of issues and will suggest further inspection of damp, timber, wiring, boiler works wonders ! If you don’t make this bullet proofing call, a survey report can be a scary document to read as a potential buyer.

In summary, there are a number of proactive things that a seller and estate agent can do to reduce the chances of a sale falling through. Whether you’re selling your first home or are an experienced vendor, you can prepare for these eventualities before and after you accept and offer, thereby minimising your chances of losing your buyer.

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