My House Sale Has Fallen Through, How Much Does it Cost?

Sarah Ryan, Head of Private Client
Sarah Jones
Head of Residential Conveyancing

Selling a property is not without its risks, and should the transaction fall through, you may be left with unexpected costs to pay.

This can depend on what stage of the transaction you’re at, what terms and conditions have been agreed up to that point with any third parties or Solicitors, and how much of the legal work has been carried out.

Normally, there are two types of fee you may need to pay during the sale or purchase of a property.

  • Disbursements – costs made out to any third parties (more details below)
  • Legal fees – for work already carried out by your Solicitor

Simpson Millar operates a ‘No Sale, No Fee’ Conveyancing service, meaning, if your purchase or sale does not go through, we will not charge you a legal fee for the work completed to date.

For more information or free initial advice call our Conveyancing Solicitors.

Call now 08002605010 or Get Conveyancing Quote

Conveyancing Fees

Many conveyancing transactions work on a fixed fee basis and include a set amount of work, though the more complex transactions may require additional work to be carried out, and hourly rates can be charged.

Our Conveyancing fees are competitive and transparent, so you won’t find any hidden costs cropping up for the services we carry out. If any unforeseen circumstances do arise, we will always advise you in advance if any further work is required and if any additional fees will be incurred.

With our No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing service, you’ll only be charged for any Conveyancing disbursements carried out up until the point at which the sale has fallen through.

What are Conveyancing Disbursements?

Conveyancing disbursements are payments made to any third-parties involved in the sale of your property. They make up part of the overall fee you pay to your Conveyancer, who then pays the third party services on your behalf.

Disbursement fees typically include:

  • Fees for obtaining official copies from the Land Registry
  • Fees for registering the sale or purchase at the Land Registry
  • Fees for searches to be carried out by Local Authorities or Water companies
  • Fees for bankruptcy searches to be carried out.

Third parties can sometimes request that these disbursements are paid up front. It is unlikely that these will be refunded should your sale or purchase fall through, as the work has already been carried out and as such the payment will not be recoverable from the company who provided the service or information.

Why a Property Sale Might Fall Through

This is perhaps the most stressful thing about selling a property, and if the sale does fall through it can cause a lot of unwanted inconvenience and financial worry. The reasons can be varied but generally, the following reasons crop up more often than not:


A mortgage lender may have pre-approved the buyer, but this doesn’t always mean that financing will go ahead. If the buyer has an agreement in principle it also means they have not finalised details with their lender.

The lender may change their mind over the buyer for a number of reasons, and it can sometimes be because an application form was falsely filled out or that the buyer had a change in financial circumstances, such as a job loss.

It’s crucial, therefore, to understand the strength of the buyer’s financial position as early on in the process as you can to avoid this pitfall from happening.

Property Surveys

Not having your property properly surveyed could lead to the sale falling through. More often than not it’s a minor issue that can be fixed, but the last thing you would want is for a major structural issue to become evident right at the last minute.

This can also lead to problems re-marketing the property and can ultimately put you back at square one.

Gazumping and Gazundering

The actions of both the buyer and the seller can cause a deal to collapse at the last minute. Gazumping is when the seller of the property finds a buyer prepared to offer a higher price than that offered by the current buyer.

As the buyer, you could be left with unrecoverable disbursement fees since a verbal agreement on a price is not legally binding. Only when contracts are exchanged does the agreement become legally bound. There is little you can do to protect yourself and claw back any of the money already spent.

Gazundering, on the other hand, is when the buyer offers a lower price than initially offered right at the last minute. This can force the seller into a position where they either accept, or the deal falls through.

It’s a common occurrence and can leave the seller is a real dilemma because they may be hoping to use the proceeds from their sale to fund the purchase of their next home.

Simpson Millar at Your Side

Property sales are complex and they do sometimes fall through for reasons that seem beyond your control. However, with the right Conveyancing Solicitors representing your interests, you can avoid unnecessary pitfalls like those listed above.

Choosing one of our nationwide team of Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors will not only give you speed and efficiency during the process, but also the peace of mind that we’ll leave no stone unturned.

For free initial advice call our Conveyancing Solicitors

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08002 605 010

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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Southport.