Changing your mind about a house purchase

It’s not unusual to change your mind about a house purchase part way through the process. There are many reasons for doing this. As long as you haven’t exchanged (in England and Wales) then there is nothing stopping you pull out.

Some people don’t like the survey results, some people worry about lack of paperwork and building regs on an extension or a loft conversion, or some people just decide it’s not the house for them.
Contact your solicitor and any surveyors you may have booked, and then let the estate agent know. Don’t feel bad about it – you’ve probably spent money on a survey so you’ll feel a bit annoyed with yourself. The vendors will have to wait for a new buyer to come along.

Sometimes if the valuation has come in low and the vendors don’t want to negotiate then the best thing to do is just walk away. Let someone else pay over the odds for the property.

Sometimes structural issues are to blame – underpinning and subsidence figure highly on the likely culprits list here. Even lack of building regulations for something can be a major sticking point. It’s ok to say you can get an indemnity policy to cover you against the council taking action, but it won’t pay for the work to be put right if it needs it! It makes sense to buy a structurally sound property.

If you’re a wimp dealing with estate agents then email them. Or ring up and leave a message out of hours. Don’t feel bad about it though. They will see sales end frequently for no apparent reason. If they ask though be honest. If the lack of price negotiation is a deal breaker then tell them. They can pass it on to the vendor then!

You may get a bill for any work a solicitor has done, and you would have to pay for a surveyor if he’s been.

For this reason it makes sense to view several times and view other properties before making an offer and starting the process. Make sure it’s the right house for you. You can take someone along for a second viewing who has an eye for building issues too – a non-emotional pair of eyes might spot the back wall bowing out, or the roof needs redoing.

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