We understand that moving home can be a very stressful experience. Finding a new home, finding somebody to buy your existing home, agreeing a sale price, organising contracts, dealing with agents, meeting deadlines and arranging the removal operation etc. If you’re in a chain then the process can be even more stressful and anxious. It is critical therefore that this process flows as smoothly and as timely as possible.

We carry out a lot of building surveys and a small, but not insignificant number of these inspections result in the sale falling through. A further number of these inspections result in unforeseen delays that put the chain under strain. The reasons for this are often the same, and often the vendor is unaware of the problems until the survey stage of the process – well on in the transaction, when the consequences of the sale falling through are more significant.

common reasons why property sales fall through:


Key documents missing from the property file; including planning approvals, building control certificates, warranties, party wall agreements, test certificates and the like.

Unlawful Work

Structural alterations without engineer’s calculations, extensions without planning and/or building control approval, and substandard and dangerous loft conversions.


Building defects – often unknown to the vendor – that drive the asking price down, or spook the buyer into pulling out altogether.

Maintenance Issues

Basic outstanding maintenance issues that again drive the asking price down, or are mistaken as more serious problems, or look unsightly.

examples of recent property sales fallen through:

A 1930's semi with an unlawful loft conversion
A 1950's property with a substandard kitchen extension block
A 1900's end-terraced property with an unresolved trespass dispute
A mid-19th Century cottage with numerous unlawful internal structural alterations

If you’ve had building work carried out on your home within the last 25 years it might have required planning and/or building control approval. If you don’t have these key permissions then it’s inevitable the omissions will be flagged up at the survey stage of the sale. Buyers who commission building surveys are becoming more wary about properties that have key documents missing. If building control approval is absent, the responsibility for obtaining it passes to the buyer and few are willing to take this liability on.

In light of recent sale collapses we are now offering vendors a pre-sale inspection and advice service. This service will flag up any issues that would ordinarily sink a sale, or otherwise delay it: we will identify economical repair and maintenance issues that you should tackle, missing documents that you should seek to obtain, unlawful work that you should put right and any other significant issues that should be dealt with. This will ensure that your sale moves through the survey process with the minimum fuss, and that you realise the highest sale price possible.

If you’re thinking about selling your home then please contact us to learn how we can help you.