We understand that moving home can be a very stressful experience. Finding a new home, finding finding a buyer, dealing with agents, organising contracts and arranging the removal operation etc. If you’re in a chain then the process can be even more perilous. It is therefore critical this process flows as smoothly and as timely as possible.

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

common reasons why property sales fall through:


Key documents missing from the property file; including planning approvals, building control certificates, warranties, 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 drive the asking price down, or are mistaken for more serious problems, or just look plain 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 holes will be found at the survey stage of the moving process.

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. Few people are willing to take this liability on. Solicitors are also becoming increasingly keen on paperwork following recent high-profile Court cases.

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 or drive down the asking price.

We can 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.

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