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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My daughter has just called me, distraught, with the news that

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My daughter has just called me, distraught, with the news that a house purchase with which we were helping her has fallen through. She signed her final papers this Tuesday but was advised yesterday that there was a delay in that the vendor could not sign 'for medical reasons. Today, it seems, she has been told that they have pulled out.
I have no doubt that this sort of thing can happen, but my question is where does this leave my daughter who is not only clearly very upset but also very considerably out of pocket having paid significant sums on surveys and her conveyancing costs? Your advise would be very much appreciated as I really have no idea what tell her.


Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following using the same numbering:-

  • 1. Have contracts been exchange in the transaction?

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm not sure what this means. I had assumed that the solicitors involved had agreed everything to the point where they 'could be', which is why my daughter had been asked to go on Tuesday to sign her part. She was then advised that the remaining process would take 5 working days. I presume that all the paperwork was therefore in existence and ready to go, but the other side have not signed. This is probably not enough information for you, I know, but I'm 180 miles away from this and I'm not sure exactly what my daughter knows about it.All she has texted is that the 'seller pulled out'. I presume BEFORE signing.

Has she paid her deposit to her soicitors?


Was she asked for her authority to exchange? She would know.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The deposit, together with the agreed fee for her solicitor, were transferred on Tuesday morning. As to being asked for her authority I don't know but can probably find out. Can this be pending until tomorrow when I hope she will be happier to talk?

Yes, of course.


Just asked her specifically - "Have you exchanged contracts?" - she will know and I will then be able to further advise you.


Kind regards,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm trying to get hold of her. Will I be able to continue with this at a later date if I can't? Sorry to be so vague.

Yes, just reply to this.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It turns out that yes she did sign the authority to do it, but no they have not been exchanged. I guess this leaves her out on a limb, but she has not paid her solicitor more than the 'non refundable' £200 for searches agreed at the outset. He, and her estate agent are, understandably, as angry as she is. Apparently in Scotland it would be different ...

In any case, I guess there is nothing more that can be done, so thanks for your efforts.
Ian Cheverton
PS. If this costs me £22 I quite understand.
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your reply.

I'm afraid that this is part of the vagaries of house-buying in the UK. Until such time as the buyer and seller have exchanged contracts. they do no have legal relations, which is to say that there is no contractual oobligation to proceed with the purchase and therefore either part is free to withdraw at any time.

As such it means that the Seller can with draw leaving the buyer with no recourse. This means that the Buyer's costs are effectively sunk and they will not be able to claim the costs of search fees or disbursements and will have to pay the solicitors fees unless they it is demonstrably the case that the transaction has aborted as a result of the solicitor's negligence (which doesn't sound the case here).

The £22.00 was taken by the website and held by them when you posted this question. I am an legal expert and a portion of that money only transfer to me when you click accept to my answer.

If you consider that my time with you on your question is worth the £22.00 then click accept.

If you think it isn't then I can request a refund from the site adminstrators if you like.

Your choice.

Kind regards,

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