What could go wrong in your house sale?


Part of the culture at Keystones Property is to be honest, transparent, and show integrity. It is ingrained in the company ethos and is something that we are proud of as agents.

We go against the grain of your typical estate agent; we know that agents have a bad name in the property industry, so it is even more important that we become the beacons of the industry and stand out in this field.

We want to be open and honest with our customers, it isn’t all happy in the moving process, quite truthfully it will be an emotional rollercoaster and chances are that you won’t have a smooth sale, especially if the chain is long, you will feel out of control and you will be relying on others in the process. Things could go wrong that will indirectly have an effect too.

So here is a simple blog on what could go wrong when coming to sell your home. Please note, this should not deter you but just give you an honest view of what selling your home is really like.


Here is the initial phase, the excitement of it all can have mixed emotions when selling your home, and it can be daunting, especially if you have children.

You may be constantly cleaning your place, putting ‘stuff’ in the garage, or storage sheds or even throwing it away to de-clutter your home so it looks as much as it can like a show home. It can be stressful, especially when you live a full life.

There may be times when you get cancellations last minute, viewers not turning up, or viewers turning up late and blaming the traffic, even though at 5pm in the middle of rush hour they should know there will be traffic!

You may have tidied up your house, got the kids fed or even kept the kids up late so you can entertain a viewing that doesn’t turn up. This is the reality.

You may have an open day where only 1 to 2 customers attend.

A client could decide that they couldn’t make a certain time, not tell the estate agent, and knock on your door at a random time (through no fault of the agent) and intrude.

This is exactly what could happen at this stage.


Once we have completed a viewing on your property, we aim to get all feedback back to our sellers within 24 hours of a working day, so if the viewing occurred on a Saturday, we would aim to get back to you by Monday midday (if it was a busy Saturday, there could be 60+ feedbacks to troll through).

We have the three-trigger rule; phone calls a few times during the day, text, and email. If the viewer doesn’t offer feedback, then they simply didn’t like your house. Be it harsh, but if they wanted to make an offer then they would be doing so within a day or two if they were serious buyers.

Sometimes, we will try and reach out to past viewers to attain their reaction to your home, but if they do not answer after 3 attempts, we will not hound them because it is a waste of our time to do so, this is simply the truth.

We try to receive (the good, the bad and the price) from our viewers. They are the best valuers of your home because, within their price range, they will be looking at every single property on the market within the area. They will be able to determine better than the agency or yourself the price point of the property, they are in the market and quite simply are buying in the marketplace.

We ask what the viewer liked about the property, what they didn’t like and what they would value your home at. This gives our owners a very good gauge of where things stand for them.

Most sellers believe that their home is the best thing since sliced bread, they wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. They have memories, and emotions and are usually optimistic when selling, so your buyers/viewers are the reality check sometimes. Of course, the economy and financial markets will also play a part in things, but the viewers are the acid test.

We always tactfully deliver true and honest feedback. But our philosophy is honesty, so please beware that at Keystones we may tell you something that you may not want to necessarily hear. I don’t apologise for it because it is the truth, and it is part of who we are as a company and the agency that you are instructing.

Offer Stage:

We only have experienced employees who deal with offers, this may be a manager or a senior advisor who has experience in the negotiation field, we train in negotiation which is a Unique Selling Point when hiring us.

The reason that someone would use an agency is to be an un-emotional barrier between seller and buyer in an emotional setting. To obtain a fair price in comparison to the marketplace. We receive our commission from the seller in most circumstances, so we will always work to try to achieve the highest price for our seller hence why we conduct in negotiation training for all staff members.

Our goal is to get an offer up to the highest possible price, using our professional judgement, qualifying their finances as much as possible (see more below) without ‘burning’ the offer and pushing them too much so that they pull out.

If we get any wind that it is not a serious offer, then we will not put it to our vendor and get them excited, it is the same with an ‘on the spot’ offer at the viewing, we would rather the buyer think about it for 1 sleep before we put the offer to the owner.

The last thing we want to do as an agency is show inexperience and get an owner excited with an asking price offer for the buyer to pull out the minute our seller is popping the champagne corks already. It’s an anti-climax.

The house buying process takes a minimum of 6 weeks up to 3 months in most cases, and sometimes longer.

Some buyers might pull out for various reasons, you could have instructed solicitors and offered on other properties, hence why we like to make sure an offer is concrete first – experience counts here.

The Financials:

When it comes to our agency finding out about their finances, there is only so much we can see. We do not have access to the buyers’ credit rating, bank accounts, deposit money, gifted deposits from family members or inside secrets. We can only use our experience and get led by what the buyers and financial consultants they use tell us.

Our process for the offer-taking stage goes as follows:

We request:

  • IDs and a Utility Bill for our Anti-Money Laundering Checks
  • Proof of Deposit
  • Broker Details
  • Offer in writing

We will then proceed to speak with the buyer asking them if they have room to increase their offer, speak to them about their competition on the property, what they may need to do to secure the property and quiz them on their financial situation. The more forthcoming they are, the better for us as we aim to see how savvy and serious the buyer is when it comes to their mortgage situation.

We will then proceed to call their broker (if they have a broker) and ask them what lender they are looking to use, ask the broker about the buyers’ deposit (making sure it marries up with the information the buyer has given us) and how quickly the buyer can proceed in terms of the documents the broker needs to start the mortgage application.

This is very important:

A Mortgage Offer in Principle does NOT mean that the buyer has a mortgage in place, this is just a mortgage in principle.

Once a property is found, an application is submitted for the mortgage where a credit check is done on the buyer, the lender will investigate the buyer and property more deeply.

A mortgage valuation will then happen which will determine how much the bank is willing to lend on the purchased property.

There are many variables in play here and quite a lot that can still go wrong.
Variables are, the higher the deposit amount the more chance the bank will lend the money and even if the banks surveyor down values the property, they may still lend the buyer the mortgage on the property due to a higher deposit from the buyer and less of a risk for the bank.

Once all this is done, then a Formal Mortgage Offer will be presented to the buyer and buyers’ solicitors. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to 3 weeks depending on the marketplace, lender, and buyer’s situation. A Formal Mortgage Offer does not come out before a buyer makes an application through the bank on a property. A mortgage in principle is NOT a mortgage offer, it is just a promise of intention. That is all.

There is a lot that can go wrong here which may not be the buyers, estate agents or anyone fault. It could just be sod’s law.

However, as a good agency, we try to nullify this risk as much as humanely possible with the offer process. The more information we get, the better.

However, we cannot also count on the ‘mortgage broker being honest’ or ‘the buyer being honest.’ People will do strange things when they want to buy a property to give themselves an edge and emotions are involved, they may overstretch themselves, they may have skeletons in the closet like bad credit, or unpaid bills and money that is owed of which they don’t know about or own up to. An agent or seller cannot always foresee this happening.

They may be self-employed or a business owner and not have a good accountant or submit figures that do not account to what they can borrow.

Many variables come into play.

95% of the time, they are not the agent’s fault and 70% of the time they cannot be predicted even by an experienced agent.

Sometimes things just happen and don’t always play out.

At Keystones we have a process to try to not let this happen. With multiple offers on the table, it can take quite a lot of time to go through the offer process to make sure that our sellers are as secure as possible.

There are two ways that we look at this:

  1. Character of the buyer (we like to know the character of the human being that we are speaking to)
  2. Paperwork

Surveys and Legal Aspects of the sale:

There are legal aspects of the sale that can also go wrong.

There are chains, other human beings, families, bad solicitors, planning permission not obtained and all sorts of things on the legal aspect of the process that can go wrong.

Many people will have surveys on the property to choose a professional to give your home a full report to the buyer which in detail will determine how much they may need to spend on your property.

They could decide that they want to take money off the property.

You can see that many things will be out of your control and could go wrong when selling your home.

This blog is not to deter you but to give you the full breakdown of what happens during a house sale from the viewing stage to completion.

Any more information on this, please give the team a call.

More from the Keystones learning hub

Keep updated with what's going on in your local area. Our latest news provides up-to-date information on everything regarding the local property market, for everyone including homebuyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords.

Come and see us face to face

Keystones are Open 6 days a week. Pop in, have a Tea or Coffee as we always have people on hand to help you.

Keystones Property

  • Keystones Property Collier Row
    13 Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row, Romford, Essex, RM5 3PH, United Kingdom
  • Telephone: 01708 909 100

Contact form

Valid first name is required.
Valid last name is required.
Please enter a valid email address for shipping updates.
Please enter a valid email address for shipping updates.