Finding Property Deals That Have Fallen Through 🕵🏻‍♂️

Vulture or saviour.

You decide how you wanna look at it.

But when the long arduous process of a property sale falls through for a seller it can mean a lot of stress and frustration.

For a property investor like yourself, it can mean getting yourself a potentially below market value deal.

Why Fallen Through Property Deals Are Good

So why are fallen-through deals a good way of finding below market value properties

Here’s why. 

When a property sale has fallen through, the seller has already gone through the laborious process of having viewings, taking offers, going through paperwork, and making plans to move on.

Then at the last hurdle, things fall through because the buyer either can’t get the finance, the buyer finds a problem with the survey, or they just change their mind. 

The seller has now lost time, they’ve spent energy on the whole process, and they’re probably wary of future buyers doing the same. 

The seller now just wants the property gone and done smoothly. 

And so does the estate agent.

If you swoop in with an offer ready with finance in place, you could negotiate a below market value deal. 

How To Find Them

Lucky for you you don’t have to pay a private investigator to find these deals.

But you do have to put in a bit of work using Rightmove and a phone. 

Rightmove Sold Listings

Most people won’t look at the sold listings on Rightmove but savvy property investors will. 

Here’s what you wanna do.

First, you need to know your criteria for the type of properties you want to invest in. 

Once you know this, put in your location, number of bedrooms and the price range. 

Now you’ll see all the current listings available on the market.

But what you want to do is also select the filter that says ‘Include Under Offer, Sold STC’.

These properties will be either under offer, but not necessarily accepted offers, or they will be accepted offers where the sale has not been completed yet. 

These properties will show in the listings with a ‘under offer’ or ‘Sold STC’ badge like the one in the image below.

Look through the properties you’d be interested in and call up the estate agent. 

Ask them about the property and whether the sale has gone through yet.

If it hasn’t, then let them know you are willing to make an offer should the current offer fall through. 

You can also ask if the current buyer would entertain any other offers (hopefully from you).

In particular, you want to see properties that have been on Rightmove for a long time.

This suggests that the buying process is taking a long time or that it took a very long time for an offer to be accepted in the first place.

Either way, it means that the property has been on the market for a long time and the seller could be getting fed up with the situation.

Slow moving properties normally lead to motivated sellers.

💡 Tip for auction properties:

Auction properties should complete within 28 days of the auction happening, so if you see a property that still says sold STC 28 days after the auction date then it’s highly likely something has fallen through here. 

The estate agent will probably fob you off a lot of the time saying that the sale isn’t complete but will go through soon.

Eventually, though, there’ll be some properties where the sale is really dragging on, and both the seller and the estate agent are itching to get the sale through.  

If you’re lucky the sale has just fallen through recently and you’ll be ready to swoop in with an offer without any other competition before the seller has a chance to put it back on the market. 

Relationships With Agents

Building a relationship with estate agents can be hugely beneficial. 

Now I’m not telling you to go and start inviting them out on dates and meeting their parents. 

I mean a professional relationship where the estate agent sees you as a reliable and serious investor.

If you’ve put in serious offers or even gone through deals with estate agents they’ll start to remember you. 

Make sure you also let them know the type of deals you’re interested in. 

If a sale falls through for an estate agent and you’ve just made offers on 5 houses recently that are similar then they’re likely to think about you and give you a call. 

After all, they need to get the sale done and get that commission too. 

But don’t just rely on this. 

It’s always good to follow up on deals to check if they are falling through or not because estate agents can easily forget with the amount of phone calls they get. 

How Often Do Property Sales Fall Through in the UK?

You might be thinking…

“Well surely this is a waste of time since I’m relying on a sale falling through” 

Well, you might be surprised.

More property sales fall through in the UK than you’d think.

Data from Quick Move Now shows that in Q2 2023 24.2% of property sales fell through in the UK.

Let’s look at some previous years to see a pattern. We’ll stick to looking at Q2 figures to keep it consistent. 

Property sales falling through in the UK:

  • Q2 2023 – 24.2%
  • Q2 2022 – 31% 
  • Q2 2021 – 39%
  • Q2 2020 – 48%
  • Q2 2019 – 25%
  • Q2 2018 – 22.97% 

Source data: Quick Move Now Property Sale Fallthroughs

As you can see, the data seems to show that anywhere from around 20% – 50% can fall through depending on the market conditions.

If we take a safe estimate using this data and assume about 20% of all sales fall through then that’s 1 in 5 sales. 

So if you called 100 estate agents regarding sold listings about 20 of them should, on average, fall through for one reason or another.

Risks Of Fallen Through Deals

Of course there are some risks of fallen through deals. 

The main risk is that the sale has fallen through because of something that makes it a bad investment, but you don’t notice it. 

Fortunately when you do approach one of these situations you can ask why the sale has fallen through. 

But it’s always worth you still getting your own survey to cover your back. 

Don’t get lost in the excitement of coming across one of these fallen through property deals and forgetting to do your due diligence. 

Is It Worth My Time?

That’s for you to decide. 

I’m not your dad. 

If you have nothing better to do then why not? 

But do remember there are always other ways to find below market value deals

Further Reading

If making a large number of phone calls isn’t to your taste then you probably don’t want to be finding and negotiating deals yourself. 

Instead it’s probably best to use a deal sourcing service instead.