A leading property expert has offered his advice on the best steps to take to avoid seeing a property sale fall through.

The tips come as new figures indicate as many 35 percent of deals collapsed last year.

In nearly half of those cases the reason was linked to a buyer changing their mind, attempting to renegotiate or pulling out after a property survey had been completed.

But nearly one in five were due to a problem in the chain which was unresolvable and led to the deal disintegrating entirely.

Jonathan  Rolande,  founder of House Buy Fast, said: “Fall throughs will always happen, but last year the numbers taking place were really high.

“The  good news is you can take proactive steps to ensure you don’t become the latest part of a club nobody wants to join. Fall throughs are stressful, costly, and can put many people off from buying or selling.”

Jonathan’s  five steps:

  1. Use the best estate agent – and that means  doing your research.Whatever you do, don’t choose your agent based on cost or without doing a lot of research first, whether it’s asking friends locally for advice or checking out their social media reviews.  This includes making sure they have experience  in selling houses which match your home style. Also consider their presentation. If they are putting your house on the market, their own marketing strategy needs to be good enough to make sure you get the best deal.
  2. Meet them and ask them directly why you should  choose them versus their competitors. It’s a great example of seeing the effectiveness of their sales skills and indicates how they’ll sell your property and service it through to completion. A good agent needs to be persuasive, efficient, organised and assertive  to push a sale over the line and combat many of the issues that inevitably crop up.
  3. Choose your buyer wisely. Even in the current  market you may get more than one offer for the home but don’t just accept the highest bid without checking the buyer’s position first. There’s no point in taking a higher offer from a buyer who might land you in the 35%. Check the chain details and mortgage  or cash arrangements and listen to your estate agent; they often have great intuition to help choose the right buyer. Some background information helps a lot – a buyer desperate to get their children into the local school is usually more emotionally committed  than, say, an investor looking for a buy-to-let.
  4. Before you market your home, get all of those  little jobs around the place sorted that might flag up an alert to a surveyor or put off a buyer. Moving home is hard work enough without having to think about clearing someone else’s blocked gutters, dripping taps or wonky kitchen cupboards. If you are aware  of a bigger issue such as dampness, consider getting it fixed before you sell. It will save you time and money in the long run.
  5. Instruct your solicitor well before you sell  so that you have all of the right documentation ready in plenty of time and make sure you choose a brilliant solicitor. Find any documentation relating to the house such as repairs, planning permission or guarantees for white goods or electrical items which  are included in the sale. Your solicitor will ensure the sale is driven forward so choose one who is friendly, proactive and above all – efficient. Your estate agent may have some ideas of who to approach – or avoid – based on experience.