Can I pull out of my house sale

The housing market is very busy at the moment. People are making up for lost time following the lockdown. We try to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible with your house sale, but sometimes there can be problems. If this happens, our client usually asks, “can I pull out of my house sale?”

The answer to this question very much depends on what stage we’ve reached in the conveyancing process.  It might be very straightforward and the answer would be “yes”. On the other hand, if you’ve concluded missives, the answer is likely to be “no”.

Missives are the documents that form the contract for sale and purchase between the seller and the buyer. What we mean when we talk about concluded missives is that a binding contract is in place between the buyer and seller. This means neither can back out.

When you ask, “can I pull out of my house sale”, we’ll check the current state of the missives. If missives haven’t been concluded, you’ll be able to pull out of your house sale. On the other hand, if missives have been concluded, you have a contract to proceed with the sale.

Why would I pull out of my house sale?

There are many reasons for taking this action. Personal circumstances might change. In the current climate, the economy is recovering from lockdown. We’re in a recession. If the economy doesn’t pick up, companies might lay off people.  That might affect your or your partner’s income. The mortgage you’ve set up for your new house might become unaffordable. This would be a perfectly valid reason for wanting to pull out of your house sale.

Another reason to pull out of your house sale might be because you can’t find another suitable property to buy. If that happens, you might decide to pull out of your house sale and stay where you are.

Sometimes, the buyer delays concluding missives with you.  This can happen if the purchaser’s mortgage papers haven’t come through. Sometimes, delays like this can go on a long time and that might lead you to pull out of the house sale.

What would it cost if I pull out of my house sale?

It depends if missives are concluded.  If missives are concluded, you would be in breach of contract and can be sued by the buyer. The buyer might sue for implement of the contract – that is forcing you to sell the house. In addition, the buyer is likely to sue for losses. These will include all the expenses incurred because of your breach of contract and will likely include compensation. This will be very expensive!

If you haven’t concluded missives, you won’t face any claim from the buyer. You will have incurred legal fees and expenses for the work carried out for you. You’ll need to pay those.

We deal with problems like these every day for clients. If you have a problem with buying or selling your house, speak to us. Call us on 0141 647 9851 or email Martin Berman on

If you want to know more about the conveyancing process, please click here. You might also be interested in our Selling a house page.