Listing your house ‘for sale’ is a significant moment in anyone’s life. Whether you have lived there for a long time, or always intended to sell it for a profit in the future, it’s not always easy saying goodbye to a property that is important to you.
But what happens if you change your mind midway through, and decide to take your house off the market?
Believe it or not, this is a common scenario that lots of property owners find themselves in.
So, don’t fret if this applies to you – you have not backed yourself into a corner, and there are still plenty of options available to you. Keep reading our blog to learn more about what you can do in this situation.
Can I take my home off the market at any time?
You can take your property off the market, as long as you haven’t exchanged contracts with a potential buyer. Once the exchange takes place, you are then legally bound to honour the agreement, and cannot back out.
Exchanging contracts is usually the final thing that happens when you sell your house, and often occurs after several months of viewings and negotiations. Therefore, when you sell on the open market, you will typically have at least a few weeks (and sometimes much more) to back out of the agreement if you want to.
What does it mean to ‘Exchange Contracts’?
Exchanging contracts is when the buyer and the seller involved with a house transaction sign a contract to confirm that they are happy with the terms of the deal. These documents will then be exchanged, and once this happens, they are legally binding.
The exchange of contracts is the final thing that happens in the house-selling process. Most buyers will wait until after their solicitor has completed searches, and they are completely certain that they want to proceed with the purchase, before doing this.
Will I pay fees for taking my house off the market?
Some estate agents in the UK charge a ‘withdrawal fee’ when you take your property off the market prematurely. This is because the agent has often done lots of work building up to the sale – especially if you pulled out at the very last minute – and therefore needs to be compensated for that.
You should check with any potential estate agents that you consider about whether they charge this fee, as it may impact your decision.
Your solicitor might also charge you a fee for taking your house off the market, depending on how much work has been done so far. Once again, you should speak to them directly to find out if they do this, and how the fee is calculated.
If you opt for a ‘less traditional’ method of selling your property, such as using a cash house buyer, then you should not be charged anything for pulling out of the deal.
How easy is it to take my house off the market?
The decision to sell your property is entirely up to you – so, if you change your mind before any contracts have been exchanged, it is entirely within your rights to take your house off the market.
Your estate agent or solicitor cannot give you a hard time about this, although some charge a withdrawal fee, and while your potential buyer may be unhappy, there is not technically anything they can do if contracts have not been exchanged.
Why might someone take their house off the market?
There are plenty of reasons why you might decide to take your property off the market. Firstly, you may have changed your mind about selling your property. This is common if external circumstances have changed, such as:
- Housing market is in a slump
- The place you were moving to is no longer available
- Your financial circumstances have shifted
- A survey revealed a fault in the house you were going to buy
- The potential buyer reduced their offer
- Health issues or change in relationship status
All of these are common occurrences which may result in a homeowner deciding that now is not the best moment to sell.
You could also take your property off the market if you are unhappy with your estate agent. Perhaps you have found them to be unresponsive, ineffective at finding potential buyers, or you are not satisfied with their valuation. If your home is not selling, then it is common to want to back out of the deal, and search for another estate agency.
Some property owners take their house off the market if they want to make alterations to the house, with the aim of increasing its value. This might involve extending the property, installing a new conservatory, or simply improving the condition of tiles, gutters, floors and more around the building.
Do I get any refunds if I take my house off the market?
If your solicitor or estate agent charges an hourly rate for their services, then you are highly unlikely to be refunded this money when you take your property off the market. These professionals will still want to be paid for their time, and this is part of the price you pay when you back out of a house sale.
Tips for taking your house off the market
Once you have decided to take your house off the market, it is highly recommended that you do so quickly. If your property is visible on platforms such as Rightmove and Zoopla, it could potentially be seen by hundreds of people every day – so the sooner you take the house off these sites, the more unwanted enquiries you can prevent.
You should be communicative with all parties – especially your estate agent – when you take your house off the market. You should offer a clear explanation about why you are doing so, as this can then be communicated to the potential buyers and enable them to make an informed decision moving forwards.
By pulling your house off the market, it will usually mean that if you were operating in a chain, you will not be buying another house, too. If this is the case, then you should inform any house sellers that you contacted that you will not be proceeding with the purchase.
Overall, it is important that you are not too reactionary when deciding whether to withdraw your house. For example, if there has been a short-term slump in the housing market since you first listed your property, this does not mean that the trend will continue, and it may therefore be premature to react to changes in market conditions.
Likewise, as another example, the housing market is often quiet during the Christmas period – but this doesn’t mean that activity won’t pick up in the new year.
Search for alternatives to ensure a quick sale
One of the main reasons that homeowners take their property off the market is because it is taking too long to find a buyer. If this applies to you, then don’t worry: there is another way to guarantee a speedy sale.
We Buy Any Home can help you to sell your flat fast, or any other type of property. Get in touch today.