The Able Agent: How to prevent sales from falling through

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Guest blog by Charlotte Jeffrey-Campbell, Director, and Trainer at the Able Agent, a comprehensive online training solution for estate and lettings agents.


The property market is going through some challenging times with economic uncertainty impacting on sales. Charlotte Jeffrey-Campbell of the Able Agent offers some advice for agents on how they can prevent sales from falling through.

According to Which? in 2019 25% of home sales fell through mainly due to mortgage issues, gazumping and non-recoverable breaks in the chain.

Although there is no accounting for circumstances that are out of agents’ control, we consider the agent’s role in shoring up the sequential steps of the buying and selling process and their alignment with The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) to capitalise on as many sales as possible.

Reformist of the motor industry, Henry Ford is famous for his quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. In a narrowing market, we have all come to appreciate that differentiation is key.

But we don’t know what we don’t know and learning ‘on the job’ has the potential to lead to costly mistakes along the way. Even learning from experienced colleagues limits the trainee to the experiences of their seniors. Being knowledgeable about all possible situations and how to handle them confidently means agents can anticipate events and will likely have a better understanding of the knock-on effects from one event to another. With this understanding of every step in the process a confident agent takes the lead and helps to strengthen the chain.

By being a trusted adviser, an assured agent can lead clients through the selling/buying process and demonstrate the areas where risk can be reduced, for example, encouraging a buyer to have a mortgage decision in place before they start viewing homes is sometimes considered an uncomfortable “sales target”, however, consider the relevance of good quality advice at this stage and the “sell” becomes essential.

Avoiding costly mistakes means being knowledgeable about the law and responsibilities of all parties – for all agents this really must be a given. And the virtue of being able to think beyond the sale, to the satisfaction of the client, should not be underestimated.

Breaks in the chain, as we all know, are highly stressful for the property owner or buyer, adding unnecessary time and cost to the transaction. But, what can be done to improve trying transaction experiences that would also remove some of the needless costs?

Gaining a deep understanding of clients is key. If someone is a first-time buyer or hasn’t sold in a number of years, understanding and filling gaps in their knowledge will help.

In the case of a behind-the-times seller, agents can help them to identify the key documents their conveyancer will need and, by being prepared in advance, prevent them from falling foul of slowing the process. Managing the expectation of buyers in a long chain will help, and if a seller has several bidders they may have an attractive chain-free status to capitalise on.

Urging sellers to get ahead by having reports, or assurances such as guarantees, to offer prospective buyers regarding the condition of unusual elements of their property – which may be of concern, cause delays or even a change of heart – such as a water treatment facility if the property is off mains effluent water. Or appointing a conveyancer earlier in the process are all worthy considerations. But as we’ve said, we don’t know what we don’t know, and if a buyer or seller doesn’t know something they need to know – the agent can guide them and secure the chain.

Salespeople (in general) are motivated and driven by successes, but the public is very attuned to being ‘sold to’, so building rapport and knowing how to use empathy can be the difference between success and failure.

It’s very rewarding for us at The Able Agent to see results once agents gain their Level 3 CePAP. Consequently, they are knowledgeable not only in the law but in sales skills too. With confidence in their agent skills, they are honest about the facts, understand all the legal requirements and focus on fulfilling their clients’ needs, generating happy customers, more referrals and thriving businesses.

We all know the property buying and selling process is precarious at best – throwing into the mix a difficult market and tough recruitment conditions means being able to manage time and priorities. Making improvements to the process where possible may secure more and possibly faster sales.

People talk about points of difference worth talking about – what will they say about yours?


Guest blog by Charlotte Jeffrey-Campbell, Director, and Trainer at the Able Agent, a comprehensive online training solution for estate and lettings agents.

The Able Agent is partnering with Reapit to give users unique offers for Estate and Lettings training – the easy way. Follow the link below and complete the form to receive a 10% discount code.

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