What is a Property Chain? And How to Avoid It

Buying and selling a home can be affected by a number of factors. One of these factors is called a property chain. This is a description of buyers and sellers linked together because either one or the other needs to sell a home before being able to buy one. Ideally, the best scenario to be in when you are in the market either to sell or buy a property is that of a “no onward chain”. This situation happens when you are buying from a seller who has already vacated the property which means there is nothing holding back the seller and you can proceed with the purchase. Another scenario is when the house for sale is a new build.

How to avoid a property chain

The truth is, there is really no easy way to avoid chain scenarios but if you take the time to prepare and do your research, you can avoid getting into a property chain, or if you do get in one, at least only a short one.

  • If you are the seller, and you already have a number of offers to choose from, check with your estate agent to see if they can help you choose a buyer who is also not in a property chain. An example of this is a first-time property buyer.

  • If you are the one having trouble getting an offer accepted to buy a property because you are in a property chain and other potential buyers are not, you should consider moving to short-term accommodation. This will make you a chain-free buyer, thus making you more appealing to sellers.

  • If you are the one buying and you have the time to look for the perfect property, choose one that is not linked to a long property chain. Much better if you can find a chain-free property to buy. A new build is one example of this, another would be a home whose previous owner has passed away.

  • If you are in a hurry to buy a home and the vendor is still tied up because they aren’t able to find new accommodation yet, you may want to come to an agreement by asking the vendor to move out on a specific date. Sellers can be willing to move to short-term accommodation in order not to risk a good deal from falling through.

These complicated situations are the reality of the housing market, but it should not dishearten anyone who is looking to sell or buy a home. With the help of professionals, a property chain can keep moving to reach a point where it will no longer pose any problems for the parties involved. Ross Spark from The Solar Advantage says “Situations like this can easily get disorganized, adhering to strict timelines will help keep projects moving along

Estate agents usually have a dedicated team responsible for making sure that sales progress. Before choosing an estate agent, you need to ask them if they offer this service as part of the package. An increase in hybrid estate agents including Hatched, Yopa and Emoov means prospective sellers/buyers now have a wider pool of services to choose from whilst keeping costs low. Most of these hybrid agents also offer conveyancing services which should also help with following up with people who are holding up the chain in order to move the process along.

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