What is a property chain when buying and selling a home

What is a property chain?

When buying or selling a home there normally the buyer of seller will get involved in a chain. This begins with someone who is buying a home a first-time buyer and ends with someone who is selling one but this can depend. How many ‘links’ or buyers and sellers there are in between can vary within each chain.

The chain is linked with all of the sales and all parties most of the time need to complete at exactly the same time for everyone to be able to purchase their  new home due to the funds being transferred and requited to finalise the transactions.

Even first-time buyers feel the impact of a chain, despite having no buyers and sellers below them, because the party they are buying from may be affected by the sellers of the house they are buying and so on. This is known as an ‘onward chain.’

Can you avoid a property chain?

Yes. If you’re already a homeowner, you might think about selling your existing home and renting a place in the short term, so that you’re chain-free at the point of taking your next step on the housing ladder.

If you’re able to find a seller who’s also not in a chain (because their sale isn’t dependent on them buying another property), you’re effectively chain-free and the transaction will be much less complicated to manage.

Other ways of avoiding a property chain include buying a new-build home directly from a house builder, or snapping up a property at auction, though the latter often requires a good budget for renovations.

How could a property chain collapse?

There are many reasons why a sale may fall through somewhere along the chain, for example:

One of the buyers can’t get a mortgage

One of the sellers changes their mind and takes their property off the market, having already agreed a sale

One of the parties is made redundant and can no longer afford to move

One of the buyers pulls out after a survey throws up costly repairs on the house they wanted
Gazumping and gazundering also play their part.

Gazumping is where a seller accepts an offer from one buyer but then takes a higher offer from someone else at the last minute, thereby scuppering the sale.

Gazundering is where a buyer reduces their offer at the last minute, often just before exchange, which may result in the seller being unable to accept it and the chain breaking.

Check 123estateAgents advise.

It is possible to buy specific home buyer’s protection insurance, which will pay out if your purchase falls through, but make sure you read the terms, conditions and exclusions thoroughly.

Home Buyers Insurance

Collapsed property chains can prove expensive, as you may have already shelled out for a survey, searches or even legal fees, not to mention the heartbreak felt at losing your new dream home. If you do find yourself in a property chain, here are some steps you can take to minimise the chances of it collapsing.

1. Keep communicating

Communication is everything. Make sure you’re in regular contact with your solicitor, estate agent and mortgage broker. Push for regular progress checks and respond promptly when you’re required to provide information.

Doing this will help to build good relationships with your buyer and seller, which increases the chance of holding a chain together.

It becomes harder to let somebody down once you’ve established a rapport.

2. Be organised

Get your finances in place and line up experienced professionals, such as a conveyancer and mortgage broker, to advise you. And keep a record of all correspondence.

Being organised enables the process to move along more speedily, meaning there’s less chance of things going wrong.

3. Get involved

If you discover that someone in the chain has pulled out because of money issues, you could try getting everyone in the chain to agree to a lower sale price.

Persuading all parties it is of mutual benefit will be no mean feat, but there are occasions where this has worked.

4. Ask your seller to move

If the seller of the home you want has lost the home they want to buy and is telling you they’re stuck, it’s worth asking if they might consider moving or renting in the short term, so that the sale can still go through.

This would put the sellers in a stronger position when it comes to them buying their next home, since they won’t be dependent on a sale to secure it.

If you’re looking to sell, let or manage your home in Bromley please see our web site for further details. 123estateAgent