Our Practical Guide To Property Chains When Buying Or Selling

Moving homes is an exciting experience, especially if you’ve found your dream property, but it can also be a stressful time. If you’re new to buying and selling, property chains can be confusing and quite difficult to understand at first. If you need to sell your home before buying a new one, you’ll probably find yourself in a property chain. In our practical guide, we outline what a property chain is and cover tips for how to manage your property chain.

What is a Property Chain?

A property chain occurs when a series of homeowners need to sell their homes before they can buy another; this can also happen when a prospective buyer is ready to buy, but the seller is still waiting for the sellers of their new property to find new accommodation too. For example, in order to afford the house you wish to buy, you are dependent on your current house being sold. It can be an extremely frustrating process that can delay you from moving into a new home until the rest of the buyers and sellers on the chain are ready.

A property chain can have many people, and there is no limit on how many people can be connected through a chain, so you need to understand it and how to manage it.

We’ve created a list of what a property chain might look like:

  1. Rick and Tom are first time buyers and purchase a small flat from Abby.
  2. Abby is looking to upsize and buys a larger flat from Andrew and Karen.
  3. Andrew and Karen are looking to move into their first house and buy a terraced home from Colin.
  4. Colin has retired and is downsizing to a bungalow he already owns and has just finished renovating. 

The chain begins with Rick and Tom but ends with Colin as there are no more buyers or sellers to rely on. This is a simple structure for a chain; they can be much longer and far more complicated than the above.

What Is A Property Chain Collapse?

There are many reasons why a property chain might collapse:

  • A buyer cannot secure a mortgage.
  • A buyer pulls out of the sale.
  • ‘Gazumping’. This is where a seller accepts an offer but pulls out of the sale when another buyer offers a better deal.
  • The deal falls through due to minds changing regarding the price agreed.
  • The seller could decide to remove their property from the market.

How to Fix Or Avoid A Property Chain

Conveyancing Solicitors Manchester guides sellers and buyers through the process, but it can be hard work to fix when a chain breaks. Conveyancing solicitors have many solutions to fix a broken chain, and those same ways can be used to avoid becoming involved in one in the first place. Sometimes a chain is unavoidable, but there are things you can do the fix or avoid a chain.

  • Rent or stay with family after selling until you purchase a new home.
  • Buy a new-build house.
  • Lower your asking price, but keep it reasonable
  • Sell to a first-time buyer


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