The Misery of Property Chains

property chain

If you fall victim to a chain collapse, you are certainly not alone. According to a ‘Which’ magazine survey, 28% of home-sellers have been involved in a  chain break. Property chains can be a long and frustrating process and will form when more than one person is involved in a property transaction. But what happens when one of the links in your chain fails? Here we explore property chains are and what your options are if they break.  

What is a property chain?

Property chains are a process where buyers and sellers have one common objective: to move home. Each link of the chain is dependent on the next link staying intact to ensure the transaction completes. A chain begins when one party is only buying, for example, a first-time buyer, and ends with one party only selling, for example, someone who isn’t buying any onward property.

Who is involved in a property chain?

Ultimately it is buyers and sellers who are involved in chains, however, conveyancers, mortgage lenders, agents, surveyor’s all play an important role and are vital links in keeping property chains together. If all links remain intact, then a property chain will complete leaving all parties happy and able to move, however, if just one link in the chain fails, then the chain can breakdown causing misery and upset for all involved.

What can make a property chain break?

Chains are highly volatile and chain breaks can be down to one of the parties involved in the chain suddenly changing their mind, illness, redundancy, or relationship breakdown. Other reasons of chain failure can include:

  • Not being able to secure a mortgage
  • Gazumping: this is when a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer last minute.
  • Gazundering: this is when a buyer lowers their offer at the final moment and the seller is unable to accept the offer.
  • A link of the chain unable to find a property they want to buy
  • A survey revealing structural issues
  • An asbestos presence that may prove costly to remove

What can I do if my chain breaks?

When a chain breaks down, it can be incredibly frustrating. It not only causes emotional distress but also creates financial implications. If a chain breaks towards the end of the sale process, those involved may lose money already paid for solicitor’s fees, surveying costs and any non-refundable fees associated in the arrangement of a mortgage. When the chain breaks down, you are effectively back to square one and you must start the whole process from the beginning, which potentially means paying out again for all the fees.

How can I fix the chain break?

Chains are not easy to fix and facing the reality of losing your dream home is not something anyone involved in a chain wants to deal with. From the start, when selling or buying a property, you need to be open and honest about your finances, communicate effectively with all parties in the chain and be prepared to be get organised. The best way to beat the stress of being involved in a chain is to be chain free and try to avoid chains altogether.

What does it mean to be chain-free?

In layman’s terms, chain-free is when the property being sold, is by someone who does not need to buy another home. A chain-free property could be from a seller who is emigrating aboard and therefore does not need to find another property in the UK, or someone who has passed away and left the property as an inheritance. First-time buyers, buy-to-let purchasers, or those purchasing a second home are also chain-free. Another way to be chain-free is to purchase a new build property direct from the developer or a retirement property direct from a retirement village operator.

How can I make myself chain-free?

Only 10% of all UK property transactions are chain free. Being chain free means you simply don’t have a property to sell; this could be because you have already sold your home, or you are a first-time buyer. Having no property to sell, puts you (the vendor) in a much stronger position for any potential negotiations that may arise.

Should you find yourself needing to fix a broken chain, or simply just wanting to sell your home without the hassle and uncertainty of today’s open market, National Property Trade can purchase your property to allow you to quickly and easily move on with the next chapter of your life. Our home buying service provides you with certainty, a guaranteed sale and all on a timescale to suit you.  Contact us today to discuss your options and how we can help free you from the shackles of a property chain.