Chains Explained

What is a chain?

A property chain describes a line of buyers and sellers linked together because each is selling and buying a property from one of the others, apart from the people at the beginning and the end of the chain.

The chain begins with someone who is only buying, not selling, and ends with a vendor who is only selling, not buying.

How to avoid a chain:

  • If you are selling and have multiple offers, choose a ‘chain free’ buyer, such as a first time buyer or someone in rented
  • Consider selling your property and moving into rented accommodation, or with family, so that you then become a ‘chain free’ buyer
  • Purchase an empty property, or a chain free property, where there is no ongoing chain
  • Purchase a New Build property where there is no one to vacate first

Chains rarely fall through, but they can fail. This is often because:

  • Sales falling through at the bottom of the chain
  • Buyers or sellers changing their minds
  • Surveys reveal problems
  • People withdraw due to the chain taking too long

HOWEVER, ordinary chain-free transactions can also fall through due to these circumstances, so do not be put off entering into a chain situation. The risk is merely higher the more links of the chain that are involved.

How to make sure a chain moves smoothly:

  • Communication from all Estate Agents involved is KEY
  • Weekly sales progression from the Estate Agent

Make sure you, as a buyer or seller:

  • Get your finances in place early
  • Speak to your legal representatives and financial/mortgage advisor weekly
  • Fill in and return all paperwork promptly by hand