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Being in a property chain can be really stressful, especially if you haven’t considered how to handle it before you start the homebuying process. We’ve put together a few tips to help you navigate the fragile waters of property chains!

What is a property chain?

When you buy a house, the seller is often in the process of buying a new house. Then the seller that they are buying from could also be in the buying process – this can continue with people selling and buying to create a chain.

The chain starts with a buyer who is not selling, and ends with a seller who isn’t buying – everyone in between who is both buying and selling form the links in the chain.

As the buyers and sellers will be using different estate agents, surveyors, legal firms, and lenders, there can be lots of people involved in one property chain!

Why property chains can be a challenge

It only takes one person to hold up a chain – if someone decides that they want to renegotiate, doesn’t sign a document, or if personal circumstances change, the whole process can be delayed for everyone!

Even worse, a buyer can decide not to buy a property and the whole chain can come crashing down. The chain could just be delayed for a while if the individual ‘links’ are willing to hold out for the property they intended to buy, but often, one buyer pulling out in a chain is the reason many people miss out on buying a property. All because someone that they’ve never met has decided not to buy a house!

Avoiding a property chain

There are a few ways that you can try to avoid becoming part of a chain, and thus, avoid the extra stress!

  • Choose to sell to someone who is not in a chain, such as a first-time buyer.
  • Sell your property before you look into buying a new house, and live in rented accommodation for a while. This will make you more appealing to sellers when you do enter the buying process, and shortens any chains that you’re part of as you will either end or start them.
  • Make finding out more about any chains part of your homebuying process. Start asking about it when you’re viewing houses, rather than later in the process when you’re more emotionally and financially invested.
  • Buy a new-build home, as they have no upward chains. Some developers offer part-exchange to speed up the process, although this could mean you don’t end up getting the best price for the property.
  • You can talk to sellers about agreeing on a date that they will move out. Some will agree to move into rented accommodation in order to make the selling process easier.

Managing a property chain: our top tips

If you do find yourself in a chain (as sometimes it is simply unavoidable!), here are some tips to help you manage the process as much as you can.

  • Have your finances ready early. Avoid holding things up yourself by making sure that you’re in a position to pay deposits and fees as soon as they’re required.
  • Have the contact details of all the people you could need to get in touch with at a moment’s notice with you, both at work and at home.
  • File details of everything! This includes any phone conversations and any signed documents. You should also make copies of any documents, just in case they are requested at any time.
  • Keep on top of things – sign any paperwork ASAP and deliver them in the most efficient way (such as in person or by first class post).
  • Communicate on a regular basis with your estate agent and your solicitor.

At Forest Marble, we have a dedicated sales progressor whose role is to do all of the above for the whole chain, not just for your bit in the chain. This saves a lot of stress, time, and hassle.

If you’d like any more information about property chains, about how we handle chains here at Forest Marble, or about starting the buying process, get in contact with us today. We’re more than happy to help!

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