While browsing for properties on the housing market, you will occasionally stumble upon the phrase “no onward chain”. This means that the property you are looking at is not reliant on an onward purchase before the owners can sell, which makes the sale a lot less likely to fall through.
Property chains are renowned for their frustrating nature. Due to the various difficulties that can arise, they are often responsible for significant delays and sales falling through. The latter is especially heartbreaking for people who have found their dream home, only to see it become a missed opportunity due to circumstances out of their control.
In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the key property chain problems and why a chain-free purchase is highly beneficial.
What Is a Property Chain?
A “property chain” tends to be one of the biggest culprits for delays and other issues and causes of frustration when buying or selling a property. It occurs when buyers and sellers are linked together because they depend on each other’s successful sale to complete their transaction.
So, if one person in the chain pulls out or experiences problems, it has the potential to break the entire chain.
As you can imagine, these situations are hugely stressful and disappointing for buyers. Not only do they miss out on a property they have their eye on, but it can also hinder their chances of getting a satisfying price for their home.
Are Property Chain Complications Cause for Concern?
Although in many cases people navigate a house sale without a great deal of fuss, it’s safe to say the property chain complicates things. But should you be concerned if you are part of a property chain? In short, yes.
Around one-third of property sales in the UK fall through because buyers are unable to sell their current property. In cases like this, buyers lose substantial amounts of money from unrecovered surveys, conveyancing, valuations, and estate agency fees.
In 2017, government statistics showed failed sales cost homeowners over £500 million a year.
What Are the Benefits of Chain-Free Properties?
As we mentioned before, property chains can be one of the most stressful and complicated aspects of the property market. All it takes is one link to pull out, and you are right back to square one.
Therefore, being a chain-free buyer means you won’t have to deal with the anxiety and time constraints of being dependent on another party to ensure your sale goes through.
Also, it makes you a more appealing choice for sellers as they won’t have to deal with the difficulties of the property chain.
The latter is crucial as it can influence the price you can purchase a property for.
This can help you stay within your budget — and avoid all of the potential hazards of the property chain. Buying a house is a series of life-changing decisions, involving a lot of money, so having as much control as possible is critical.
A chain-free purchase gives you peace of mind and prevents your sale from falling through due to instances totally out of your control.
How to Fix Property Chain Problems
- Sell and rent to avoid losing your buyer. If the property you were buying is no longer available because of property chain issues, consider selling and temporarily moving into rented accommodation to ensure you don’t lose your buyer. This prevents the entire chain breaking and puts you in a better position as a buyer thanks to your chain-free status.
- Consider part-exchange. If the sale of your property falls through, part-exchange schemes can facilitate the purchase of a new house — without having to wait for another buyer. It’s worth noting that part-exchange (PX) is only available for new build properties and is a common solution for people moving into retirement housing. Also, the developer of your new property will accept your old home as part of the payment.
- Consider using a quick house sale service. Using a quick house sale service is one of the fastest ways to sell a property. The companies providing such services can make almost immediate cash offers for a property, regardless of the location or condition. Once a valuation and survey are complete, sellers can obtain the sale proceeds in as little as a week.
Chris Hodgkinson is the managing director of House Buyer Bureau. He has spent all his career working in the property sector and has extensive knowledge of the sector from having worked in the estate agency industry and running a successful property buying company.