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Our guide to avoiding property chains

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Blog Bits | 0 comments

Are you thinking about buying or selling a house? Well, you should be prepared to learn about the dreaded property chain breaking. It might sound complex, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this Quick Property Sale ‘Blog Bits’ post, we will give you a breakdown of the term and explore everything you need to know about property chains.

What is a property chain? 

So, what is a property chain? Simply put, it’s when many homeowners who wish to sell their house are reliant on other homeowners to also sell their houses, in a chain. This often occurs when homeowners wish to buy a new home and sell their old one at the same time. For example, you might be solely dependent on your current house being sold to afford the house you wish to buy. If it doesn’t sell, you are stuck in a chain with very little wiggle-room, which can be extremely frustrating and delay your move to your new home.

How to buy a home in a property chain

The people at the beginning and the end of a chain have fewer responsibilities one way or another, but for those in the centre, a successful move is dependent on several factors:

  1. Getting a mortgage agreed in principle, usually called a ‘DIP’ (decision in principle).
  2. Making an offer on their new home and getting their current property sold subject to contract.
  3. Arranging a reputable solicitor or conveyancer.
  4. Arranging surveys, for example, if the building is in disrepair or has subsidence.
  5. Exchanging contracts of the sale within the same time frame as the other sellers and buyers.

How to minimise a breaking chain and manage it

Put your property on for sale at a realistic price. An over inflated asking price is unlikely to attract much positive attention, let alone secure any buyer for it.

Reducing the likelihood of issues down the line can be achieved by conducting inquiries into potential buyers and sellers early on. It’s important to ascertain whether the seller has secured another property to purchase and if their legal and financial situation is in order. Additionally, setting time limits on processes, such as a few weeks between the exchange of sale contracts and completion, can be beneficial. While you cannot control an entire chain, taking these steps can minimise any negative impact that your part may have on the full chain.

Average length of a chain

The length of a property chain can vary, and while the average length is hard to calculate, there have been instances where a single property chain has had up to 7 buyers/sellers! Property chains can be resolved seamlessly, but this is a rare occurrence. So, if you’re wondering what the average time is to sell a house, it might give you an idea about the average property chain length.

Why does a chain collapse?

Now, you might be wondering why property chains collapse. There can be many reasons for this to happen. Some of the most common reasons include a buyer in the chain cannot secure a mortgage, a house buyer pulls out last minute, ‘gazumping’ when a seller accepts an offer but pulls out when offered a better deal by another buyer, or if a buyer lowers their offer in the last minute, and the seller does not agree with the change in price.

If you’re dealing with a property chain of your own and you are struggling to sell your house due to many factors, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Quick Property Sale, we buy any house in any condition, without any property chains involved. We assure you that we won’t drop out from buying your house in the last minute or at all, if we can buy it from you. Otherwise, you could try another property for quick sale company to compare their services ours – Quick Property Sale UK.

How to remedy a broken link?

Now, you might be thinking, what can you do to fix a property chain? One option is for someone in the property chain to rent a home or stay with family/friends after selling their house instead of buying and selling simultaneously. Another option is to buy a new-build house, which is advantageous as new build properties rarely have an upward chain. This means that the seller is not reliant upon anyone above them, making your buying journey more favourable. If you lower your asking price, buyers are more likely to consider purchasing your property, which will, therefore, fix the property chain. Additionally, you could sell to a first-time buyer, as they won’t be in a chain of their own, which lessens the chances of them dropping out from the deal.

A chain free sale – what is it?

The ideal solution is to have a chain-free property, which means that no one on either side of the deal is reliant on anyone else to buy or sell a house. It’s simply without a chain of people linked together and dependent on others who are buying or selling a house. So, if a house buyer pulls out last minute, it won’t affect you. An example of this type of chain-free process is between a first-time buyer and a property developer of a new build home. This will mean selling your house quickly and for a good price.

How to navigate a property chain

Navigating a property chain can be a daunting task, but with the right mindset and strategies, it can be done successfully. Here are a few tips to help you manoeuvre within a property chain:

  1. Be patient: It’s essential to understand that a property chain can take time to unravel if it needs attention to resolve a hiccup. Therefore, you need to be patient and not rush the process.
  2. Communication is always key: Keep communication lines open with all parties involved in the property chain, up and down the line. Ensure that you have regular updates on progress and any changes that may arise.
  3. Be proactive, don’t assume things are happening in the background: Stay on top of things and keep things moving by chasing up solicitors, estate agents, and other parties involved in the chain.
  4. Consider a bridging loan: If you find yourself in a situation where you need to buy a new property before selling your current one, consider taking out a bridging loan. A bridging loan, sourced from a reputable mortgage broker, allows you to purchase a new property before selling your current one, giving you more time to find a buyer.


In conclusion, property chains can be complex and frustrating, but they don’t have to be. With the right strategies and foresight on good planning, you can steer a property chain successfully. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need to sell your home quickly for a ‘house quick sale’ and without the hassle of a property chain, contact us at Quick Property Sale. Before we end this blog episode, we are sure you don’t mind a slight shout-out, so here is a tiny sales pitch from us: ‘We buy any house, in any condition, and in almost any area.‘


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