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The dreaded property chain and what to do next

Nobody likes being stuck in a property chain. Whether you’re house buyers or you’re looking to sell up, the prospect of being in a sometimes seemingly never ending chain could delay the process of you moving for weeks, months or potentially even longer. Alternatively, the chain could end up breaking, meaning you miss out on your dream home or are left waiting for another buyer. Either way, the process can end up being incredibly stressful, so we’ve taken a look at how a chain could break, and what to do if it does…

How a chain breaks

According to an independent study, almost a third of house sales collapsed in the last month alone. This could be for a range of reasons, either the buyers were unable to get their mortgage finalised, the seller may not have been able to find another property or sometimes one of the parties may just get cold feet and decide to pull out of the deal.

Other factors such as ‘gazumping’, where a seller manages to find a buyer that’s willing to pay a little bit more, or even ‘gazundering’, which occurs when a buyer decides to drop their offer, can both end up breaking a chain. All of which only adds to the stresses attached with being stuck in a chain.

How much does a broken chain cost?

If a deal ends up breaking down, then it could end up having a big impact on your wallet. Not only will you lose any money you’ve already handed over to solicitors in the form of fees and the costs attached to having a survey carried out, you could also end up losing your mortgage arrangement fee. 
In most cases, those fees are non-refundable, which means that if you progress through a deal only to see it fall through, you could end up hundreds or even thousands of pounds out of pocket with nothing to show for it.

How can you stop a chain from breaking?

Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do. If you’re selling your home and moving to another, you may find yourself in the middle of a rather large chain. With so many variables in place, if something goes wrong above or below you in the chain, it’s very much out of your control. 

House buyers are notoriously fickle; you may progress fairly far through a deal only for them to find something else and pull out. If that happens, you’re sat around waiting for a buyer while potentially the house you’re interested in goes to someone else.

How to break free of the property chain

If you’ve been stuck in a chain for quite a while and are waiting to move, a good alternative could be a cash buyer. With cash buyers, you’re not waiting on mortgage lenders or for the buyer to sell their own property. Instead, you’ll get a straightforward speedy sale which will not only let you break free of the chain but will put you in a better position when it comes to purchasing your next property.