What Is a Property Chain and What Problems Can It Cause?

A property chain is when home sellers and buyers are linked because their sale or purchase is based on another transaction being successful – for example, selling a current home before buying the new one.


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A chain is also created when there is more than one buyer connected to the transaction – for example, the first buyer will hope another buyer will purchase his current home so that he can complete the purchase of his new home.

There are various problems that can occur in a chain, leading to its failure or delay. Some of the more common problems are explored further below.

Links in Chain Working at Different Pace

One of the most common delays found selling or purchasing a property is due to each link in the chain working at different speeds. For example, one buyer may be eager to purchase the home and submit all paperwork expeditiously, while another buyer in the same transaction may be slower, perhaps due to a busy work schedule, etc. One delay upsets the whole chain.

Chain Delay Due to Property Searches

Some property searches take longer than others. Also, each buyer in the chain needs extra time to convert an in-principle mortgage offer into a formal one. This can take five weeks and sometimes even longer.

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Once the mortgage funds and searches have been completed, it will be the responsibility of your conveyancers to make sure all legal issues are settled and acceptable to all parties. You can find an appropriate conveyancing lawyer by searching for conveyancing solicitors near me, such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Conveyancing-Solicitors.

When it comes to the title deeds, if any issues should occur they must be reviewed immediately and usually reported to the buyer’s mortgage provider for clarification, which can delay the entire chain for up to an additional 10 working days.

How to Avoid Delays in the Chain

It is crucial to let your estate agent or conveyancer know of any key dates when you may be unavailable during the conveyancing process to have a clear picture across all parties of the true time factors. It is also important to submit all documentation on time.

Chain Break

A chain can be broken due to, for example, a buyer selling their current home but deciding not to buy the new one. This is known as breaking the chain.