5 Ideas To Fix A Broken Property Chain

Written by Jane Wardle on December 23, 2018

Updated November 18, 2019

Fixing a broken property chain

If you are buying a new home, then the chances are the seller of that property is also buying another home to move into themselves. You are probably in the process of selling your home to someone else as well unless you are a first-time buyer. This situation is known as a property chain, and it means to successfully move home you are depending on multiple other property transactions completing successfully.

Should one link in the chain fail, then the whole thing can fall apart. When this happens, it can be very costly and stressful, and could you leave you right back at square one again. If you are in a property chain and are worried it might break, there are a few things you can do to stop it. Follow our guide for solutions on how to fix a broken property chain.

Why do property chains break?

Property chain

There is a range of reasons as to why a property chain could fall through. If a buyer further down the line can’t be approved for a mortgage, or someone changes their mind about selling their home, then the chain will be broken. Often surveys will uncover costly repairs which can cause buyers to pull out or reduce their offer.

If a seller can’t find the perfect property to buy they may delay the sale until they find it, leaving their buyer at a loose end. Whatever the reason for a property chain breaking, it is a nuisance that can affect a large number of people if the chain is long.

If you are a first-time buyer, try to find a seller that is also chain-free. If you are buying and selling simultaneously, look for both buyers and sellers that have no chain to make the whole process easier.

How to fix a broken property chain?

When you find yourself in a situation where your property chain is breaking or broken, there are a few things you can do to try and keep the transaction on track:

1. Communication is key

If you are in a chain, make an effort to keep in touch with the other buyers and sellers in the chain and if they request information from you, always respond promptly. Building relationships with others in the chain will increase your chances of keeping it all together; many individuals will find it more difficult to let you down if you have made an effort to build a rapport with them. You should also stay in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent and ask for regular progress checks.

2. Agree on a reduced sale price throughout the chain

If it comes to light that someone in the chain has pulled out of their purchase because of money issues, then you could try convincing everyone else in the chain to agree a lower sale price. Getting everyone to agree can be a real struggle, but it can work if everyone is willing.

3. Buy the problem property

If there is one particular property below you in the chain that won’t sell, you could consider buying it yourself to get things moving. Obviously, this is only a viable option if you have the capital available, and it is important to consider all the other implications such as stamp duty. You will also need to think about whether you then want the hassle of selling it or trying to rent it out if you decide to keep it.

4. Use a ‘quick sale’ company

If your seller pulls out of buying your home, you could sell to a quick sale company instead of spending time looking for a new seller. These types of companies will buy any property in a matter of days, but for a discounted price. Be careful as you may end up losing out on a large amount of money from your property sale as these companies will only offer below market value.

5. Rent while you sell

If you are trying to sell your home and buy a new one at the same time, consider renting somewhere or staying with friends and family while you sell. Doing this will mean there is no chain above you, making selling much easier. When you are then looking for a new home, you will be buying with no chain, making you much more appealing to sellers.

If your chain does fall through despite your best efforts, it can end up being very costly to you if you have paid out for survey and solicitor fees upfront. It is possible to get insurance that covers you for broken chains, so consider this if you are worried about a chain breaking.

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