Property Chains

If you are looking into buying a house, you might have come across the term chain-free. Have you been wondering what this means? Hawkins Law are here to explain.

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What is a property chain?

A property chain is where the buyer of a property needs to sell their own property to fund their purchase. The person buying the property that your buyer is selling may themselves have a property to sell and so the chain continues. This pattern may repeat itself many times over until the chain reaches somebody who does not need to sell a property to fund their purchase. This person will be at the bottom of the chain.

At the top of the chain, there will be somebody who is selling their property but not buying on. Between these two people, there could be any number of people who are both selling and buying, all linked together in a conveyancing chain.

Risks of a property chain

The chain is at risk if one party is no longer able to complete the deal. The more parties involved, the bigger the risk. There are various factors that put a property chain at risk, such as:

  • One party finds a better home or they simply decide not to buy or sell at all.
  • A selling party receives a better offer than the one currently linked in the chain.
  • A buying party is having troubles receiving a mortgage deal.
  • Agreed dates are delayed which might move crucial moving dates for other parties
  • A party may decide to withdraw from the deal for a personal reason.

What is gazundering and gazumping?

  • Both gazundering and gazumping put a property chain at risk:
    • Gazundering: A buyer reduces their offer at last minute.
    • Gazumping: A seller accepts a higher offer from someone else at last minute.

    Both tactics are legal but unfortunate when it involves a property chain. If you are thinking about buying or selling into a property chain, we want you to be sure you are happy with the deal before you agree to it.

How can a solicitor help?
  • A solicitor or conveyancer can help keep things on track. It’s crucial that everyone involved in the deal is working closely together. Each party should complete their work as quickly as possible to avoid any delays in the crucial timeline.If you are thinking about buying a property in a chain, feel free to contact us.We are not afraid of the extra challenge and will work hard to speed up the process and stay on schedule. If you have any questions regarding property, call us now on 0207 177 7579.

Our Property Team