Buying and Selling Property - when the property chain breaks

publication date: Jun 16, 2010
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Buying and Selling Property - when the property chain breaks


On average in the UK there are seven properties involved in every chain. There is nothing worse than thinking you’ve got a buyer in place for your home or your new dream home to move into, then suddenly your buyer or seller pulls out and the chain breaks.

Here are Kate's tips to help you link your chain back together:-

If your Buyer is pulling out or the Sale is not proceeding satisfactorily

  1. Find out why they are pulling out and see what, if anything, your estate agent can do to help.

    • Is it a bad survey?  Why not offer to investigate further or put the problem right?
    • Has their mortgage application failed?  May be your estate agent or your financial adviser can help?
    • Have they found another property?  Can you adjust the price, offer the kitchen appliances or pay their stamp duty if they continue with your purchase?
  2. Start re-marketing your property immediately if your buyer isn’t progressing the sale, for example if they haven’t had their survey done within two weeks or the mortgage offer hasn’t been confirmed after two or three weeks.
  3. Consider letting your own property (let to buy) so you can continue to purchase the property you want.


If the Seller pulls out

  1. Find out why.

    • Has their sale fallen through?  Can they move out and rent instead or will you wait for them to find another property?
    • Do they need more money?  Is it worth increasing your offer?
  2. Consider buying a new build which offers a Part-Exchange deal this way the developer will buy your property from you, leaving you free to buy theirs.
  3. Sell to cash buyers if you can.


Top Tips to avoid being in a chain!

  • When selling, only accept offers from cash buyers who have no property to sell.
  • Sell your property first, move into rented accommodation/stay with friends/family and then make offers as a cash buyer.
  • Buy a property that the sellers can move out of at any time.
  • Buy a new build property.


Don’t get too stressed if your sale or purchase falls through. Find a way to sort it if you can and if not, you may find that a better buyer or property is just around the corner!

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