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What happens if a property chain collapses?

Chain collapse is one of the leading causes of failed property sales. It can result in significant disruption, emotional distress, and even financial loss.

A property chain is a series of connected property sales and purchases. The more buyers and sellers connected to your move, the more likely you are to experience delays and the more vulnerable your move is to chain collapse.

So, what should you do if you’ve recently experienced chain collapse or are concerned about the stability of your property chain? These tips could help you keep your sale on track.

  1. Keep your property chain as small as possible

If you want to maximise your chances of a quick and successful house sale, it’s important that you ensure your own circumstances are as proceedable as possible. You can do this by preparing as much paperwork as you can before marketing your property and ensuring you have an efficient, responsive conveyancing solicitor lined up. If you’re lucky enough to receive multiple offers for your property, you should select your buyer carefully. The buyer with the smallest chain is usually the best option, even if their offer is a little lower than some others you may have received. If you’re lucky enough to receive an offer from a chain-free cash buyer, your house sale is likely to be significantly quicker and easier than any other sale.

  1. Keep communicating and be flexible

The process of buying and selling a home is very unpredictable. Things beyond your control will undoubtedly crop up at some point. Most buyers and sellers will be very understanding and do their best to keep the chain intact, as long as they’re kept informed and know what’s happening. A good estate agent and solicitor are key in keeping all parties informed about how the sale is progressing, so it’s important to choose the people who represent you to your buyer and seller carefully.

  1. Be responsive and proactive

It’s important that you are proactive and do everything you can to progress the sale. You should ensure that any paperwork your solicitor sends you is completed and returned promptly. Should the worst happen, and your buyer or seller pull out of the sale, you may be able to keep the chain together if you respond quickly and get your property back on the market or find a new property to buy quickly. If everyone in the chain has already completed a significant amount of the legal work, it will be better for them to stick with the current chain than to start from the beginning again with an entirely new property transaction, which they may be willing to do if they know you are being proactive in rebuilding the chain.

Chain collapse is always a frustrating and upsetting experience. Unfortunately, around one in three property sales will fall through before completion, so it’s incredibly common, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier when you’re going through it. Whilst there will always be events beyond your control, these tips will help you to minimise the risk of chain collapse and ensure you’re well-prepared should the worst happen.