In The Middle Of A Chain Reaction? How To Manage Your Property Chain Like A Pro

Defy the domino effect with Davies & Davies

“I’m in chaaaains” you are heard scream-singing from your shower room, which resides on the first floor of your current one bed, found five and a half miles from the luxurious en suite bathroom in your dream home in Finsbury Park. This property was thrown on the market by a couple who are now scream crying about “chain life” from their balcony as they admire the view of a neighbouring family garden in Stroud Green they’re trying to snap up before footie season.

But guess what? That resident family are all singing Diana Ross’s chain reaction. In a perfect four-part harmony, they are thinking about the country house in Surrey they’re attempting to land in time for the summer, but is potentially being removed from the market altogether thanks to flakey Freddie in Berlin who’s inexplicably decided to stay put.

That’s right gang, you’re in a property chain and it’s taking its toll.

A property chain can only progress at the speed of its slowest link. So, everyone needs to get their head in the game and stop singing chain-related songs at the top of their lungs in their respective abodes. We need to concentrate guys! Here’s our guide on defying the dreaded domino effect, and body swerve the potential property chain perils. Read on, or stay chained…

Illustration of two houses with the for sale sign outside

Where does it all begin?
“You took a little, then you took me over”

Clip on that spectacle chain. Adjust your glasses and focus. Let’s start at the very beginning of the chain, with Pete and Paul. They’re a fresh faced duo, wide eyed and bushy tailed. Endearingly naive ideas about the property game. As first time buyers they’re (usually) the first on the chain, with nothing to sell but their hopes of a kitchen extension (due to be turned down by the pain in the side alley neighbours).

With their offer they have officially kicked off the proceedings. Setting the balls in motion along the onward chain. So long as all goes to plan and each property link moves forward in good time, these first time buyers won’t even feel a pinch of chainlink as they raise a glass and settle into their new home.

When does it all go wrong?
“You set your mark on stealing my heart away”

As with anything in life, even with the best laid plans and intentions things can go awry. With a property chain, this has a ripple effect on every other buyer and seller along the way. The property sale dance is like a Busby Berkeley routine. Carefully choreographed and timed to perfection.

Each sale must occur at exactly the same time for our ‘dancers’ to nail their moves, and move in. Should one buyer pull out – be it a sprained ankle or a changed mind – the whole routine collapses, falling ungainly into the kaleidoscopic water
fountains below.

Why does it all go wrong?
“Crying, trying, anything for you”

From a fickle seller to a dodgy survey. The house chain can bend and snap faster than you can say OMG there’s a Legally Blonde 3 coming out. Potential reasons for the chain to break include, but are not limited to; Margaret getting turned down for a mortgage (booo). Rodrigo deciding he’d like to stay actually because of that south facing window of a Sunday morning (booooo). Angie getting a surprise redundancy (hisss) and Kevin realising the full extent of those dodgy roof tiles on his bank balance (boo and hiss).

This rather pantomime villain-level drama can be rectified however, with the purchase of specific home buyer’s protection insurance. This safety net can help relieve the financial strain of surveys and legal fees, paying out if your purchase falls through. It doesn’t save your heart from breaking however when it dawns on you that you’re not getting the keys to that garden apartment after all. So that’s where we can help…

What can I do to avoid the chain pain?
“I’m on a journey for the inspiration”

You can body swerve the property chain altogether by selling up and renting short term in between. Then, when it comes to buying again, you’re unshackled from your end and the transaction will be a heck of a lot easier to manage. If you can find an equally unshackled, chain free seller then you’re laughing all the way to your new front door. Another way to avoid the chain is to snap up a new-build direct from the builder, or to bid (and win) on a house at auction. However, if you’re reading this too late and you’re bound up in the midst of an inevitable chain link – don’t panic (it’ll only wind in tighter). We’ve got some tricks to release you, Houdini-like.

Photograph of a hand holding a set of keys outside a door

How can I keep the chain in motion?
“I’m in the middle of a chain reaction”

Don’t worry, there are ways to help reduce the chances of chain collapse. These include talking to us! Hello! Keeping in touch with your estate agent, solicitor and mortgage broker will help to keep you up to date with any progress, and means you’ll be primed and ready to hand over any necessary documents or information at key moments. It also helps you build a better rapport with each side of the chain, meaning they become your absolute besties and they absolutely cannot and will not let you down, run around and desert you. Wrong song, sorry.

Staying on top of everything with the help of the pros such as a conveyancer and mortgage broker will help keep you organised and speed things along, while another top tip involves using your persuasive skills. By charming the pants off tricky link in the chain, you may be able to convince them to rent in the short term should they have lost out on their dream home. “Oh the fun you’ll have!” you cry, wild-eyed and mortgage papers trembling. “You’ll be in a stronger position in the long run and chain-free when it comes to buying again! Don’t believe me? Read this Davies and Davies blog….”

For more top tips and invaluable advice, give your (expert) friends at Davies & Davies a prod and we’ll be happy to unshackle your worries.

Please note that all content contained within our website is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. All Content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. We advise seeking professional advice from a legal, financial, or other professional.

Contact us: – Lettings Director (contact for lettings and property management) – Sales Director (contact for sales, new homes and chartered surveying)

020 3820 2492

Davies & Davies Estate Agents, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

Article & images by Barefaced Studios

You might also want to read other useful blog articles by clicking here.

31 May 2023
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