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How to manage a property chain

We all know that buying and selling a property and moving home can be a stressful process. Even more so when parts of the process are within a property chain. If you have not yet purchased a property, you have probably heard about property chains from others – normally when something goes wrong. Being in a chain can make things a little more stressful, so in this blog we are going to look at the chain and helping prepare yourself to reduce the risks.

What is a property chain?

Briefly, this is where a group of home buyers and sellers are dependent on one another when purchasing a house – for example the owner(s) of the house you want to buy might need to find a house to buy themselves first, and those buying your house may need to sell theirs.

There is no hard and fast rule on this, but the length of the property chain can vary anywhere from 3 properties right up to 10+ properties, and the timeframes involved in a chain can vary dramatically. Understandably, the more in the chain, the more challenges can arise.

Understanding the property chain

The property chain can cause a lot of issues so it’s useful to understand these issues in order to navigate the buying and selling process successfully.

One of the most significant issues with a property chain is that it can cause delays. If one person encounters a problem, such as a surveyor finding an issue with a property, it can result in a domino effect that delays the entire chain.

Another issue with a property chain is that it can be fragile. For example, if one person pulls out of the chain, it can cause the entire chain to collapse. This can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved, and especially problematic if you are close to completing the purchase of your new home and have already made plans to move in.

What can I do to reduce the impact?

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to reduce the impact if these issues arise. Firstly, it’s important to work with an experienced mortgage adviser who can help you navigate the buying and selling process.

Another thing that you can do is to be as prepared as possible. Having your mortgage in place, and all of your paperwork ready to go can help to speed up the buying process and reduce the risk of delays.

Deal with any potential issues that might hold up the chain as early in the process as possible. For example, if you know there is an issue with your house that you know will potentially be picked up by a surveyor, be proactive with your solicitor and talk through the options early on, rather than waiting for this to be discovered at the last minute.

Good communication between all parties is also a must and helps to reduce the risk of misunderstanding. Make sure you stay in regular contact with your estate agent to ensure they are communicating with all parties in the chain and providing you with updates accordingly.

We asked our advisors for one piece of advice they would give you so you are best prepared when faced with a property chain:

“Make sure you choose a good solicitor that you can call or visit and communicate directly with. They are key to keeping you and the chain updated throughout the process. Use personal recommendations but be aware that the cheapest isn’t necessarily best!” Philippa


“Don’t be afraid to be proactive and call selling agents and solicitors if necessary so you know what’s going on.  Make sure you know when your mortgage offer expires too if things are going slowly.” Julie


The property chain is a necessary part of the buying and selling process, but it can be complex and cause a lot of issues. By doing all you can to prepare as much as possible using the tips above can help make the buying and selling process as smooth as possible.

If you have concerns, or want to talk through your mortgage options then get in touch with one of our experienced advisors who can support you and discuss the options available to you.

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