Property chains can be an added complication during the process of buying and selling properties. That’s why many buyers are excited by the prospect of seeing a house listed as having no chain, meaning that it may be quicker to purchase. But what exactly does the phrase ‘no chain’ mean, and why are buyers attracted to properties of this type?

In this article, we’ll explain what it means when a property is chain-free, as well as discussing how you can avoid chains when you’re buying or selling property.

What Is A Property Chain?

You’ll often hear the word ‘chain’ when you’re buying or selling property, but what does the term actually mean, and is it a positive or a negative thing to be part of a chain?

A property chain occurs when the sale of a property depends on the purchase or sale of one or more other properties. The bottom of the chain consists of a cash buyer, often a first-time buyer, whilst the top of the chain is a vendor that does not have an onward purchase. Every transaction in the chain is reliant on the successful sale of the other properties in the chain.

You may hear property chains referenced as the reason that many sales fall through. That’s because if one person in the chain runs into a problem or pulls out of the transaction, the entire chain can become broken. This can leave vendors in a position where they may lose their buyer, as well as leaving buyers at risk of losing their dream property.

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what does it mean if a house has no chain

What Does It Mean If A House Has No Chain?

In order to negate the risks of being part of a property chain, some buyers actively look for properties that are listed as having no onward chain. This means that the person that is selling the property is not reliant on the funds of their property sale to purchase a property themselves.

There are many different reasons why a property may be chain-free. These include:

  • The seller has already purchased a new home
  • The seller is moving abroad
  • The sale of a buy to let property
  • The seller is moving into rented accommodation
  • The house has been repossessed
  • The sale of a deceased estate

Properties that have no onward chain are often seen as an attractive option as they are more likely to result in a fast and stress-free transaction. This makes chain-free properties particularly popular amongst buyers.

What Is The Average Length Of A Property Chain?

There is no average when it comes to the length of a property chain, as every chain is unique. There are many different factors that can influence the average length of a property chain, including the price and type of the property you’re buying or selling, as well as its location.

It’s also important to note that there is not always a direct correlation between the length of the property chain and the duration of the transaction. A property with no chain could run into many different issues that cause the sale to take several months, whilst a chain of six properties could go through smoothly and reach completion in just eight weeks. The duration of a property transaction is entirely dependent on the complexity of the individual case and the others in the chain.

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House With No Chain?

Chain-free properties appeal to buyers as the purchase process will often proceed faster than properties that are part of a chain. Transactions without a chain can go through in just six weeks, in comparison to properties with a chain which can often take several months for completion.

However, it’s important to remember that property transactions rely on many different things falling into place before completion can take place. This includes the mortgage offer, searches, survey and enquiries. Any one of these things can run into issues that could hold up a transaction.

This means that you could have a chain-free sale that takes six months to complete, or a lengthy chain where everything falls into place and completion happens after just eight weeks. So, whilst purchasing a chain-free property gives you a good chance of your purchase going through smoothly, it doesn’t guarantee it.

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What Are The Risks Of A Property Chain?

Being part of a property chain carries an element of risk. However, as the majority of property sales are part of a chain, this is often an unavoidable risk that you must take to secure your dream property.

The reason that property chains can be risky is that each sale relies on every other transaction in the chain. This means that if one person pulls out of the transaction, the entire chain is at risk of collapsing. The longer the chain is, the higher the chances are of things going wrong and the chain collapsing.

There are many different reasons why a property sale may fall through. These include:

  • A buyer decides to pull out of their purchase after finding another property.
  • A vendor receives a better offer for their property.
  • A buyer experiences difficulty securing a mortgage for their purchase.
  • A problem is identified during the searches or survey, leading the buyer to pull out.
  • A buyer or vendor experiences a change in personal circumstances, meaning that they are unable to proceed with the transaction.

These are just some of the reasons that could lead a property chain to collapse. However, experiencing one of these issues does not necessarily mean that the chain will not complete. In the event that one person pulls out of the chain, another buyer may be able to be quickly found, or a member of the chain may agree to break the chain by moving into rented accommodation or staying with a friend.

avoid property chain

How To Avoid Being In A Property Chain

As a result of the risks involved with property chains, many home movers look for ways to avoid being part of a chain. If you are hoping to move with no onward chain, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your transaction is chain-free. Let’s take a look at some of those things.

For Buyers

  • Consider purchasing a new build property. These are vacant by nature, meaning that you won’t need to wait for anyone to move out before your purchase can go through.
  • Look for properties that are advertised as having no onward chain, such as vacant properties.
  • Become a chain-free buyer by selling your current property and moving into rented accommodation whilst you search for your next property. This will also help to make your offer more appealing to chain-free vendors.

For Sellers

  • If you are fortunate enough to receive more than one offer on your property, opt for the buyer that is chain-free. This is often a first-time buyer or a cash buyer, who is not reliant on the sale of another property to complete the purchase.
  • Let your estate agent know that you’re only willing to accept offers from buyers who do not have a chain.

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Related Questions

Is It Better To Buy A House With No Chain?

Choosing to purchase a property with no onward chain can often speed up the conveyancing process, as you won’t need to wait around for other transactions to be ready for completion. However, this does not mean that you’re guaranteed to have a straightforward move, as the process is dependent on a number of different factors.

Is No Onward Chain A Good Thing?

Many home movers are excited by the prospect of a chain-free transaction, as these are often less complicated than lengthy chains. This means that the process of buying a selling a property without a chain is often faster than those with a chain. If you’re looking to purchase quickly, opting to buy a chain-free property could be a good move.

In Summary

Having no onward chain can significantly reduce the length of the house buying process, so there’s no wonder that so many buyers are attracted to properties advertised as having no chain.

In this article, we’ve explained the no chain meaning, as well as discussing the disadvantages and risks of being part of a property chain. If you’re looking to sell your house with no chain, or to purchase a property with no onward chain, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to discuss your requirements and book a no-obligation valuation on your property.

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