Property chains explained for first-time buyers.

A property ‘chain’ describes a line of buyers and sellers who are linked together because each of them is selling and buying a property from one of the others. The buyers at the bottom of the chain are the ones who don’t need to sell a property first i.e. a first-time buyer or a cash buyer and the ones at the top of the chain are those who don’t need to buy another property to move on.

All the buyers and sellers in between are the chain links and each sale is dependent on the buyer being able to complete the sale of their house in order to buy the next home.

A property chain works well when every link in the chain is working towards the same completion date. The whole chain should work together, and it is the job of the solicitor representing each member of the chain to ensure this happens. Don’t forget each link in the chain will have their own estate agent, solicitor, surveyor and mortgage lender so you can see that there is a definite art to lining everyone up at the same time! The only part of the chain you have any control over however, is yours, so make sure you respond to your solicitors and estate agents as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t hold up the chain.

If the property you are buying mentions ‘No upward chain’ this means that the person you are buying from is not involved in a chain and you do not have to wait for them to complete on any other property transaction before finalising the deal. For example if your seller was moving abroad or the property is being sold on behalf of a deceased person’s estate.

In the same way a ‘chain free’ property transaction is when no one on either side of a deal is waiting on anyone else before completing the transaction. An example of this is if you have a first-time buyer purchasing a new build property. The first-time buyer has no other property to sell and the property developer has no onward purchase to make. Essentially ‘chain free’ means that there are no other buyers or sellers to consider, and this should make the transaction more straightforward.

If you would like any more assistance with home buying terms or ‘jargon’ please check out our other homebuying guides or give us a call and we will be happy to explain in more detail.