Q.  I am in the process of selling and upscaling to a larger home and have found myself involved in a chain. At first I wasn’t too concerned but five months in and the person at the bottom of the chain has just dropped out and put everyone in a precarious situation of not going anywhere fast. Have you any tips or advise to speed things along?

A.  Chains sound like a nightmare, and to be honest can sometimes be just that. Most however get there in the end although not in the speediest of fashions, sadly though many do collapse when either a seller or a buyer withdraws and there is little anyone can do about it when the UK laws surrounding buying and selling are as lax as they currently are with nothing being legally binding until exchange of contracts. There are a few small things you can do to lessen the chances of being in a chain but quite frankly nothing is watertight. I would always suggest that an individual that is both buying and selling that loses his purchase should still proceed with their own sale and their buyer and move into rented accommodation temporarily while they wait for another property to buy to become available rather than lose buyer after buyer because they are not able to buy themselves. Not ideal I understand but at least you would then make yourself ‘chain free’ which would put you in a much stronger position for when another suitable purchase becomes available. Unfortunately chains are sometimes simply unavoidable particularly if your dream home has just become available and to purchase it you must sell. Selecting a buyer for your home that is chain free – a first time buyer or investor ideally would eliminate a further chain on that side at least. Also consider carefully the agent that you decide to appoint to sell your home; having an agent to represent you that is experienced that fully understands the process that can chase the chain and keep a tight rein on everything can be extremely useful as they are in the unique position of being able speaking to all the key members of the chain to push things along in the right direction. Do ensure too that all prospective purchasers are fully checked out and are actually able to afford to purchase your property, you’d be surprised how many people throw in reckless offers and have no idea whether they are actually able to afford the property in the first place!