Q.  I’ve just had an offer on my property but the buyer is in a chain, it’s taken a while to get any interest at all given the current market conditions so I am loathe to reject this offer particularly since it is a fairly decent price too but I am really hesitant about this chain. Do you think I should proceed regardless or wait for an unencumbered buyer?

A.  As annoying as it may seem to you right now once you start moving further up the property ladder the chances are that you are going to have to become part of a chain at some point as it’s likely your buyer will also be selling too. A property chain is created when buying a home is dependent on the success of other transactions. If one link fails, the whole chain can fall apart, potentially costing you a fortune in the process. It can be a very stressful procedure but there are practical things that you can implement to minimise a break. Firstly, ensure you use an experienced estate agent and Solicitor – ask them how long they have been doing the job for, or even better ask for recommendations around your peer group. Speak to your representatives regularly and ask if there is anything they or you should be doing, do remember that you are paying their fee so get the best out of them and ask for regular updates. Get your finances in place early and make sure that your advisor has a survey instructed as soon as possible to prevent delays on that part and remember to make sure your cash for your deposit is available to send over to your solicitor and not tied up in an off shore account that will take weeks to move. Ensure that you have copies of documents that are likely to be requested to hand and do sign and return all of your paperwork promptly; you would be surprised how many chains become delayed simply because of an unreturned piece of paperwork. Make sure there is a clear timeline set from the outset that everyone is committed to working towards for exchange and completion although this is unlikely to be adhered to with so many parties in the chain it at least sets some kind of expectation of completion. Finally many sales/purchases complete on a daily basis that are part of a chain and whilst it is not the most favourable situation sometimes it’s just a case of biting the bullet and meeting it head on.