Q. I am selling my house in the country and moving to London and found my dream riverside residence and after three long months of conveyancing was ready to exchange yesterday only to be given the news that my buyers buyer has dropped out resulting in a break in the chain. As you can imagine, I am devastated that this has happened at such a late stage. The seller that I am buying from has said that he is putting the property back on the market despite my pleas to be given some time to find a replacement buyer further down the chain, surely this is a little unfair given I am such a keen buyer and this was beyond my control?
A. A break in the chain can be detrimental to everyone involved, especially at this late stage. The impact on all parties concerned can be devastating. Of course although the vendors know you are not personally responsible for the break in the chain their solicitor will likely advise them to remarket immediately in the hope that a ‘chain free’ buyer can be found quickly and given all the conveyancing is already complete should be able to complete quite quickly. As long as you make it very clear that your intention is still to buy the property what would usually happen here is if another buyer is found another contract and set of papers will be sent to them and you effectively would be in a contract race with this second party. The successful buyer would be the first buyer that is ready and willing to exchange contracts. This from the seller’s perspective would appear to make the most sense as you the current buyer are effectively ready to proceed save for the delays caused by another party in the chain. If however the seller is fortunate enough to find another buyer with no property to sell then it may well be that they could move quickly enough to beat you to the property. This is the reason I think that their solicitor will encourage them to have two sets of papers out there to increase their chances of one party coming through within the next 4-6 weeks. If you are confident that selling your property eventually is not going to be a problem you could talk to the bank and consider a bridging loan if losing the property is simply not an option.