Q. I am selling my property and buying something larger and moving out of London. However I have a bit of a predicament, I have now found my dream home and made an offer which has been accepted subject to me selling, the problem is I have an asking price offer from a buyer that also needs to sell although he has a first time buyer already lined up for his. To make things even more complicated the sellers at the house I am buying are also buying. Do you think I should accept an offer from a buyer in a chain or keep the property on the market in the hope that a cash or chain free buyer comes along?
A. In an ideal world wouldn’t we all just love to agree a sale on our properties to the perfect, cash or chain free buyer, oh yes indeed it would certainly make things less complicated and risky for all concerned, however a quick reality check will bring you back to earth with a bump. Unfortunately a good deal of property sales and purchases go hand in hand with the dreaded ‘chain’. True this is never ideal and certainly if you have the choice of two buyers and one is chain free and the other needs to sell then I would always advice you to opt to run with the chain free buyer, however if the offer on your home happens to be acceptable but it’s from a buyer that needs to sell then you would be foolish to dismiss it just because they have to sell. My best advice is that you get yourself a very good Solicitor who along with your Estate Agent will check the chain and then manage things as you proceed towards exchange and completion. Being in a chain can slow down sales and purchases because everyone is reliant on everyone else performing as they should and until everyone is in a position to exchange then its best to wait and do so simultaneously so as to prevent unnecessary risk or financial exposure. Overall buying and selling is fraught and situations can arise even with cash or chain free buyers with no complications simply because of other issues that pop up along the path to exchange, so there is no real security with either type of buyer. All you can do is ensure you have a committed buyer this will be evident from their eagerness to push things forward, so ensure they get their solicitors details over to your agent as soon as the offer is accepted and that a survey is booked ideally within a couple of weeks of the sale being agreed. Keep a careful eye on things as the sale progresses, your estate agent knowing the fragility of chains will also make sure that he keeps a note of any other interested parties so if the worst were to happen he has a plan ‘B’ in place and can slot another buyer in quickly so as not to break the chain.