What is a Property Chain?


The phrase ‘Property Chain’ refers to the dependence placed between a series of house buyers and sellers.  Each individual sale, or purchase, is reliant on all of the other parties within the chain being able to complete their respective transactions.

At the ‘bottom’ of the chain there is usually a first-time buyer who has no property to sell and is taking their first foot on the rung of the property ladder.  At the top of the chain there tends to be a property that is being sold by a vendor who does not need to make a related purchase; for instance, a probate property being sold by executors.

It is very rare that a property comes to the market which is completely chain free.  However, if you are lucky to be in this scenario then there will be less chance of difficulties occurring and a sale can usually be completed relatively quickly.  We have achieved such a sale in just 5 weeks.

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Avoiding Problems and Delays


The consumer champion ‘Which’ conducted a study in 2016 of 2,000 home-movers and found that nearly 30% experienced a property purchase falling through.

At David Cosby Estate Agents we have a combined 40 years’ of professional surveying and legal expertise.  With this background knowledge we are better placed than most estate agents to recognise and help you to avoid potential property chain problems and ultimately achieve your objective of selling your home.

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Common Property Chain Problems and Delays


Three common property chain problems which tend to arise are:


  • A Bad Survey

A ‘bad’ Home Survey Report is one of the main reasons why a property sale might fall through.  A surveyor may identify issues such as dampness, structural movement, asbestos, or timber decay; all of which can lead to a potential purchaser pulling out of a sale.


  • Legal Issues

With local authorities now reluctant to adopt new public highways and open spaces many new developments rely on management companies for the upkeep of these areas.   Unfortunately, these organisations generally do not have a good reputation and can cause delays in the conveyancing process.   Another issue that sometimes arises during the conveyancing process are boundary or title plan problems.  These can include irregularities between the legal title and the physical boundaries on the site.


  • Communication

Communication is key when it comes to avoiding property chain problems.  When do the seller and the purchaser and others in the chain want to complete?  Are all solicitors holding all necessary signed documents?  What are the lead-in times for drawdown of lender funds?  If answers to these queries are not effectively conveyed to all parties then it can lead to mistrust, frustration, and delay.

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How Can We Help to Prevent Delays or a Broken Property Chain?


Unfortunately, some issues will always be unforeseen or outside of our control; however, in recent transactions managed by David Cosby Estate Agents we have been able to overcome the following issues which may have otherwise led to serious delays or breaks in the property chain:


  • Bad Surveys and Property Defects

Many of the problems that are identified in a Home Survey Report can be relatively easy to recognise and can be dealt with prior to marketing a property.  This makes for a smoother transaction with less unexpected difficulties.  At David Cosby Estate Agents we can help you to identify potential issues that may be picked up in a Survey and provide advice on remedial works.  This is part of our all-inclusive sales package and there is no additional charge!  From dealing with unsupported chimney breasts and liaising with structural engineers in proposing and advising on cost effective remedial works, to diagnosing cracks that have been picked up on a survey report.  Our surveying experience has proved to be a great asset for many of our vendors and purchasers.


  • Legal Issues

At David Cosby Estate Agents we have the legal knowledge to establish at the very outset the involvement of management companies and the need to request the relevant ‘management packs’ at the earliest opportunity.   With a team of surveyors on hand, we are also ready to help rectify any boundary or title plan irregularities that may affect the sale.


  • Effective Communication

At David Cosby Estate Agents, we pride ourselves on being good communicators with speedy responses to all enquiries.  We are proactive in ensuring that the sale and purchase is proceeding according to plan.  Where necessary we will also navigate up and down the property chain making checks with all relevant parties to ensure that other professionals are carrying out their own due diligence in a timely manner.  This includes liaising with Solicitors, Surveyors, Managing Agents, Solar Panel Companies and MCS (the certifying body for solar panels), Housing Developers, Land Registry, Local Authorities, FENSA (for window certifications), Search Companies, and Building Control Inspectors (to obtain Building Control Completion Certificates) to name but a few!


All this combined with 5-Star Google Reviews and a fee of just 0.75% inclusive of VAT!


If you’re thinking of selling or would just like to have an informal chat about any property related matter, then we’d be delighted to hear from you. 


Please call us on 01327 361664 or click on our CONTACT US page.

© David Cosby Chartered Surveyors 2020