What Does 'Property Chain' Mean?

26 May 2022

In this article we discuss the term ‘Chain’, and what it means when buying or selling in Scotland. 

 

What is a property chain?

 

A chain is the term used to describe the group of buyers and sellers linked by their property sales – each person is linked to the next by the property they are either selling or buying.

 

Usually, the chain begins with a first-time buyer or someone who does not have a property to sell, and ends with someone who is only selling their property, not purchasing another home.

 

Everyone in between these parties rely on those above and below them in the chain to ensure all transactions proceed smoothly. 

 

How many people can form a chain?

 

There are no hard and fast rules on how many home buyers and sellers can be in any one property chain. It can be as little as two parties, for example, a first-time buyer with nothing to sell is purchasing a property owned by a buy-to-let investor, who is not purchasing another property in its place.

 

Sometimes, it can be as many as six or eight parties, with each party linked to another until the ‘top’ of the chain is reached, where a person is only selling their property and not buying another. 

 

How does it work?

 

While in a property chain, each party’s solicitors will be working on their own sale or purchase transactions, with several people working to ensure that each transaction is aligned. 

 

All parties need to agree on a completion date, when all transactions will become final and legally binding, and everyone can move house.

 

What does chain-free mean?

 

If you see ‘chain-free’ or ‘no upward chain’ on a property listing, this means there are no other parties involved in the chain – it will just be you and the seller, and your buyer if you are selling a property. This is normally the case if the seller is purchasing a new-build property directly from the developer, or if the property is a former buy-to-let that the owner is selling. 

 

A chain-free purchase is generally the quickest and easiest type of transaction, with limited parties involved, meaning there are fewer potential hurdles for solicitors to navigate. 

 

How long does a sale take in a chain?

 

There are no rules for how long a property sale that’s part of a chain can take – it all depends on how many links there are in the chain, and how efficient every party’s solicitor estate agent is. 

 

In Scotland, property sales usually take on average six-eight weeks to complete, however, if there are multiple links in the chain, this could take longer. It is important to keep communication open with your solicitor estate agent to establish a timeline that suits all parties. 

 

Why do chains collapse?

 

With missives being concluded early in Scotland, it is rare that property chains fall apart completely. However, with multiple parties involved and lots of details involved, sometimes things can go wrong and property chains can collapse. 

 

If a property chain collapses, this can delay your sale, as one of the links may need to find a new property to purchase, or pull out altogether. Even though this cannot be avoided, the risks are reduced by using a reputable, experienced solicitor estate agent and by being as prompt, organised and efficient as you can – sign and send all paperwork when you are requested to do so, follow your solicitor estate agent’s advice and get your finances in place early.

 

 

2022

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2021

How the Scottish Housing Market has Changed Over the Last 50 Years 2021-12-27 Can I Get a Mortgage Without Permanent Residency? 2021-12-20 Property Conversion - Everything You Need to Know 2021-12-15 Asking Price - Everything You Need to Know 2021-12-06 Using a Home Report When Buying a Property 2021-11-29 What is Shared Ownership? 2021-11-24 What You Need To Know About Getting a Mortgage When You're Self-Employed 2021-11-19 So, What Is a Mortgage Agreement in Principle? 2021-11-08 Why You Should Use a Solicitor Estate Agent When Moving House 2021-11-03 Thinking of buying a listed property? Here's what you should know 2021-10-26 Everything You Need to Know About EPC Registers and Certificate Guides 2021-10-25 How much can I afford to borrow? 2021-10-20 Nine Steps to Selling Your Home 2021-10-18 Climbing the Property Ladder 2021-10-11 Fire Alarm Laws are Changing in Scotland 2021-09-27 Research You Should Conduct Before Buying a Property 2021-09-20 The LIFT Scheme and How You Can Use It To Buy a Home 2021-09-17 The Latest Scottish Government Guidance on Property Viewings 2021-09-10 NORMAL SERVICE BEING RESUMED IN A BUOYANT HOMES MARKET 2021-08-31 Should You Refurbish Your Property? 2021-08-18 Preparing Your Home for a Successful Sale 2021-08-13 Mortgage Interest Rates - What are they? 2021-08-09 Helping You Consider the Right Location for Your Next Move 2021-07-26 Tips For First Time Buyers To Help Get Them on the Property Ladder 2021-07-19 Scotland's First Home Fund is Closed, What Other Schemes Can Help First Time Buyers? 2021-07-12 Retirement Interest Only Mortgages - What You Need To Know 2021-07-07 How the UK Mortgage Market Has Changed Due to Coronavirus 2021-06-30 How To Boost Your Mortgage Deposit 2021-06-21 New Rules For Fire and Smoke Alarms in Homes Across Scotland 2021-06-17 Preparing To Put Your House on the Market in 5 Key Steps 2021-06-14 How Much Mortgage Can I Get For My Salary? 2021-06-09 How Long Does it Take to Buy Your First House or Flat? 2021-06-02 Is Your House Ready to be Sold?: House Selling Checklist 2021-05-31 What is a Mortgage Agreement in Principle? 2021-05-25 All You Need To Know About EPC Registers and Certificates 2021-05-19 Making the Most of House Viewings 2021-05-12 How the Coronavirus Pandemic has Changed the Priorities of Scottish Home Buyers 2021-05-05 Top Tips on Preparing to Buy a House 2021-04-26 What You Need To Know About Overpaying a Mortgage 2021-04-21 Advice on Buying a Property During the Covid-19 Pandemic 2021-04-14 How the UK Mortgage Market Has Changed Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic 2021-04-13 Scotland's First Home Fund: Applications Now Closed 2021-04-09 Scotland's First Home Fund 2021-04-07 Scottish Stamp Duty Holiday: How Did LBTT Change and When Did it End? 2021-04-06 Property Questions Answered 2021-04-02

2020

Tayside housing market back with a bang 2020-12-10 Digital Guide 2020-05-27

2019

The property market across Scotland - Quarter Two 2019 by SPC Scotland 2019-10-16 LORD PROVOST OPENS NEW-LOOK CENTRE 2019-09-17 The Dundee property market 2019-06-24 A 427 MILLION BOOST FOR THE HOMES MARKET 2019-01-21

2018

Budget Proposals to the ADS Rate 2018-12-18 BUYING OR SELLING GET THE FACTS 2018-08-24 BUYING INTO LIFE ON THE WATERFRONT 2018-08-23 As moving day looms dont panic just prep 2018-05-17 THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS FOR HOMEBUYERS 2018-04-03 HOME COMFORTS FEND OFF BEAST FROM THE EAST 2018-03-07 V&A DATE MILESTONE FOR THE WATERFRONT 2018-03-02 FLAT SALES EDGE TOWARDS £100 MILLION 2018-01-23 PROPERTY SALES PUSH TOWARDS THE £440 MILLION MARK 2018-01-08

2017

FESTIVE GREETINGS FROM ALL AT THE TSPC 2017-12-19 PUTTING DUNDEE ON THE MAP 2017-11-15 TIME TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE MARKET 2017-11-01 AUTUMN IS A GOOD SEASON FOR SELLING 2017-10-17 HIGH PROFILE OPTION FOR TOP PROPERTIES 2017-10-09 MARKETING YOUR PROPERTY TO THE MAX 2017-08-21 DO YOU LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEA? 2017-06-15 TIME LOOMING FOR A RE-MORTGAGE 2017-06-09 HAS THERE BEEN A BETTER TIME FOR A HOUSE SALE 2017-05-26 TIME TO PUT YOUR FLAT ON THE MARKET 2017-05-04

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