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Property Chain Break: Buyer Pulling Out Of House Sale Before Exchange? - What Does This Mean?

A property chain means that homebuyers and sellers are linked together because their purchase or sale is dependent on another transaction.

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A chain can start with a first-time buyer, putting an offer on a house where the seller also needs to buy a property. It’s likely the current homeowner is relying on the sale of their property in order to finance their next one.

These buyers and sellers are linked together and if anything fails then the whole chain can fall apart. This can be very costly and is something all involved want to avoid, but it can sometimes be unforeseen. Reasons for a chain breaking:

• The buyer struggles to raise the finances needed or to get approval for the mortgage on the property.
• The seller struggles to find a property to move into once the sale goes through
• The buyer or seller is made redundant, breaks up with the partner they’re buying with or falls ill
• The survey done on the property reveals a problem that forces the deal to fall through
• Gazumping – a higher offer is made by another buyer, before contracts are exchanged, pushing the original buyer out of the purchase. Gazumping can also happen if it’s taking the buyer too long to get a survey completed on the property or their solicitor starts dragging their feet. Nothing becomes legally binding until contracts have been exchanged so if you really want a property then you need to act quickly to prevent breaking the chain
• Gazundering – when a buyer lowers their offer on a property just before contracts are exchanged. This could happen because the buyer knows the property has been taken off the market and the seller is also in a chain so they want to save some money. However, gazundering can also occur if the buyer finds out something about the property that could affect its value in years to come or other properties in the area reduce dramatically since they made their original offer.

Whenever you’re buying or selling a property always be aware of how many people are involved in the chain and the potential timescales for things. Make sure your legal team knows this information too so they can help you to avoid some of the possible chain break scenarios. It only takes one person in the chain to miss a call or forget to submit a document and the whole thing could be delayed or fall apart.

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When you’ve invested several months of time, energy and money into buying or selling your property, for the chain to break can be devastating.

Luckily, we have lots of experience in helping chain break sellers to get cash for their property in a timescale to suit them. It’s a really simple process with no fear of further chain breaks. So – if you’ve simply had enough of trying to sell your property on the open market and want to see how we can help with a fast house sale, get in touch for a quote.

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the last 2 years


Of our own money spent buying
property for cash

2-3 weeks

Average time taken from initial offer
to completion