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The Benefits of Chain Free Home Buying

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What are the benefits of chain free home buying? When a property chain breaks, all of the sellers and buyers involved can feel its impact. Property sales can break down, and you may miss out on your dream home. Chains have long been accepted as part and parcel of buying or selling a home in the UK, but recent research into buying patterns revealed that the vast majority of recent deals have not involved a chain.

But what is it about this infamous chain that causes such a problem, and is it better to buy chain-free?

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What does it mean when a property is chain-free?

When you buy a home chain-free, you’re not reliant on other property purchases or sales going through. Either you don’t need to sell to buy, or the person you’re buying from doesn’t need to find a new home before they can sell. Or both.

Historically, most home sales in the UK have relied on a chain. There can often be up to four or five parties involved, with each sale needing to complete in order for everyone to complete their purchase. Just one deal falling through can impact the entire chain.

Why would a chain break?

There are many reasons why a chain might break. One of the buyers may hit a snag with financing, or perhaps a vendor decides they no longer want to sell their property. Whatever the reason, the implications can be far-reaching.

Recent research has estimated that around one in three property chains breaks in the UK. And for that reason, an increasing number of buyers (and sellers) are looking at ways to avoid them altogether.

Why would a property have no chain?

A chain-free property is sold by someone who doesn’t need to buy a new home before selling. It can also be a buyer who isn’t reliant on selling their home to purchase a new one. There are a few scenarios where you can buy or sell a home chain-free:

Buying from landlords

A buy-to-let landlord who has decided to sell their empty property is unlikely to form part of a chain. This is because they already have their primary home and the sale isn’t dependent on them buying another house. 

Or someone moving abroad

If the vendor is moving abroad, there’s no reason for them to go through the buying process for another home in the UK, meaning they would sell chain-free.

Purchasing a property sold on behalf of someone who has passed away

If you’re buying a house and the person selling is doing so on behalf of someone who has passed away, then it’s unlikely a chain will be involved. 

Buying a new builds

There’s no need for a chain when buying directly from the property developer. It’s one of the primary draws of buying a new-build home, along with the fact you’re purchasing a house that hasn’t previously been lived in.

Selling your home directly to a company

Selling directly to a company is still a relatively new concept here in the UK, but it’s more common in the United States and is known as ibuying. Because a company buys your house, there’s no need to rely on chains. However, there are some drawbacks to going down this route. Currently, there aren’t many options, and companies tend to devalue your house slightly. Still, it might be worth exploring if you want a quick sale. 

Is it better to buy a house with no chain?

Buying a house without a chain can be less stressful as you’re not relying on so many variables. There’s no need to agonise about the chain potentially breaking and the sale falling through. 

People are clearly more interested in purchasing a home chain-free, too. In 2021, 69% of homebuyers bought their house chain-free, with the figures rising to 73% this year. Sellers tend to prefer selling to chain-free buyers too, as it removes many of the complexities involved. 

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How long should a house sale with no chain take?

Even when you buy chain free, there are still aspects to consider, like solicitor checks and getting a mortgage (unless there’s a cash buyer involved). But the process can be significantly faster and, in some cases, take as little as 10 days. 

Given that the average time to sell a home is around three months, buying or selling without a chain can remove much of the hassle as you’re not waiting on other parties. In reality, expecting a sale in just 10 days might leave you disappointed. But you can certainly speed things up when there’s no chain involved. 

Breaking the chain

Your decision to buy a home should ultimately come down to the property itself rather than the seller’s chain status. But if you fall in love with a place where there’s no chain involved, it could speed up the sale and make remove one of the most stressful aspects of buying a home.


Last Updated: May 13th, 2022

Phil Spencer

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