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Property Wisdom – Work on the Chain Gang

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A property chain is only as strong as its weakest link – the more links, the higher your risk, says property expert Laura Henderson.

They say that moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, but being stuck in an immoveable chain comes a close second. Hold-ups occur for any number of reasons: incomplete paperwork, difficulties securing a loan, or a buyer pulling out on the strength of a survey. So what steps can be taken to avoid snarl-ups and stop a sale unravelling?

Vet the contestants
Serious buyers will have someone lined up to purchase their place, a mortgage offer agreed in principle and a solicitor waiting in the wings – so sound them out with a few politely-detailed questions. If a buyer is coy about their personal or financial circumstances, get your agent to probe further.

Serve a notice to complete
If you’ve exchanged contracts but your buyer is dithering, a notice will set a deadline for the other side to have everything signed off within ten days. Failure to do so means they run the risk of losing their deposit.

Break the chain
The fewer parties there are in the chain, the less likely it is for the deal to flounder, so consider moving into temporary accommodation or even renting. A short-term let could actually save you cash – the increased buying power you get often more than offsets the cost of renting.

Drop the price
If the sticking point is money, speak to your agent and see if you can reach a compromise by accepting a little less for your property by negotiating down the chain. If everyone drops their price by 5%, it can hold the deal together.

 
Laura Henderson is a property columnist, author and investment expert. Her latest book Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom is out now on Amazon.

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