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What Are Your Options If Your Property Chain Breaks Down?

10 February 2021

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Wait or Remarket? A Guide To Property Chain Decisions

100,000 property sales are expected to fall apart if the stamp duty holiday does expire on the 31st March, 2021, according to Rightmove analysis. Property expert, Phil Spencer, has raised concerns over the cliff-edge approach to the end of the tax break, predicting a ‘catastrophe’ if the industry grinds to a halt. Those who are already Sold STC but have not yet exchanged, will be wondering what their options are if their chain breaks down in the run-up to the deadline.

Which Part Of Your Chain Has Fallen Down?

If your property sale and purchase is already underway, and your agent alerts you to the fact there has been a break-down in the chain, then first determine who it is that has pulled out.

Vendor Pulling Out

If it is your vendor, then this can be incredibly upsetting if you’ve mentally already moved into their property. On the bright side though, your buyer is still committed to buying your home and you’re already sold, which puts you in an incredibly strong position when viewing new properties. You might be able to secure a great offer when a new vendor realises that you’re able to move quickly.

If you don’t find anywhere new to move to, then one option is to continue with your house sale and move into temporary accommodation such as a rental, or with family. Alternatively, you might pull out from the sale also and wait until you feel the time is right to try again.

Your Buyer Pulling Out

If it is your buyer that has decided not to proceed, then this can feel incredibly demotivating, particularly if you’ve been off the market for a while and have already spent money on expenses such as conveyancers and surveyors. Speak to your estate agent to gain an honest opinion about what went wrong, particularly if their decision was based on price or the results of a property survey.

Professional estate agents in Loughton explain that you can decide whether to remarket your property in the hope of finding a quick buyer, or whether to wait a few months. It is courteous to let your vendors know about your situation, as they will likely find out in the coming days anyway, but this does carry a risk. Some vendors may decide to wait for you to find another buyer, others may want to remarket their own property.

Buyer Further Down The Chain Pulls Out

If it is not your buyer, but one further towards the bottom of the chain that has pulled out, then you should gather some information from your agents. In particular, you’ll need to determine how many properties in the chain still wish to proceed if you can pull the chain back together. If the chain is just reliant on one new buyer being found, then although it’s a long shot, it might be possible to turn the situation around.

In some exceptional circumstances, some chains have had all parties reduce their asking prices slightly to make it easier for a new buyer to be found and for the sales to proceed. Remember also to find out why the buyer decided to pull out. If there is a problem with a property towards the beginning of your chain, then you may prefer to get out of this chain and remarket your home.  

We don’t know for certain if the stamp duty holiday will come to a dramatic halt at the end of March, or whether the chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce an extension or even a phased-out approach. Whilst this uncertainty still exists, it makes sense for those in property chains to do whatever it takes to complete their sales before the end of March, with a view to saving up to £15,000 in fees.

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