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A property chain relates to a series of buyers and sellers linked together because each is buying and/or selling a property from one of the others in the chain.

Each property in a chain will usually have an estate agent, a conveyancer/solicitor, a mortgage lender and perhaps a surveyor associated with it. If a property chain becomes significantly extended, with multiple properties involved, there could quite easily be dozens of people indirectly connected in the chain. 

If anyone in the chain inexplicably delays any documentation, mislays paperwork, misses a phone call, or deletes an email, the whole chain could be unavoidably delayed. 

Whose job is it to manage the property chain?

In an ideal world, it is the job of the estate agent and the other professionals to maintain regular communication to ensure the processes and procedures occur in a timely fashion.

Some estate agents have dedicated sales-progression teams who are employed to keep on top of all aspects of the sale and ensure things keep moving forward. Some agents however are not great at managing the process, and it may become necessary to intervene to keep things on track. 

Do not be afraid to step in to maintain progress. Ask your estate agent and conveyancer whether you can help to chase anyone who is holding things up. If you’re unable to contact others in the chain yourself, ask who will call them and when they will provide an update. As well as chasing others, responding promptly to questions and tasks yourself will also help.

Ensuring communication links remain open and active between all parties is essential to a successful completion.

Estate agents

High Street-based estate agents’ fees are paid on completion of a successful property sale. It is therefore in the interest of the estate agent to manage and keep-on-top of all parties in the property chain. The ability to walk into an estate agent’s office for a one-to-one discussion or to deliver some important documents to a conveyancer directly should not be underestimated.

It is also worth bearing in mind however that the new breed of online estate agents while offering the possibility of financial incentives, do sometimes require an upfront fee to market and sell a property. The ability to communicate with all connected parties can occasionally be hindered if an online agent is involved in the chain. Online agents can, in some instances, be less inclined to progress and pursue issues in the chain in the knowledge that their fee has already been paid.

A lengthy chain?

Your conveyancer can only speak to the parties on either side of them.  If the chain is lengthy then it falls on the estate agent to be aware of and chase the entire chain.  If this service is not part of the deal you or your seller have done with your estate agent (for example, as with many online estate agents at the moment), then you will be unlikely to have visibility of what is happening further down the chain, and it could be that link in the chain which is causing delays and all of the additional stress and frustration in getting your move completed.

Experience and trust

Engaging with an experienced, knowledgeable estate agent and a professional, trustworthy conveyancer will be invaluable in ensuring the immediate property chain is proactively progressed and managed until completion.

Whether you are buying a first home, moving to a new house or purchasing an investment property, having a proactive and professional team on your side can make a worthwhile impact. Valentine & Co will ensure that all transactions, documents and processes are checked and agreed in good time to ensure the chain progresses as smoothly as possible.


For more information or advice on the topics above, please don’t hesitate to contact us