What does 'Chain Free Buyer' mean when buying a property?
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Chain Free Buyer
Have you been asked if you are a chain free buyer or seen a property where the seller says they would ideally like a chain free buyer? What are they talking about?
In a nutshell a chain free buyer is someone who can buy a property without needing to sell one. This means all first time buyers are also chain free buyers.
They are seen as preferable to buyers who need to sell their current property because they can move faster (and Time Costs Deals).
Even a buyer whose own property is under offer can be more troublesome because there is plenty that could go wrong with their own sale and therefore grind their ability to buy to a halt.
The chain analogy is a way of picturing a set of transactions which are all interlinked. Ms A is selling to Mr B who is selling to Mr C ... is a property chain with two properties. Ms A is at the "top of the chain", Mr C is at the "bottom of the chain".
Until Mr C is ready to exchange contracts with Mr B, Mr B can't exchange contracts with Ms A. If Mr C decides not to buy from Mr B after all then Mr B can't buy from Ms A. This is referred to as a broken chain.
Chains can involve any number of transactions - the highest I have seen is 11 properties which means 12 different solicitors trying to get 12 pieces of paperwork into order. This takes much longer than a simple transaction involving one buyer and one seller.
In this case the 11 property chain took nearly a year to all go through. The chain broke at times, sometimes right in the middle when someone would decide not to sell (for work, family or whatever other reasons) so the person at the top of the broken chain would then have to go off and find a new property to buy.
This also meant the length of the chain constantly varied and different bits of the chain would be at different stages. Sometimes when one part of the chain announced they were ready it turned out other parts now had documents that were so old they were invalid and more delays were piled on.
But ... it did all go through!
If you want to learn more about handling chains in your property purchase pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.