Chains – patience is a virtue

Q: I’ve agreed a purchase but I’m waiting for my seller to find somewhere else to buy, how long should I wait around?

A: Chains are quite common and they occur when your seller needs to find an onward purchase, while also tying in the sale of their current home.

In terms of how long you should wait for the seller to move on, this can be a case of ‘how long is a piece of string’. For example, your seller may find a property to buy, but his seller also needs to find a property. The chain gets longer and longer, with more solicitors, mortgage brokers, surveyors and so on all playing their different parts. I’ve managed many chains over the years – the longest was 11 buyers and sellers in total! It requires meticulous overseeing of every sale and purchase in the chain and good communication between all parties. So, if you do get caught in this scenario, I would suggest bearing this in mind when your buying process eventually gets under way and once your seller does find somewhere.

If you are prepared to wait around for your seller, I would recommend you stay in close contact with the estate agent to receive regular updates on the seller’s progress. I am managing a chain at the moment and we get an update every Monday on how many viewings the seller undertook and any offers they’ve made.

However, being in a chain can be quite a delicate situation. You want to maintain a good enough relationship with the seller and show some understanding, but equally it’s possible to get to a point where you’ve waited for long enough and you make an ultimatum to the seller; either he can go into rented accommodation and not tie the sale into a chain, or refuse to be pressured and you move on. If you’re going to go down that route, you might want to find a replacement property before you start making demands.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.