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    One in three property chains fall apart. This can happen for numerous reasons, from one party not having their finances in order, to an unpleasant surprise in the survey.

    Under present British house-buying and selling practice, little can be done to alter the process, although the Government has introduced legislation that will require home owners or their selling agents to provide a Home Information Pack (sellers pack or HIP) to prospective buyers on request.

    The best way to ensure a chain progresses smoothly is through good communication.  Stay in regular contact with your conveyancer and estate agent to make sure everything possible is being done to speed things along.  It can also help to stay flexible. Be prepared to move in with your family or rent as a short-term measure if it means you can keep the chain going.


    Gazumping – outbidding rivals at the last minute – is a horror estate agents are powerless to stop (even if they wanted to!). Under the Estate Agency Act, estate agents are obliged to pass on all offers they receive, although a determined buyer will probably go straight to the vendor.  There’s little you can do to repel a determined bidder, but there are ways to lessen the chance of it happening, or at least reduce the impact if it does:

    • Offer the full asking price and request that the property is removed from the market as soon as your offer is accepted.
    • Be flexible with the vendor and don’t quibble over minor points.
    • Make it clear you’re willing to complete on their timescale, not yours.
    • Be nice to the vendor – if you’ve established some kind of relationship with them, it should be harder for them to let you down.
    • Take out insurance – you must do this before you instruct your solicitor, and then if you’re gazumped, you can be refunded the cost of your various fees.

    BBC Website 7.1.10