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Tips for Estate Agents to Avoid Property Chain Problems

Property chain problems can be frustrating and costly for buyers and sellers, but they’re also a challenge for estate agents. A broken house chain can result in lost sales and commission — not to mention unhappy clients. What can you do to avoid these problems and ensure your client’s property transactions progress smoothly?

Our team of property experts at HBB Solutions have put together some top tips for estate agents to help them avoid house chain problems and achieve career success.

How Common Are Property Chain Problems?

One in five house sales in the UK falls through because a buyer cannot sell their current home, according to research by Which?. Failed sales are stressful and expensive for buyers, who typically lose a considerable amount of money in unrecovered conveyancing and survey fees. The average conveyancing costs for buying a house in the UK is £3,723. However, as the value of a property increases, so too does the cost of conveyancing and associated fees.

Likewise, the estate agents involved lose a sale and their associated commission.

The majority of house sales in the UK involve a property chain on at least one side — transactions solely involving cash or first-time buyers and no chain are in the minority. Successful estate agents are proactive in identifying potential issues and addressing them — ensuring the best result for their client and their career.

Top Tips for Avoiding Property Chain Problems

Keep Communicating. Take the time to develop a positive working relationship with your clients and keep the channels of communication open. If a client keeps their estate agent updated on the progress of their property negotiations and transactions, the agent can foresee potential problems and take preventative action.

One of the most common reasons a property chain breaks is that a buyer fails to secure the mortgage they need. A recent study found 11.5% of house sales fail for this reason. The best estate agents work hard to develop a strong network of contacts throughout their careers. They may be able to refer a client to a mortgage lender who is better placed to help them or there may be alternative finance options the buyer is unaware of.

Partner with a Part-Exchange Provider. Part-exchange or “PX” allows homeowners who are purchasing a new build to avoid the pitfalls of property chains. Via a PX scheme, your client can secure a guaranteed sale that will complete much faster than a sale on the open market. Many homeowners are unaware of PX, lack a good understanding of how it works or have a sense of mistrust about such schemes.

If your client is purchasing an older property, a “chain repair” scheme can provide similar benefits.

By partnering with an expert part-exchange scheme provider such as HBB Solutions, you can utilise PX for chain repair or trade-downs to avoid losing multiple sales if problems arise. Encouraging clients to consider PX from the get-go could see them (and you) prevent property chain problems altogether.

Become a Pro-Negotiator. There may be many reasons why a buyer could get cold feet or a seller waivers. For example, a survey revealing major problems with a property that will cost the buyer a significant amount of time and money could result in a failed sale.

However, a lost sale need not be the inevitable result of such problems. A skilled estate agent may be able to re-negotiate the sale price — saving the deal and allowing the other sales in the chain to progress. The buyer and seller are too heavily invested in the transaction to be objective. An estate agent has an important role as mediator to fulfil.

Find a Reliable Cash Buying Service. If your client is stuck in a property chain and cannot sell their home — putting them at risk of losing their dream home — a guaranteed purchase could be the ideal solution.

The team of experts at HBB Solutions can give a fair market value offer within 24-hours of valuation. A cash buying service is the fastest way to sell a property and can eliminate any unnecessary links in the property chain. We have the funds to buy any property in any condition or location within England and Wales.

Contact us for a free consultation and complete an Offer Request Form on behalf of your client and we’ll do the rest. We agree to a period of exclusivity that grants the referring estate agent the opportunity to sell the property (and secure their commission).

Encourage Your Client to Consider Their Options. If a client’s circumstances change or they simply have a change of heart, encourage them to consider compromises and alternative options that could keep the deal on the table.

The majority of house sales fail because one party changes their mind about the sale. Take the time to empathise with any concerns and encourage your client to address these logically — if need be, playing the role of mediator between the buyer and seller. The change of heart could be due to misunderstood or missing information, or it could be that with a little flexibility from the seller regarding the completion of repairs or the moving dates agreed, the sale can go ahead.

There may be options a client has not considered because they lack your professional expertise and distance from the situation. For example, your client may not have considered moving into rented accommodation short-term to avoid losing their buyer. If your agency manages both sales and lettings, you can help the client to find suitable temporary accommodation and manage their purchase of a new property when the time comes.

Successful estate agents utilise a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise to help their clients navigate the process of buying and selling houses successfully. Communicating, remaining objective and mediating between parties can help you and your clients avoid and manage property chain problems as they arise. By partnering with a provider of part-exchange schemes, you will always have an option to offer that could save the sale and prevent the house chain collapsing like a row of dominoes.

HBB Solutions is a team of property experts who specialise in purchasing properties to recover and complete housing chains and fund part exchange schemes. Contact us to find out how we can help you and your clients by booking a no-obligation consultation with one of our team.