Property chains are more likely to collapse in an uncertain market

Jon Horton

September 19, 2019

Jon Horton (pictured) is product director of mio

When property market conditions are uncertain, there is an increased risk of chains collapsing which can cause significant problems for consumers and property professionals.

For example, almost a third of all failed transactions are a result of a chain collapsing, according to research from Quick Move Now.

The property market has had to contend with uncertainty for a while now due to extended Brexit negotiations and political upheaval.

These conditions can cause consumers to lose confidence in the market, with many opting to delay moving until things are more certain.

The proroguing of Parliament and a potential general election in the next few months means this unsettled time looks set to continue during what is usually one of the busiest times of the year for the market.

It’s during times like these that both sides of the property transaction need to remain proactive in managing property chains in order to reduce risk. This is despite many factors ultimately being outside of their control.

Fall-throughs increase during uncertain times

When consumers are already feeling cautious due to uncertain conditions, the chances of them pulling out of transactions are heightened.

That’s why making sure consumers are educated on how sales progression works can help to improve confidence and protect transactions.

For example, it’s essential that buyers and sellers understand what a realistic transaction timeframe is for their area.

One of the biggest issues for the stability of chains is sellers basing their expectations on national averages or experiences of loved ones in different parts of the country.

This can have serious consequences as sales progression can vary wildly from region to region.

That’s why communication is so important. If consumers know to expect a delay, their expectations can be managed.

What’s more, ensuring that the solicitors have been informed of the sale before a property goes on the market means things can hit the ground running when an offer is accepted.

Communication can be complicated by long chains

Long property chains can make it harder to manage communication between all parties. And when consumers’ confidence is low, poor communication could increase the risk of chains collapsing and transactions falling through.

Poor record keeping and communication was the top cause of complaints made against estate agents in 2018, according to The Property Ombudsman (TPO).

It was also the most common cause for complaints made against agents for the three preceding years.

Detailing progress can often become a frustrating and repetitive game of Chinese whispers during a housing transaction.

This can lead to complaints, as well as increasing the risk of problems with long chains. Sometimes all the customer wants to hear is that something is happening even if it’s taking longer than anticipated.

Communication can be improved by embracing instant messaging via dedicated apps or WhatsApp. However, it is all about finding a balance as there will be times when phone and email correspondence is necessary.

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