Chain Free House Meaning When Buying?

When comes to looking for a property you will notice that the estate agent will advertise the property as a “no-chain purchase” or “no-onward chain”. In our guide, we will explain what actually means and what are the benefits of a chain-free purchase and what to do if you are not.

When comes to buying a property it is important to take into consideration all the factors that can impact your purchase and potentially cause delays in your buying process. One of these things is the property chain – what does chain free house mean and what are its advantages. 

In our experience, the main cause of frustration in buying or selling a property is the property chain. It arises when buyers and sellers are linked together by their property transactions. This means that each sale is dependable on the success of another property sale by a different vendor.

So, when we talk about chain-free houses meaning we are actually saying that the seller is not involved in a purchase chain. Therefore, the probability of the seller pulling out because of this is non-existent. 

As mentioned previously, if a person is involved in a property chain can face extra stress and issues. In the latest Which survey, 1 in 5 failed property sales in the UK was due to buyers being unable to sell their homes. 

During 2017, homeowners lost over £500 millions because of failed purchases – buyers usually lose a substantial amount of money from unrecovered conveyancing, valuations, and brokerage costs.

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As a first-time buyer, seeing the “no onward chain” or “chain free” on a property advertisement means that you will have one less thing to worry about. “Chain-free” means the property you want to buy is not dependable on the success of the sale or purchase of other property. 

All first-time buyers are chain-free buyers.

A chain-free buyer is the most appealing buyer to a seller as they would not have to deal with the hassle of the property chain. Purchasing a house is probably the biggest expense you will have on your personal life, so you need to have as much control as possible. A chain-free purchase provides you with extra peace of mind as the chances of falling through are smaller due to circumstances that are completely out of your control.

Are a couple of things you can do to attract or become a chain-free buyer.

If you are buying, look to buy a new house – there will be no upward chain and most developers these days accept part exchanges. Look for a chain-free property such as vacant possessions, make yourself a chain-free buyer by selling your current home and moving into rented accommodation while you search for a new property.

If you are selling, try to choose a chain-free buyer – a cash buyer or a first-time buyer. Target developers who can buy your home outright for cash; just keep in mind that you will be offered a lower price than market value.

Moving into a rental is a scenario in which many homeowners found it counter-intuitive. Also, unless you have the additional financials, achieving a chain-free status is most likely not a viable option. If this is the case, there are some measures you can take to ensure your property transaction runs smoothly.

Make sure you have a reputable agent by your side, you keep an open line of communication, you have appropriate funds available and you are organized with your paperwork.

On average, buying a house can take up to 9 months from the first listing to the purchaser moving in. Despite the steps of buying a house remaining the same, not being in a property chain reduces the delays as your purchase is not dependable on other transactions. 

It could take up to 4 weeks to complete the conveyancing process when buying a house with no chain. However, keep in mind this is just a statistical average and it is difficult to provide an exact length of time.

We hope that our guide on “Chain Free House Meaning” will be handy on your next house hunt and we can not stress enough how important is to get as much information as possible before you make an informed decision.


Written by Danil P.
26th Mar 2022 (Last updated on 13th April 2023)
5 minute read
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