What Does No Onward Chain Mean When Buying or Selling Property?
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What Does No Onward Chain Mean When Buying or Selling Property?

If you’re buying or selling a property, you may have come across the term ‘no onward chain’. But what does it mean if a property has no onward chain? And what are the benefits of buying a property with no chain? Our guide explains all.

What is a Property Chain?

Most property sales in the UK will be part of a chain. When a property is part of a chain it means that the sale of a property is reliant on another sale being completed. So, the owner of house A will use the proceeds of their sale to buy house B. The owner of house B will then use the proceeds of their sale to buy house C, and so on until there is a property sale with no onward chain. If any of these sales in the chain falls through, the chain will break, and no one will be able to complete their sale.

What Does No Onward Chain Mean?

When there is no onward chain, it means that the person selling the property isn’t purchasing another property with the funds from the sale. So, the property is ready to be sold straight away as the seller does not have to wait to find another place to move into before they can sell.

What Are Some Examples of No Onward Chain Property?

There are many reasons why a property might have no onward chain, including:

  • The property is inherited
  • The property was rented to tenants
  • The seller is moving to rented accommodation
  • The seller is moving to another property that has already been bought

What’s the Difference Between No Onward Chain and No Chain?

When a property has no onward chain, the chain will end with that sale. When the buyer is chain-free, it means that they are not purchasing the new property with proceeds from the sale of their home – so first-time buyers will have no chain, as they are not reliant on a property sale going through to be able to buy their first home.

When a buyer has no chain, their purchase will sometimes be the beginning of a property chain, whereas no onward chain will be the end of a property chain.

Can Sales with No Onward Chain Still Fall Through?

Yes – even sales with no onward chain can still fail. No sale is 100% secure until Completion Day has finished. Some of the reasons why sales with no onward chain could fail are:

  • The sales process is delayed by the conveyancer, buyer, or seller, and one party gets frustrated and leaves the sale
  • The buyer can’t secure a mortgage
  • The buyer or the seller change their mind
  • One of the preceding sales in the chain falls through
  • The survey highlights structural issues with the property
  • Gazundering, when the buyer reduces their offer last minute and causes the seller to refuse the offer and put the house back on the open market

What Are the Benefits of Having No Onward Chain?

For a buyer, a sale with no onward chain can usually be completed quicker and with less risk than sales that are part of onward chains. For first-time buyers or other buyers that are not reliant on a sale going through to make their purchase, buying a property with no onward chain can take as little as four weeks.

For a seller with no onward chain, their property will be more attractive to potential buyers who do not want the risk or time delays that can come with being part of a chain.


If you’re looking to sell your house fast, whether you’re part of a property chain or not, SOLD.CO.UK can sell your home in as little as 30 days. We can sell faster than any estate agent in the UK, with a fully managed service. We’ll even cover your legal costs. Contact us today to speak to our property experts about how we can help.

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