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What does No Onward Chain mean?

July 19, 2014 by Irini Sala

Recently, we looked at chain-free buying and what it means for homeowners. However, there is another term you might come across and not instantly recognise: no onward chain. If you're not familiar with the world of buying a property without a chain, these terms can add more confusion – especially when there isn't much readily available information.

Therefore, we've put this guide together looking at no onward chains and what they mean for your buying and selling experience in the UK property market. So read on and find out everything you need to know about no onward chains.

What does 'No Onward Chain' mean?

No onward chain, also known as "no upward chain" is when the vendor selling the house doesn't require the funds to move into a new home. While most chains consist of each seller relying on the sale of their property to move into another one, in the case of a no onward chain, the seller has no further commitments. They are essentially at the top of the chain, with no sale above them causing delays.

What type of sellers are classed as 'no onward chain'?

There are many reasons why a vendor doesn't depend on the sale of their home to move into another one. They may already have a property to move into, or they might decide to rent while they search for their next home. Other reasons include relocating for work or moving to another country. No matter the reason, buying from a no onward chain vendor can make the sales process more straightforward.

Will all chain-free house purchases have no onward chain?

In an ideal world, you will buy chain free from someone who is also selling chain free. Yet, it doesn't always work out in a way where everyone is chain free. You might purchase a home chain free but the vendor relies on the sale of their home to buy a new one.

Such a scenario means there would be a chain involved, even if you aren't dependent on it to sell your home. Therefore, it's possible to buy chain free yet from a selling perspective but still have an onward chain with your vendor. For a purchase or sale to be completely chain free, none of the people involved – whether buying or selling – should rely on the sale of their home to fund a move.

Can you buy a no onward chain house with a mortgage?

Buying a home as a cash buyer puts you in an advantageous position, and you become an attractive proposition to vendors. But you can still buy a property with no onward chain even if you need a mortgage.

As long as the seller doesn't depend on the sale to purchase their next move, then the purchase will be classed as "no onward chain", even if you need a mortgage. Of course, it's better to be a cash buyer; this means you can potentially get a discount as the vendor knows you don't need to go through the borrowing process.

How to be a cash buyer

Being a cash buyer means purchasing a home without a mortgage. For most people, that equates to having access to enough money to cover the house's value. One way of achieving this is through iBuying, which sees a company purchase your home from you directly. The result is a faster sale, which gives you the freedom to buy without a mortgage. It could also mean purchasing a new home with no onward chain.