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By Paul Halliwell

Executive Director, ViewMyChain


How technology can create more certainty amidst the chaos of chain breaks

The ripple effect of a property sale that falls through is, without exception, one of the most frustrating and disappointing events in the home-buying process: not just for buyers and vendors, but equally for estate agents who often lose out on the fair reward for long periods of hard work.

Quick Move Now's Q4-2023 'Fall Through Rate Survey' reveals that 35.1% of property sales in 2023 fell through. Some of these fall throughs were, as always, down to the buyer developing cold feet but a massive 38% of failed transactions on properties in chains were caused by breaks elsewhere in the chain with 17% of all fall throughs being down to the progress being too slow.

Fall-throughs are particularly challenging when property sales are down overall. In December 2023, UK residential transactions numbered 85,820, down 20% from December 2022 and 2% from November 2023, according to HMRC data.


With fewer sales, finding the next link in the chain becomes even more challenging. And while everyone is hoping for a better 2024, the Bank of England interest rate seems unlikely to drop this month from the current 5.25% mark. The knock-on impact on buyers and vendors will be inevitable: whilst some may decide to stay put, those who do go to market may be more wary and therefore pickier than usual, actively seeking out those agencies who are best able to reduce uncertainty throughout the journey.

Unsurprisingly, fewer opportunities and increased performance pressure from buyers and vendors are prompting many agencies to reconsider how they might make the most out of every opportunity: from improved internal processes to better customer service, it all goes up a notch. Often, with the help of technology.

It’s therefore not been a surprise to see the demand for proptech solutions like ViewMyChain increase significantly in recent months. Being able to reduce fall throughs between five and 10%, simply because estate agents can see a potential chain break before it happens and therefore implement measures to mitigate the impact on the chain, is an efficiency that can really only be achieved with the right tech.

It is often said that the player with the most data wins, and in times of uncertainty it’s perhaps never been truer. Estate agents who can provide more certainty with a detailed pitch in the prospect’s living room, simply because they have more insight into the chain, already start out with a competitive advantage. So do agents who are able to help their vendors make more informed recommendations based on the strength of the buyer’s position. When it comes to fall-throughs due to chain breaks, having a view of the full chain and effectively seeing the signs of a break in advance give an estate agent the much-needed extra time to find a replacement before the enthusiasm for the sale fizzles out on all fronts.

However, there is an invisible, slow-burning value delivered through better insight and therefore control of the chain. One that does not immediately translate into time saved and more deals closed, but that can dramatically impact the growth of an agency: customer goodwill. Or flipped upside down, brand reputation. Because difficult as it is to quantify, there is no mistaking that those agencies who can provide more certainty amid a stressful and muddied process, are the ones who will be recommended at dinner parties and school gates, again and again.

Alto customers are now able to access ViewMyChain as one of our integrations, providing chain data insight to help improve visibility and certainty at every stage of the sales progression journey


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