A #4.5 million property chain of fine homes in upmarket Sutton Coldfield hung in the balance this month, dependent on one last hurdle - a Feng Shui survey.
 
The involved buyers and sellers held their breath to await the verdict of a Feng Shui specialist who travelled from Edinburgh to examine and assess the #1.3 million property at the middle of the valuable chain.
 
The date and the time of the visit were meticulously arranged to comply with Feng Shui requirements.
 
And a clean bill of health for the one house was crucial to the progress of four property transactions - two worth over #1 million and two just under.
 
The verdict was favourable and contracts were exchanged on all four house sales, each of them involving local independent agency Quantrills.
 
"It is one of the highest totals of linked properties in several years," said Michael Quantrill, who had taken centre stage in the negotiation period.
 
"The other people in the chain were aware of what was happening as we had to keep them informed at every stage, advising them of any hold-ups.
 
"They were not particularly calm about it as it complicated matters one step further."
 
Quantrills did their best to soothe the nerves of the anxious players. "We gave them confidence that it would all go ahead."
 
The simple part was agreement by all parties on another specific date - the exact day in early September for completion, judged under Feng Shui to be the most propitious for the house move.
 
The erection of a for sale sign was also planned carefully.
 
"We even had to make sure that the sale board went up at the right time on the right day, said Michael Quantrill.
 
The agency reports that the same buyer, "a highly qualified professional person", had previously rejected two other houses after they failed to pass the Feng Shui "tests".
 
On both those occasions a Feng Shui master practititioner had travelled from Hong Kong to complete the specialist surveys.
 
It was all a new and enlightening experience for Quantrills. "It is not something one hears of everyday -though I believe there is more of it in London," added Mr Quantrill.
 
"It certainly makes life interesting."
 
Quantrills remain tight-lipped over the identity of the buyers and properties involved. All the houses were traditional, however, and the one that fit the Feng Shui bill was described as a " gentleman's residence".
 
June and July have proved fortuitous for Quantrills generally. Demand for upmarket property has continued strongly with a good number of sales achieved, despite the general slow-down.
 
Of the four house sales dependent on the Feng Shui survey, three had been marketed only on a low-profile basis, without even a sale board.
 
All achieved a final price close to the original guides. "This just proves the strength of the market in this upper range," said Mr Quantrill. n The property chain remains a firm fixture in the English housing market. These sometimes long line-ups of inter-related property purchases are all dependent on individual negotiation and paperwork over which other, dependent parties have no control. And in a market that has shown such huge value rises over the last five years, chains are a feature across the price bands. "One can see chains now at all levels," said Michael Quantrill.