Is Gazumping back on the rise

Your offer has been accepted on your dream home, the solicitor has been instructed and you’ve already started scouring the internet for design inspiration and furniture ideas when, like a bolt out of the blue, your solicitor calls you to say the seller has had a better offer and they won’t be selling to you. Welcome to the world of gazumping and if you thought gazumping had vanished into thin air then the bad news is that it’s back due to a combination of price rises, low property stock in some areas and a competitive housing market.

Gazumping in a nutshell is when the person selling their house to you gets a better offer from someone else and decides to sell to them instead. In Scotland it’s illegal so once an offer is accepted the seller cannot back out but in England and Wales the practice is completely legal, just not necessarily moral or very fair. Until contracts are exchanged, legally binding the transaction, the seller can pretty much pull out at any time regardless of what stage the conveyancing is at.   You will have to pay for any work your solicitor has carried out plus any searches that have been done on the property.  The heartbreak of losing your dream home can also be an expensive one.

The Herts Advertiser recently reported that Luton has been named as a gazumping hotspot with 11% of buyers being gazumped during the period January 2016 to October 2018. Whilst you can’t guard against the risk there are some things you can do to avoid being gazumped. Ask your solicitor to proceed as quickly as they humanly can but accept that there are some things your solicitor won’t have any control over – the results of searches for example. Ask the seller to take the property off the market – if no one else sees it they won’t want to buy it.  Make sure your finance is in place and try to establish rapport with the seller – give them a good impression, emphasise that you are serious about buying their property and are keen for the process to run smoothly and quickly.  The seller may be less inclined to start the whole process again, even if they get a better offer, as they won’t want to run the risk of that buyer pulling out leaving them high and dry.

And what if the shoe is on the other foot and you plan to be the gazumper and not the gazumped. Whilst you may be regarded with disdain, making a higher offer on a property where an offer has already been accepted is not illegal and it may be your only option if you have your heart set on a particular property.

Whatever position you find yourself in Pictons property department can assist with all property transactions. Call us on 0800 302 9448 for a same day no obligation quote on the sale or purchase of a property.