Gazumping may sound like an exotic African mammal, but unfortunately its true meaning is not so romantic. Gazumping is the act of a property seller taking a higher offer for their property from an outside party despite already having agreed a sale with another buyer for a lower amount.

With property prices on the rise, this is an all too common occurrence unfortunately. The original eager buyer has all their belongings ready to go, have a buyer for their own property, planned local schools for the children and their journeys to work, forked up solicitor and mortgage fees then suddenly boom, unless they can up the price, they are left without a new home. Most upsetting.

There are of course ways to protect against gazumping, here are a few tips to avoid the worst:

  • Ask the seller to remove the property from estate agents’ websites and change the “For Sale” sign to “Sold” when a sale has been agreed and the legal process has started
  • Don’t drag your heels. Push your mortgage broker to get a survey conducted as quickly as possible and make sure he has the paperwork required from you.
  • Keep in regular contact with your solicitor. If you want something done, politely chase and ask for time frames for the next contact to be made and make a call that day. When monitored, a solicitor who you may not of used before will have no chance to drag their heels.
  • If your own property is up for sale, ensure that is running smoothly and your own buyer is on top of things
  • Don’t be too pernickety. If the fixtures and fittings list comes back without the shed you liked in the back garden, don’t spend a week to re-negotiate or haggle over price for the sake of a couple of hundred pounds. In a buyer’s market, haggle all you like but when prices are increasing, it’s unwise to upset the seller.

The above does not guarantee you won’t be gazumped, but with a show of commitment and speed on your part, it is less likely to happen. As soon as you have exchanged contracts, you can breathe a sigh of relief as a severe financial penalty is on the table if either party pulls out.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, please contact Homefinders for advice. With decades of experience and extensive local knowledge, we aim to offer the best service possible to see a successful sale whatever the market conditions.

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