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What Is Gazumping And Gazundering And How Can You Avoid It?

The new year brings with it a new energy to the housing market, and estate agents will be ready to take an influx of enquiries and hit the ground running after people spend some quality time at the end of the previous year taking stock.

This leads to a lot of movement in the market, a lot of new houses with “for sale” signs and a lot of buyers ready to enter the market themselves, often as both buyers and sellers in a property chain.

However, whilst most sales are either straightforward or fall through during the conveyancing process for various reasons, a particularly unpleasant pair of situations that buyers and sellers sometimes face is the twinned phenomena of gazumping and gazundering.

Gazumping has been more common in recent years and is the situation where, after an offer has been accepted but before the contracts have been exchanged, a seller will choose an alternate buyer.

This is almost always because of a higher offer, but in some cases, it can be a way to avoid complex property chains and other delays.

Gazundering, by contrast, is when a buyer lowers their offer, usually to avoid the expense, hardship and delays of the deal falling through entirely.

Both involved altering the initial deal and are both, unfortunately, very legal, even if they are also absolutely unethical.

Many estate agents discourage the practice and will help buyers and sellers work through any issues they can, but they are also obliged to provide a seller with any offer they receive.

The best way agents can help is by ensuring the process moves as quickly as possible to the contract exchange stage. This often means encouraging brisk filling out of paperwork and getting agreements in principle to keep the sale moving quickly, as well as responding to any requests.

As well as this, buyer protection exists specifically so buyers avoid losing out on the expenses and costs they accrued as part of the buying process after being gazumped.