Is gazumping still a problem for house buyers?

Gazumping – it sounds like something that should have gone out of fashion in the 1980s, sadly it remains a very real problem in the housing market.

Buying and selling a home is stressful enough without the risk of outside interference, or more specifically, someone upsetting your plans by swooping in and taking your ideal home from under your nose.

Gazumping is the term that is used when you have had an offer on a house agreed but, before you are able to exchange contracts, another buyer makes a higher offer that is accepted by the seller leaving you empty handed and quite possibly out of pocket.

Act fast

Morally questionable, gazumping is, however, legal. Estate agents are bound by law to pass on all offers to sellers before contracts are exchanged despite the upheaval involved for the gazumped party.

The main problem is that until contracts have been exchanged the deal is not legally enforceable. This is seen in the estate agents adverts stamped over with Sold STC (subject to contract).

The best way to protect against gazumping is to move quickly and be organised.

The first step to take is to ask the estate agent to take the property off the market when a price has been agreed – this should stop it being promoted to any other potential buyers, although it does not stop people making offers if they are aware the house is being sold.

Find a good conveyancing solicitor

With that done get the process moving as quickly as possible by making sure your mortgage is in place and that you have engaged a good conveyancing solicitor to deal with the legalities of the move as quickly as possible.

If you are selling a house and buying as part of a chain you may be caught up by delays that are beyond your control, but try to do all you can to smooth the sale of your present home.

While much of the process is out of your hands once the wheels have been set in motion continue to monitor the situation and chase up any areas where you experience delays.

Seeking the help of an experienced residential conveyancing solicitor will help to take some of the stress away from moving house giving you peace of mind that all the related legal issues are being dealt with as swiftly as possible. Gazumping is an unfortunate situation to be in so it’s important to understand the facts and to protect you and your family as much as possible.

If you are buying a house and need legal advice contact Anthony Stockton solicitors today.