Your comments help us improve our websiteSend your feedback
Watch out for gazumpers and gazunderers!
If you haven’t heard these words before, you may be wondering what on earth they mean, as they do sound quite ridiculous!
Well, the reality is that some people may scupper your chances of completing your house purchase or sale at the last minute just when you think it’s in the bag. This can be hugely stressful and even mean you lose cash in the process. But, we’re here to clue you up so you’re fully prepared for this sneaky behaviour.
Losing the sale at the last minute
In the UK, having an offer accepted on a property does not mean it’s yours – you don’t become the legal owner until completion. This means the seller has the right to pull out even if the buyer has spent money on house surveys and legal fees.
This is where gazumpers and gazunderers can cause real issues.
People who gazump you take advantage of the above rules to swipe the home right from under your nose. They do this by putting in a higher offer than you at the last minute, before the contracts are exchanged, even if you’re close to finalising the deal.
This is difficult as the seller may choose to accept a higher offer if it means they get more money for their home. But, at the same time, you may have already paid for house surveys on the property and have costly solicitor fees to consider. If the seller decides to go with the new offer, you lose this money. And if you are in the process of selling your home, this could be held up as you look for a new property.
To try to minimise the risk of this happening, you could sign an exclusivity agreement with the seller. Otherwise, you could ask that the seller takes down their ‘for sale’ sign and removes the property from any online listings once your offer is accepted – although this isn’t guaranteed to stop you being gazumped.
This can be really problematic, as it affects the entire chain of buyers and sellers. Here, the buyer lowers their offer by quite a lot right at the last minute. As the person selling is probably in a chain where they are waiting to get the contracts for their new home, rejecting the buyer’s new offer means their home purchase would collapse too.
Not only will this affect you, but it can have a domino effect and cause every deal in the chain to fall through. If you refuse the offer – which you’re legally allowed to do – you can lose precious time and money if you have paid for house surveys or legal fees for your new home.
You can try and avoid this by putting your home on the market at the asking price, and being open and truthful about any faults or issues it may have. This reduces the chance someone will try and lower the price at a later stage.
We’re not done with the outlandish words just yet! This issue can be equally frustrating, but it may be down to the seller reconsidering.
Gazanging is where the seller pulls their home off the market while you’re in the middle of buying it. They may do this as they think they’ll be able to get more money by waiting and then putting their home back on the market further down the line – especially if property prices in the area are going up. Or, they may have simply decided they don’t want to move house any more.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to plan for this happening. But you could consider taking out insurance to protect you against this.
Consider Buyers Protection Insurance
If you want to protect yourself from losing cash in the event of a gazump, gazunder or gazang, Buyers Protection Insurance could be a smart investment.
Although it won’t get you your time back or secure you the property, it minimises the financial impact. House surveys and solicitors fees can cost thousands of pounds, and having a buyer or seller pull out after you’ve paid them can be really distressing if there’s no chance you’ll get this money back. However, Buyers Protection Insurance can cover these costs.
You can find out more about this insurance in our blog here.