When you finally find a home you like and the offer is accepted, it’s just a matter of waiting until you move in. However, the house purchasing process can be fraught with difficulty and often plans don’t proceed as expected. One of the worst pitfalls is the dreaded act of ‘gazumping’.
What is gazumping, and is it legal?
Unfortunately, it is legal and involves another person making a higher offer on the house you are in the process of purchasing. They then have that offer accepted. This offer means that you, the buyer, are eliminated from the process and you have to return to square one and begin the search for a new home.
Gazumping can occur at any point in the process before contracts have been exchanged. Usually the seller will want to maximise the amount of money they receive from the sale and will reject your offer. Timing can also be a problem for the seller, for example, if your survey is taking too long. The seller may decide to opt for the other buyer if they are in a position to move forward promptly.
If you’re on the move and you require a building survey, there are a range of professionals who can offer their services. A building survey will look for structural defects, unstable walls and evidence of subsidence and is an essential tool in the home-buying process.
What can I do to stop being gazumped?
Before you proceed with an offer on your ideal home, ensure you have your mortgage agreement in principle in place. You can also insure yourself against an unfortunate gazump by purchasing home buyer protection insurance. If the sale falls through due to the seller changing their mind, you may be able to claim for the conveyancing costs, survey fees and any other charges you may have incurred.
You can alternatively sell yourself and highlight all the positives that you can offer in the homebuying process. If you’re a first-time buyer and chain-free, this can work in your favour. You can also highlight your flexibility on moving dates as this will be seen as a bonus by the vendor. Some buyers like to make contact with the seller to express how passionate they are about the home for sale. This can be advantageous and make you a forerunner in the process.