What is ‘gazumping’ and how do I avoid it?

If you’re looking for a new home, or are looking for your first home, then “gazumping” may be a term that you aren’t particularly familiar with. Essentially, gazumping is when you have had an offer accepted by a seller, and are in the midst of the buying process, when another buyer comes along and offers a higher price, effectively stealing (or gazumping) the sale.
Over the period between January 2016 and October 2018, analysis by TwentyCi found that 16% of buyers were gazumped. In the current property market, where demand for properties is high, gazumping continues to be prevalent, and the research found that Sheffield is the area with the highest level – with 35% of buyers out-bid at the last moment.

Phil Spencer, TV presenter and co-founder of Move iQ, said: “For anyone who thought gazumping vanished with the runaway price rises of a few years ago, our findings will come as a reality check.

“Gazumping is alive and well, and still causing heartache for tens of thousands of buyers across England and Wales.

“Britain’s fragmented property market is throwing up huge regional extremes. In hotspots where prices are still rising fast, sellers can be tempted to go back on their word to a buyer if they get a better offer elsewhere.

“Meanwhile, in slow markets, the lack of homes for sale can lead sellers to leave would-be buyers in the lurch if they get a last-minute offer from someone else.

If you want to avoid the spectre of being gazumped, then having all of your buying processes in place before making an offer will help. These involve having a mortgage in principle in place, a conveyancing solicitor and a surveyor in mind; all will help to avoid long periods of waiting which offer the opportunity to others to make a higher offer. When you make your offer on a property, you could also ask as a condition of the offer that the property be taken off the market immediately which will then protect you from other prospective offers.

Britain’s Gazumping Hotspots

Sheffield – 35%
Madistone – 32%
Cambridge – 28%
Birmingham – 26%
Manchester – 25%

Anna Corrigan

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