You may feel that you are ready to start shopping for furniture after your offer has been accepted by the seller. We examine the dangers of gazumping and what you can do to avoid them.
You may believe that it is only a matter time until you move in to a property you find. The house-buying process can be difficult and lengthy with many opportunities for mistakes. The dreaded act known as ‘gazumping’ is one of the most dangerous.
Gazumping, not to be confused by gazundering, is when someone else makes a better offer on the house that you are considering buying. This can push you out of the sale, causing you to go back to the beginning again and start your search for the perfect home.
This could happen even before you have exchanged contracts. Most likely, the seller is trying to maximize the sale price of the property by making a higher offer. Sometimes timing can be a problem. For example, if it takes too long to get a survey done or your solicitor drags their feet, the seller might reject your offer and accept one from someone who is more in a position to move quickly.
Gazumping is a concern, according to MFS 2019 research, 31% of UK homeowners lost their homes due to being gazumped over the past decade.
It is, unfortunately. Although your offer may be accepted, it is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged. Many properties are listed on property websites as “Sold STC”, which indicates that an offer has been accepted, but that the sale is still subject to contract exchanges.
The exchanging of contracts is a late step in the sale process. After the buyer has paid for surveys and arranged a mortgage, the conveyancer for local searches, and spent money on the conveyancer, buyers can often be seriously out of pocket if the gazumping happens too late.
You can’t stop a buyer from making a higher offer than yours. You can protect yourself from this by purchasing home buyer protection insurance. You can claim back any conveyancing fees, survey fees or other costs that you have paid if the sale is canceled.
Before you place an offer on a house, ensure that you have a mortgage agreement, a solicitor, and all necessary documentation. If you are not prepared, these are the kinds of things that could cause delays.
It’s also important to get the process moving as quickly as possible. The agreement becomes legally binding once contracts have been exchanged. You want to get there as soon as possible. To keep pressure on your case and ensure that it doesn’t slip by the wayside and to respond to any information requests quickly, you should contact your conveyancing solicitor and mortgage broker.
Request that the property be removed from the market
Although sellers may not be keen to make this offer, it is worth asking. There’s less chance that the property will be sold if it isn’t being advertised. You may also risk being overlooked. To show your commitment, you will have greater success if you offer to trade something. A survey should be completed as soon as possible after an offer has been accepted.
Learn more about the sellers
You will have a lower chance of the seller rejecting your offer if you are able to get along with them. Keep the seller informed about where you are at this point in the process, so that they can see you are actively trying to move things forward.
Although solicitors and agents tend to prefer not to have clients contact each other, there is nothing stopping you from exchanging emails addresses or sending thank you cards.
A “lock out agreement” is a good idea.
The lock out agreement is basically a contract between the buyer and seller that gives the buyer the exclusive right to purchase the property for a specified period. Although the seller must agree to this, it can be a way to show that you are serious about wanting the property. It will also appeal to sellers who have had to sell before or want to move quickly. Talk to your conveyancing lawyer about the costs involved and what the agreement will cost.
Avoid estate agent tricks
Unscrupulous agents may make a last-minute offer that is higher than you are willing to accept. Ask for proof in writing if the agent brings you a better offer. Don’t panic if the agent makes a genuine offer. You should know what your maximum price is before you start your property search. Even if an agent is trying to get you to panic, it is important to stick with this number. What to do if an estate agent makes a higher offer?
If you have done all you can to avoid being gazumped but still receive a higher offer, you should review your finances and see if you could gazump your gazumper by accepting a lower counter offer. Be careful not to put yourself in financial danger by rushing to make ends meet. Be careful, you might get gazumped again.
If this is not an option, you have one choice: sell yourself. You should highlight everything that is in your favor, from the fact that you are a first-time buyer without any chain to the flexibility you have regarding moving dates. You can write, email, or call the seller to tell them how much you love the property and why you want to make it your family home.