In our “10 Steps To Buying Your First Home” article, we briefly covered gazumping as the bane of homebuyers everywhere.
Shockingly still legal, though hopefully not for long, gazumping is the practice of underhandedly swooping in and making a better offer on a property to a seller. Even if the seller has already agreed to sell to someone else! This takes the rug out from under the buyer. It forces them to cancel their mortgage application. It means they go through the process of looking for a home all over again.
If you’re looking for a home in a particularly competitive area – near major transport links or schools with high Ofsted ratings for example – gazumping is likely to be a problem for you, particularly as those same properties don’t tend to come cheap!
The Government have shuffled their feet on changing this for many years. For now, at least, it’s up to you to try and muscle your way through. Here are some top tips for beating the gazumpers:
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Get a mortgage decision in principle
Ideally, you’ll want to have a mortgage decision in principle before you even start looking for homes. However, if you haven’t got one, get one. This confirms to the seller that you are able to borrow and that lenders will work with you, giving them greater confidence in your ability to buy the house.
To discourage gazumping, it’s good to appear serious about buying the house. When you agree to buy the house, you will probably not have everything sorted out, so make sure to get a surveyor in, pronto. You might also want to think about very quickly getting things like buildings insurance sorted out. This will make the seller see you as a serious buyer and discourage them from letting another buyer gazump you.
Find a conveyancer
A conveyancer, or property solicitor, can immediately start drawing up a contract with the seller, further discouraging gazumping. This is because it would mean having to redo a load of paperwork. It also shows once again that you’re serious about buying the house. If buying a home in Scotland you should already have a conveyancer involved before you make your offer, which should keep things smooth. Bear in mind, however, that gazumping is legal in all the countries of the United Kingdom.
Have a surveyor in mind
Before you’ve even made your offer you’ll want to have a surveyor lined up. You can find surveyors on the Yellow Pages website. Know how much you’ll need to pay for a survey and have that money available upfront. The quicker you can get a survey done, the less likely it is you’ll be gazumped.
Home buyer’s protection insurance is available to prospective home buyers to help cover their losses in the event of being gazumped. Bear in mind this will cost extra money on top of what you’re already paying. However, if you’re looking for a home in a very competitive market and want to be sure of getting the home you want, you might want to look into taking it out with a reputable company.
Get a lock-in agreement
You can have the seller sign a contract that ensures they do not negotiate selling to anyone else. As part of the terms of the contract you will probably have to put some money down, calculated as a small percentage of the property price. If the seller breaks the terms of this contract, the contract is voided and they lose their deposit. If you can spare the expense and get a legal professional involved to draw up the agreement, this can give you peace of mind to avoid gazumping.
Have the property taken off the market as a condition of your offer
If the seller is confident in your seriousness and happy with your offer, they might well agree to take the property off the market. A gazumper can’t gazump what they can’t see! Bear in mind, however, that this is still not a guarantee of getting the property.
Gazumping is the bane of the modern homebuyer. If you’re a first-time buyer it can be especially disheartening to find a place that’s right for you get swept up from under your feet. At Credibble, we want to make sure everyone gets to live in the home they want. That’s why our services can put you in touch with mortgage lenders so you can get the ball rolling quickly and efficiently.
Sign up today to get started on your homebuying journey. When you have a plan, you can beat the gazumpers!