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Press Article

Metro - 22 November 2013

Gazumping

By Jo Eccles

Unfortunately, a rising property market brings out the worst in people, and we’re certainly seeing that in London. With the rate of gazumping and lack of goodwill being the highest I’ve seen in many years, buying a property in London isn’t particularly pleasant right now.

Sellers have become more aggressive, and many are showing little hesitation about sneakily showing the property when it should be off the market, and then switching to another buyer who is willing to offer more, regardless of how close their existing buyer is to exchange, or the amount of fees their existing buyer has already paid towards the purchase. Even where the seller is honouring no viewings after the property has been agreed, we’re seeing many cases where someone who viewed the property previously has searched the rest of the market, realised there’s nothing else out there, and made an offer on the property which they previously turned down.

This has just happened to a client of ours where we agreed terms on a property, and someone who had already seen it offered £75,000 above the £1.475m we were paying. Luckily we convinced the seller to let us match the other offer, without being forced to go to sealed bids which would have resulted in both buyers having to pay even more. Equally, buyers are panicking about rising prices and are willing to throw silly figures around. We have seen numerous properties go to sealed bids where the winning bid is at least 10% above the asking price.

If you are buying a property, timing in this market is everything. The quicker you can get to exchange, the less time it gives another buy to gazump you – or for the seller to change their mind about the selling price. Therefore, you need to be organised and surround yourself with an excellent mortgage lender and solicitor. If you can afford a buying agent, that will help as they can manage expectations and fight your corner when needed.