What happens if you’re gazumped, gazundered or gazanged

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Property transactions don’t always go strictly according to plan, and these three words can all spell problems for house buyers and sellers.



This can happen when you’re buying a property and can occur at any time up until you exchange contracts. It involves the seller pulling out because they’ve received a better offer from another buyer. It can be very disheartening, especially if you have instructed your solicitor and the paperwork and searches are underway. You’re likely to end up out of pocket.

Sadly, gazumping is legal as the seller is under no obligation to sell the property to you until contracts have been signed and exchanged.


This can happen when you’re selling a property. Here, your purchaser decides to drop their offer just before you’re due to exchange contracts. This means you are faced with accepting their reduced offer or allowing the sale to fall through. Either way, this can be a costly decision.

If this happens, as your solicitor, we’d act on your behalf to see if we can negotiate a counter offer with the purchaser.


When this happens, it basically means that the seller leaves the buyer in limbo. With the property market experiencing a slowdown, it’s not uncommon for sellers to get cold feet and decide, despite indicating that they’ll accept your offer, to pull their property off the market before you reach the exchange of contracts stage. If this happens, you’re back to square one, and you may have already incurred costs too.

One of the ways to reduce the likelihood of this happening is for buyers to insist that a property is taken off the market when the seller accepts their offer.  However, if a seller decides not to sell for personal reasons there’s little that can be done to stop this happening.

Government proposals

Late last year, the government pledged itself to making home buying and selling quicker, acknowledging that delays and complications in the process often cause emotional and financial stress. Their proposed plan of action includes further regulation of estate agents, the introduction of better systems and technology to speed up the conveyancing process including the use of digital signatures, and the streamlining of local authority searches.

With over a quarter of all property transactions currently failing, the government is actively considering the introduction of Reservation Agreements which they hope will go some way to removing the likelihood of gazumping.  It is also promoting the use of Decisions in Principle from mortgage lenders, as these would give greater comfort to a seller that mortgage funds would be available to their purchaser, potentially removing an obstacle to satisfactory completion.

How we can help

You’ll find our conveyancing service fast and responsive. You’ll have an experienced solicitor or professional conveyancer in charge of your transaction from the outset. We know that speed can be of the essence in a sale or purchase, and we’re always on hand to help you negotiate any obstacles that can arise. Clients tell us that they appreciate our expertise and the steps we take to make their transaction as painless as possible. So if you’re buying or selling, then do get in touch on 0330 221 8855.  You can also get a quote by completing our online conveyancing quote form.


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