A new survey has revealed that 80% of homebuyers in England and Wales would like the government to introduce laws to ban gazumping.

What is gazumping?

It is a common misconception among homebuyers that once they have made an offer on a house and it has been accepted that they can relax and open the bubbly. But sadly this is not always the case. If another buyer comes along and makes a higher offer on the house then they can push the first buyer out of the sale – and gazump them – sending them back to square one and dashing their plans.

Gazumping can happen any time before the contracts are exchanged and in the majority of cases, it happens because the vendor has received a higher offer that they can’t resist. Sometimes timing can cause issues as well – for example if a buyer is taking too long to do their surveys or admin then the vendor might reject the offer and sell the house to a different buyer who might be in a better position to move more quickly.

A third of buyers have been gazumped

According to the research, commissioned by Market Financial Solutions (MFS) a third of UK homeowners have been gazumped in the last ten years and of those, 39% had to pay fees to intermediaries involved in the sale – despite the fact that the property purchase was not completed.

Speaking to Property Wire, Chief Executive of MFS, Paresh Raja, outlined the extent of the problem:

 “With demand for UK property constantly high, the process of buying a home has become incredibly competitive. As a result, a significant number of UK homebuyers are losing out on deals at the critical closing stages.

“Not only is gazumping a cause for frustration and disappointment, it also can incur significant costs to the prospective buyer.

“Avoiding complicated chains and having immediate access to finance can reduce the chances of a prospective buyer missing out on a purchase, but it’s clear from MFS’ research that further measures are needed to prevent gazumping in England and Wales.

“In the aftermath of the general election, let’s hope the elected government looks at measures to stamp out gazumping as a top priority.”

Do you think there should be a ban on gazumping?

Is gazumping on the increase? 66% of those surveyed believe that it has become increasingly difficult to buy properties over the last few years as there is greater competition and a lack of suitable, affordable homes available. Sadly, despite many of the respondents reporting the negative effects that they had experienced from gazumping, 43% said they would consider gazumping a rival buyer themselves , because suitable homes are becoming so scarce.

Ever been gazumped? How did you deal with it? Do you think there should be a ban on gazumping? Let us know in the comments section below.