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How to speed up your house sale/purchase and avoid gazumping

You’ve started your journey looking for a new home in Cheadle. After viewing a number of properties, you find it, that dream property that you can’t wait to call your own.  The offer is in and you nervously wait by the phone to see if it’s accepted.  As you’re celebrating and starting to picture how you will make that house your home, you get a call – you’ve been gazumped!  But what is gazumping, and how can you stop it happening to you?

What is gazumping?

Gazumping is when, after your offer has been accepted, another buyer sweeps at the last moment with a higher offer that is then accepted by the sellers.  In a moment your plans and dreams are left in tatters, and you have to start your search for a new home again from scratch.  Although legal, it is both morally wrong and certainly distressing for those who experience it.  With a shortage of properties available, much more so than in previous years, and the demand from buyers increasing rapidly since the general election, until the law changes at least, gazumping sadly remains a possibility.

You need to be ready

If you want to place yourself in the strongest position, one that is extremely attractive to sellers, you have to be ready.  If you are a cash or a first-time buyer, or have nothing to sell, your ability to move swiftly will place you at an advantage.  Yet, regardless of your personal position, it’s important that you have a mortgage in principle agreed before you start looking. Some sellers won’t even consider viewings from buyers who haven’t even got their mortgage in place and agents are likely to give preference when phoning buyers with new instructions to those they consider “buy ready”

Just as it’s important to get your finances in place, so it is to instruct your solicitor before you find a property and ensure that you return any documents they may send you straight away, so they are ready to move speedily when you find a property.  Do your research and select a modern, proactive solicitor before you place an offer; choose carefully, you want one you know is responsive and will get onto things immediately.  At Maurice Kilbride we have our preferred solicitors, who on average are getting sales to completion 3 or 4 weeks before the National average of 14/15 weeks.

If you have a property to sell, we would always recommend selling your house before actively looking for a new home. We have all heard “oh our property will sell quickly so we are not putting it on the market until we find something” but there is quite often other buyers in a better position who may put in offers whilst you’re waiting to get your home on the market, however saleable it is.

Make your offer appealing

We all love a bargain, but if you’ve fallen in love with a property it’s more than likely it has caught the eye of others too.  Therefore, if you really want this house for your home, you need to show the sellers that you are serious by making your first offer a realistic one.  By showing you mean business they are more than likely to accept your offer and take it off the market.

When making an offer you can request that the property is no longer advertised, removing it from websites and the estate agent’s window – ensure you also request that no other viewings be carried out, and make your request in writing. It is the seller’s decision whether this is something they are willing to accept or not, some might, but many may prefer you to be further down the road in the buying process before agreeing to suspend marketing completely.

Don’t delay

No one likes delays, especially sellers.  Any paperwork you receive, complete it accurately and return it as soon as possible.  Return calls so people don’t have to chase you and keep in close contact with your solicitor, mortgage adviser and estate agent. That way, you’ll be aware of any issues or delays and can possibly help to resolve them quickly.  The more you keep on top of your purchase and put the pressure on, the smoother and swifter the process will be. Effective communication is essential to a smooth sale.

Show you care

It doesn’t matter whether someone is selling their property, to them it is still very much their home, and sometimes this can influence who they wish to sell it to!  If you show them that you will love and care for their house as much as they have, then, should another offer come their way, the relationship you have built may sway their decision. As the saying goes If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they will do business with you.

No gazumping here!

You may be wondering why we don’t stop this practice from happening, but the truth is that we are legally bound to present any offers we receive to sellers.  Therefore, by getting yourself ready and in a strong position, making your offer appealing, making sure there are no delays, showing that you are committed and care and by not getting distracted, you can help stop your offer being gazumped!

The Government are trialling what are known as Reservation Agreements in 2020 which in effect will lock in both parties once an offer is accepted and a sum of money will be paid in by both parties. Should either party pull out of the transaction without a genuinely valid reason, they will lose their bond. Personally, we are very much in favour of this, as the current system is way to flexible and nationally 33% of all sales fall through – that’s one in three! which is totally unacceptable. It shouldn’t be necessary and if sellers got market ready and buyers buy ready before they entered into the market, that would shave a number of weeks of the transaction time. The quicker sales can be brought to completion, the less will fall through for sure.

If you’re looking to move Cheadle why not phone one our team Patrick, Joe or Maurice to discuss how to position yourself as the best buyer. Call 0161 428 3663 or e-mail sales@mkiea.co.uk or better still, why not pop into our busy High Street office in the centre of Cheadle village for a chat and a brew!

Thanks for reading

Maurice

The Property Ombudsman Chartered Trading Standards Institute