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Conveyancing Nightmares - Gazumping!

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Moving House is often considered to be one of the most stressful events in someone’s life.

Today, more than ever, the process of moving house requires significant capital outlay and sometimes through no fault of your own, things can go wrong, potentially meaning you could be significantly out of pocket.

As well as the cost of purchasing a property, there are the associated costs that form part of the process. You will need to pay your solicitor for a number of searches, arrange for a survey to be carried out on the property, and there are a number of non-refundable fees charged by mortgage lenders, such as mortgage arrangement, product and booking fees.

Just imagine, you find the house of your dreams, you’ve thought over it, deliberated and debated and decided to make an offer.

You’ve instructed your Conveyancer to carry out the searches on the property and cajoled your mortgage lender into providing you with sufficient finance to proceed with the purchase and gone to the considerable expense of having a survey carried out on the property.

And then a few days before exchange of contracts, the phone rings and its bad news. Your seller has decided to accept a higher offer!

This is called Gazumping; and despite being very impolite and causing havoc to the rest of the chain, it is perfectly legal.

The Legalities:

Until contracts are formally exchanged, no one is legally bound to follow through with the transaction. So although your seller has agreed to sell his property to you, it is still “subject to contract” which means that they can withdraw from the sale and accept a higher offer at any time until the contracts are physically exchanged.

So what can you do to try and prevent Gazumping happening to you?

5 Top tips to help prevent Gazumping:

1. As Amy Winehouse said in ‘Valerie’ – “Did you get a good Lawyer?” Ideally one with the Conveyancing Quality Standard (CQS) who specialises in Conveyancing and doesn’t deal in any other areas of law.

2. Make sure your financial situation is sorted as soon as possible. Quite often the mortgage application process is the cause of the delay in Conveyancing transactions, as most people do not appreciate that most Lenders have a lengthy process involved before the final mortgage offer is generated.

3. Keep in contact with the seller’s Estate Agent and keep them regularly updated, as the more you keep them updated, the more likely they are to advise the seller against considering other offers.

4. Request that the house is taken off the market (and the internet) once your offer has been accepted.

5. Take out insurance cover against gazumping.

Here at Fishers we are delighted to confirm that in addition to processing your searches through our recommended search provider Searches UK, we can now offer a unique Buyer Protection Insurance Scheme which would reimburse you with some of the associated costs that you may incur when purchasing a property, should the purchase fall through.

Buyer Protection Insurance

  • Up to £500 in non-refundable, mortgage lender arrangement fees, mortgage broker fees, product and booking fees;
  • Up to £750 in valuation fees (homebuyer and structural surveys etc.)
  • Up to £800 in solicitor’s fees and disbursement costs.

If you would like more information on this exclusive Buyer Protect Scheme or require a highly experienced Conveyancer to deal with your house move, please contact Sarah Elliott at Fishers Solicitors on 01530 412167 or for a free no-obligation quote.