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Burden of gazumping costs could be avoided

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It happens to thousands of people every year, can cost them a lot of money and there is very little that can be done to stop it happening.

Gazumping is a term used for the situation when a property seller accepts an offer from one potential buyer, but then goes on to accept a higher offer from someone else. Because it often occurs before legal contracts have been exchanged, there is nothing to stop it happening to you even if you may have already paid for solicitors to start their enquiries and arranged a mortgage with your lender.

In a bid to combat the costs that can arise when a property purchase falls through, Stephensons has launched a free service for home buyers aimed at preventing them from losing out financially if they are ‘gazumped’.

Buyers who instruct Stephensons to handle their conveyancing will be offered ‘Homebuyers Plus’ at no extra cost. The service will reimburse buyers for specific costs they have incurred if the property if withdrawn from sale by the vendor for reasons beyond the buyer’s control. They will also re-imburse the client if the seller receives an offer greater than £1,000 from another buyer, and accepts it. In addition, if a survey is carried out which identifies rectification work to be done, which exceeds 5% of the property value, and the buyer decides to withdraw, the costs will be reimbursed.

While it can’t prevent gazumping from happening, it is hoped this service will give home buyers extra reassurance that if it does, they will have some of their initial outlay reimbursed. In addition, we are offering a free basic Will for Observer readers who instruct us to handle their conveyancing.

By residential conveyancing solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Tom Bridge