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Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts an offer (a promise to purchase) on the property from one potential buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else.

This can happen anytime up until the exchange of contracts. It is completely legal. Most estate agents hate it, it upsets the buyer, the sale is put back to square one and is unethical.

How can you stop gazumping? If you're a seller you can write or email your agent authorising them that no further offers are to be submitted to them but kept on file in case of problems.

At Cooper Adams we hate gazumping. We feel honesty and transparency should always be the case with all sellers and buyers. Yes, some sellers don't write - saying no more offers and if an offer comes in we have to put it forward. When a sale is agreed and all the paperwork is done we mark the property as Under Offer and stop all viewings - we keep a list of interested people in case there are problems down the line.

The biggest way to stop Gazumping is.... Reservation Agreements. Simply put this is a legal contract between seller and buyer that cannot be broken without penalties. (There are some reasons it can be broken - serious survey repairs, chain broken or mortgage company changing criteria) This stops a seller from messing around taking other offers etc and stops the buyer from pulling out on a whim.

Our aim is for viewings to happen, offers come in, the owner accepts an offer, the reservation agreement is done and the sale to proceed to completion. The seller and buyer need to be happy with the outcome but everyone else needs to feel they have been treated fairly.

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