Arm Yourself Against Gazunderers

Added on March 24th 2018

One of the main dangers when you’re buying a house is gazumping – most people have heard of it, some unfortunates have been victims of it – when your offer is accepted only to be bested by someone with more money (and fewer scruples).

A lesser-known hazard is gazundering; it’s like gazumping only it involves prospective buyers browbeating you into a lower price. They exploit a weak spot, like the fact you’re in a hurry to move, to force you into accepting this price or losing the sale altogether.

What can you do to prevent it?

On average it takes three months for a house sale to happen, but the longer it takes, the more time there is for the buyer to have second thoughts or find out (and exploit) your weaknesses. There’s a few things you can do to safeguard yourselves, though.

Set a firm, but realistic, exchange date

A firm exchange date, as long as it’s not too outlandish, will act as a deadline and make everything seem more solid and allows less room for doubts and shenanigans.

Have an equally realistic asking price

If your asking price is reasonable and based on stringent surveys and market values, then there’s not much downwards room for the buyer to go into. If a newer survey highlights a hitherto unseen problem, then you’ll have to negotiate, but only then.

Be upfront about defects, time pressures and other problems

If you’re open and honest from the start about the dodgy taps, the dilapidated garden wall and your plans to move the next month, then your buyer has no room to decently try to reduce their offer.

Go with a reliable estate agent

Your estate agent is your best line of defence against gazunderers as they can usually squash any funny ideas before they grow legs.

Keep the legal proceedings as brief as possible

Most house purchases can be completed in five weeks if everyone pulled their fingers out. Life gets in the way, though, so eight to 12 weeks is more usual. Try to squeak under the 12 weeks if you can, just to keep up the momentum – long periods with no action can breed those doubts.

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