You’ve heard of gazumping, which is when another buyer comes in, makes a higher offer than yours and the vendor ditches you in favour of more money. There’s also gazundering, when your buyer suddenly announces that they’re reducing their offer and you may be forced to accept this or lose your chain altogether.
Then, we have gazanging, which is when a vendor accepts an offer but suddenly decides not to sell after all and the buyer is left hanging.
Gazanging is particularly difficult to deal with
With gazumping and gazundering, there’s room for negotiation or for you to make a higher offer, but with gazanging, there’s not much you can do and the sale simply evaporates.
What causes gazanging?
Gazanging can happen for no particular reason. But here are some of the main reasons gazanging can happen:
There are lots of reasons behind a gazanging, including:
– A change in the vendor’s circumstances, such as divorce, bereavement or illness
– A spike in property prices which makes the vendor think they’ll get a better offer if they hang on
– The vendor’s chain is broken somewhere along the line or they can’t find a property to move to
– The process is taking too long and the seller decides to withdraw and wait for a faster buyer, and-
– The seller simply changes their mind.
What’s bad about gazanging?
In short, it’s stressful, time-consuming and expensive. You may have spent money on a survey and legal fees, enrolled the kids in a local school, put a deposit down on a removal company… Now, you’re back to the drawing board and possibly in a rental if you’ve already sold your property.
Is it illegal?
No! In fact, vendors in England and Wales can pull out of a sale right up to the exchange of contracts. A property isn’t sold, legally, until the contracts are exchanged. Up until this point, it’s “sale agreed subject to contract” and anyone can pull out.
How to avoid gazanging
Of course, if a vendor does decide to pull out then there’s not much you can do and in some circumstances you can understand it. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your gazanging risk:
– Be a cash buyer as this can speed things up and reduce the length of the chain
– Have your mortgage arranged in principle if you can’t be a cash buyer, as well as have your solicitor ready to go as the faster you can proceed, the less chance there is of stagnation and uncertainty
– Find out why the vendors are moving, because if it’s for a job, downsizing or upsizing, they’re more likely to be serious than if they just “fancy a change of scene”
– Go in with your highest offer so that the vendor knows you’re serious; if you can meet the asking price (and maybe have another few grand up your sleeve) this is even better, and
– Keep lines of communication open with your agent and conveyancer so that everyone knows where you are in the process as going off-radar can kill a sale.
If you are gazanged and you feel that offering a bit more money (or reducing the amount if you’re the vendor) will help, then give it a go. Sometimes, though, you just have to head back to square one, battle-scarred but wiser…