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What are Gazumping and Gazundering and How to Avoid Them

If you’re in the process of being gazumped, gazundered, or gazanged, you might not even know it unless you know what these terms mean. Read on for a breakdown of the two…

When buying a house, there’s a huge amount to think about, not least being gazumped or gazundered. These might sound like nonsense words, but they’re actually specific terms for how the buyer or seller of a house can upset each other’s process.

In this post, we’ll discuss what gazumping and gazundering are so you know what to look out for. We’ll then give you some advice on how to avoid them if you don’t want to completely rely on your Birmingham, Bath, or Bristol based conveyancing solicitor, Bird and Co., to help you out.

Finally, we’ll reveal a third term added to this dynamic duo in recent years. So, for all these gibberish terms explained, read on…

house key by full length door

What are Gazumping and Gazundering?

 As insane as these words sound, gazumping and gazundering are well-known terms for when something goes wrong in the buying and selling of a house. Here’s what each word actually means:


Gazumping is when the seller of a property accepts your offer, you instruct a solicitor, pay for searches and valuations, and the seller decides to sell to someone who’s put in a higher offer. When this happens, you’re basically left in the lurch and out of pocket after all the work you put into checking the property and instructing a solicitor.

You might think there must be some legal recourse where the seller has to reimburse you for all the money you spent, says White Horse Surveyors. You might even think they should honor their verbal agreement and sell the house to you, but, unfortunately, this just isn’t the case.

Until contracts are exchanged, the agreement between you and the seller isn’t legally binding, and either of you can withdraw from the transaction. Without that contract, there’s very little you can do to get your money back or get them to sell you the house.


Gazundering is when a property seller accepts an offer from a buyer, and the seller proceeds to purchase another house, only to find out that the buyer wants to reduce their offer.

The seller might have chosen to stop all viewings because of the agreed sale to this buyer, and in this case, the seller is left in the lurch, unable to buy a new house, and with no other potential buyers in the wing.

Should the seller accept the new low offer from the buyer? Should they refuse the offer and remarket the property? No matter how you slice it, the seller has been put in a difficult spot they need to recover from.

How Do You Avoid Gazundering and Gazumping? Cute simple home with red door

How Do You Avoid Gazundering and Gazumping?

Now that we know what gazumping and gazundering are, it’s time to advise you on how to avoid getting in these situations in the first place. First off, we’ll help you gazumped buyers:

How to Avoid Gazumping

1. Move fast

The quicker you can get the sale moving the less chance you have of being gazumped. New offers can’t come in if you buy the house before anyone else comes along. Do your best to meet the timeframes of the seller and sign that contract before it’s too late.

2. Build a positive relationship with the seller

If you get to know the seller well and make them aware of your family situation, why you’re moving, etc., they’re less likely to hit you with a gazumping. Also, let them know your timeframes and expectations and update them on your progress.

3. Ask them to take it off the market

Most sellers and estate agents will be reluctant to take the property off the market, but it’s always worth asking. If you can convince them to do it, it’s unlikely someone with a bigger wallet is going to come in and trump your offer.

4. Pre-contract deposit agreement

Again, the seller might not want to, but you could ask them to enter a pre-contract deposit agreement. Both parties put a deposit in a pot held by a third party, and if one party decides to pull out, the other gets to keep both deposits.

How to Avoid Gazundering

1. Move fast! (again)

At the risk of beating a dead horse, the best way to avoid both gazumping and gazundering is to go, go, go. Don’t give the buyer a chance to lower their offer, and don’t keep the house off the market for long – problem solved.

2. Double-check your price

Getting the most money for your house is obviously going to be a top priority for you, but sometimes it’s better to price it realistically. Maybe the offer you got for £400,000 was based on poor judgment on the buyer’s part, and they’ve realized they want to pay less suggests Pettyson

Don’t give the buyer any reason to re-evaluate their price. Money is important, but if you don’t play it safe, you could be gazundered and lose money anyway.

3. Be realistic about the house’s issues

If there are flaws in the property that might not be obvious at first, the buyer will likely find out if they send someone in to survey the property before they buy it. Be upfront about the issues with the property so you don’t get gazundered later on down the line.

woman on floor on laptop in rustic room

Is There Also Something Called Gazanging?

Now that we’ve covered the commonly used gazumping and gazundering terms, we’re going to take a quick look at a newcomer to the scene; gazanging.

Gazanging is when, having agreed to a sale, the seller decides to remain in their property and leaves the buyer standing by without any word on the sale.

The practice has become more popular recently, with an uncertain housing market lowering buyers’ and sellers’ confidence. In the first six months of 2011, an estimated 54,000 buyers were gazanged as more sellers started to get cold feet.

Tips for Avoiding Gazanging

1. Move fast!! (third time the charm)

Sorry to do this to you again, but buy fast, sell fast, don’t dally, and make the sale happen by any means necessary. Also, choosing a solicitor who is efficient at keeping the legal process moving is a must.

2. Get to know the seller

We’ve said this before, but getting to know the seller will make it more likely for them not to sit on the sale and keep you informed of what’s happening.

3. Look at how the seller is operating

Establish the nature of the chain. Is your sell putting in offers for other places, or are they just sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to buy somewhere, leaving you hanging? Keep your eyes on the seller’s actions, and assess whether you’re likely to be gazanged.

Are There Any Other Terms You Need to Know About?

In this post, we’ve managed to cover what gazumping, gazundering and gazanging are and how you can make it less likely for them to happen to you.

These terms are very specific to how buyers and sellers can mess things up for each other while buying a house. So, stay alert, and do your best to avoid the three by making sure any house sale you’re involved in goes quickly.

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