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Over a quarter of home-sellers gazundered by buyers

Over a quarter of home-sellers gazundered by buyers
Shekina Tuahene
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Shekina Tuahene

More than a quarter of home sellers – 26% – have been gazundered in the last 12 months, research reveals.

A third (32%) of property sellers who were gazundered in the last year had this happen within two weeks of contracts being exchanged, according to Open Property Group.

Also known as ‘price chipping’, this is when buyers submit a lower offer on a house after the seller has agreed a sum. This usually happens at the last minute and can be because issues were found during the survey, the buyer’s mortgage offer has been changed or the property was down-valued. 

Some 78% of sellers who were gazundered went on to accept the lower offer. 

When asked why, 35% of respondents said they did not want to take time finding another buyer, while 22% did not want to disrupt their onward purchase. Some 14% of respondents said they did not want to go through the selling process again. 

As for the reasons why buyers gazundered sellers, 35% said problems were found following the home survey, while 24% of sellers believed buyers were just trying their luck. For 16%, there was no explanation given. 

Sellers left with little choice

Jason Harris-Cohen, CEO of Open Property Group, said: “Much like gazumping, gazundering is an unfortunate part of the property selling process that many sellers will be subject to at some point, although it’s certainly more prevalent in cooler market conditions, such as those we’ve seen develop over the last year.  

“It can be a very stressful occurrence for sellers and, unfortunately, as there’s no legal requirement to proceed with a purchase until the exchange of contracts, there’s not a great deal you can do, leaving many sellers with little choice but to accept the lower offer.”  

He added: “The best course of action is to find a chain-free buyer if you can, as they are more willing to move quickly and are less likely to be caught out by additional costs further down the line, or to be subject to other affordability issues. First-time buyers, in particular, are also less likely to potentially jeopardise their purchase as they are keen to get that first foot on the ladder.” 

Harris-Cohen said it was best to maintain communication with a buyer once they were secured, and to be upfront and honest about the property. 

He said: “Survey issues are the most common motivation for gazundering, so there’s no point in attempting to hide a problem with your property as it will eventually come to light.  

“It also pays to be realistic on price. Today’s buyers are well-informed about the market and they will have an idea if you have overpriced your property, leaving you more vulnerable to gazundering later in their transaction timeline. 

“Ultimately, you don’t have to accept being gazundered, but the protracted property selling process means that the majority of sellers would rather be out of pocket than return to square one having almost reached the finish line.” 

The survey was based on 1,001 people in the UK who had sold their home in the last year.