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Expert welcomes ‘gazumping’ news

A legal property expert has welcomed the news that the Government may be looking at banning the practice of ‘gazumping.’

Government officials have reportedly met with industry figures to bring the residential property system in line with Scotland and other countries, making a house sale legally binding once an offer is accepted.

The move would prevent property sales falling through thanks to the practice of gazumping – a potential buyer outbidding someone who has already made an offer, but hasn’t exchanged contracts.

Gazumping can be frustrating for buyers and hit them in the pocket, as they may have already paid for surveys to be undertaken, only for them to see the property sold to another buyer.

Sarah Barnes, head of Residential Property at Napthens solicitors, said: “We know that thousands of transactions fall through each year, in part thanks to gazumping.

“This can be incredibly upsetting for a buyer who may have worked hard to find their dream home, and often already spent more than £1,000 on surveys.

“Scotland and some other European countries already have a system in place whereby a sale becomes legally binding once an offer has been accepted, and there have been calls for some time to help make sales faster in England.

“There are some who argue that it will make the process less attractive for those selling their property, and the Government is said to be ready to examine the evidence before making a decision, but it can only be good news for buyers.”