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UK government could ban gazumping to tackle stressful house-buying

Tom Murray
Houses London

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  • UK government will consider cracking down on gazumping in order to streamline the process of buying houses.
  • Gazumping is when a seller accepts a higher offer after they've already agreed to a sale.
  • A government survey revealed that 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers felt stress and worry as a result of delays.

 

Do you ever get that gazumping feeling? Maybe you're a gazunderer?

Well, you might not be for much longer. The UK government has announced plans to crackdown on gazumping — when a seller accepts a higher offer from a new buyer after already agreeing to a sale.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced an eight-week review of the property buying process.

Javid said: "We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford, and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that.

"Buying a home is one of life's largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That's why we're determined to take action to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful.

"This can help save people money and time so they can focus on what matters - finding their dream home. I want to hear from the industry on what more we can do to tackle this issue."

The government also released a survey of 2,000 recent home buyers, which revealed that 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers felt stress and worry as a result of delays.

Terraced houses in Mayfair, London

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The report also showed nearly half (46%) of sellers were concerned about buyers changing their minds after putting an offer down and almost a quarter (24%) would use a different estate agent if they had to do it all again. 

Almost a third (32%) of sellers and 28% of buyers were unhappy with the other party's solicitor, the Department for Communities and Local Government said.

The plans for a review, though, came under fire from Shadow housing secretary John Healey:"This is a government out of touch and out of ideas," he said. "After seven years of failure, ministers still have no plan to fix the housing crisis."

Alex Neill of Which? magazine, called the house-buying process "outdated and flawed".

"Buying a home can be one of the most stressful experiences in life, with sales often taking too long or falling through, with some consumers losing substantial sums of money.

"The government must put consumers first, ensuring that estate agents deliver a better service for both home-buyers and sellers and that the conveyancing process is simplified."

The call for evidence will run for eight weeks from Sunday.

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