In plain English: Gazundering

The opposite of gazumping, which happens when competition for houses is fierce, gazundering is a symptom of a weaker housing market.

So typically what happens and why? Gazundering takes place between the acceptance of an offer and exchange of contract, a period in which both buyers and sellers can change their minds.

The scenario goes like this: a seller has accepted an offer on their house, the sale is proceeding to the exchange of contracts, then suddenly the buyer reduces the amount they are prepared to pay. Perhaps there’s been a change of circumstance or perhaps the buyer feels that at this late stage the seller has little choice but to accept a lower figure.

Either way, the seller is put in an incredibly difficult position. He or she will have paid solicitors fees and may even have started packing up the house, ready to move – a move that may well depend on the current deal going through.

Some sellers will accept the new offer rather than lose the sale – albeit extremely reluctantly. Others, however, will stick to their guns and call the buyer’s bluff. I think the choice often depends on the suspected reasons for the gazunder. Ultimately it leaves a sour taste.

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