Should we worry about gazumping in Guernsey?

The team at Swoffers is aware there have been some concerns expressed about gazumping in Guernsey.

Gazumping is when a vendor accepts a higher offer on the house you are purchasing before you have exchanged contracts.

As Guernsey’s leading estate agency, we are not aware of gazumping happening here but we thought it would be useful to explain a bit more about the process of buying and selling a house in Guernsey and how gazumping can be prevented.

When you find the perfect home that you want to buy, and your offer has been accepted by the vendor, then the property is marked ‘under offer’ on agents’ websites, and no further viewings may take place.

Once the property is under offer, we prepare draft conditions of sale which will include an operative date (when we aim to get your contract signed) and a completion date (when you take possession of your new home).

The accepted offer is not legally binding until contracts are signed and exchanged.

The buying process requires various legal checks and surveys depending on the requirements of your mortgage provider. We recommend you appoint an advocate as soon as your offer is accepted and also advise your mortgage provider of your intention to buy the property so that they are able to confirm your funding by way of an official offer letter. They will also appoint a surveyor.

The team at Swoffers will keep you updated on the progress of the buying process. We will also keep the vendor informed of how things are progressing. We believe this communication is essential to avoid any surprises or difficulties along the way.

Once all these checks have been satisfactorily completed and the purchase price reconfirmed, the conditions of sale can be signed by both purchaser and vendor, your deposit paid (usually 10% of the purchase price) and the contract becomes legally binding.

If you decide to pull out of the purchase after the conditions of sale have been signed, then you will forfeit the deposit and will still have to pay your legal and survey costs. If the vendor decides to pull out of the sale after signing, then you get your deposit back and they are liable to pay you 10% of the purchase price in damages.

Although not gazumping, one consequence of the current busy local market is that many properties are going under offer at full asking price, or in some cases above the asking price. In the case of multiple offers being received on a property, it is always the vendor’s decision to accept whichever offer works best for them. This is not necessarily the highest offer and may depend on the financial position of the purchaser, for example whether they are a cash buyer, chain free or their property is already under offer.

Swoffers will always collate details of all offers, including the position of the potential buyers, and present them to the vendors who will make a decision based on this information.

If in doubt about any situation, whether you are buying or selling, don’t hesitate to contact your estate agent to talk through your options. The experienced team at Swoffers strives to make the whole process of buying or selling your home as stress-free as possible, so make sure you give us a call.


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