SPECIAL FEATURE: Gazumping back with a vengeance

Page views reached more than 500 a second and the site’s busiest days since it was founded 14 years ago have all come in the past month.

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases was 9% higher in the final quarter of 2013 than the previous quarter.

House prices showed their biggest rise in three months last month according to the Halifax and while London is undoubtedly leading the way, its report indicates that the strength in house prices is becoming more widespread.

As the housing market heats up again however, estate agents around the country are reporting the return of the unwelcome practice of gazumping. A nationwide survey by one online estate agency at the end of last year found that 7% of property transactions that fell through in the past year have done so due to gazumping.

Buying a home is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can have and mortgage intermediaries are caught in the thick of it – and can become victims themselves as if their client’s purchase falls through then they won’t earn their broking fees.

Gazumping is clearly bad news for the buyer. They not only lose out on the property of their dreams but probably also lose out on hundreds if not thousands of pounds on surveys and legal fees. There are a number of steps that clients can take to protect themselves such as asking for the property to be taken of the market when their offer has been accepted and chivvying things along to an exchange of contracts... but unless the UK system changes, which is unlikely, then greed and second thoughts can still win the day.

Help is at hand however as the insurance industry has responded with the introduction of policies that protect your client’s pocket against the perils and pitfalls that come with buying a home.

Our Home Buyer’s Protection for example will cover your client’s expenses if they are gazumped by an offer of £1,000 or more. It will also cover your client if someone in the chain gets cold feet or if their own circumstances change, forcing them to withdraw due to illness or personal/family reasons.

We also recognise that it’s not always the human element that can result in a purchase falling through. A property may well get damaged before the sale is complete and the rectification work may be extensive, or the mortgage lender may insist on rectification work depending on what the survey finds.

Even the most optimistic client wants peace of mind in an uncertain market. Insurance such as Home Buyer’s Protection can deliver just that.