The term Gazumping means that at the last minute, someone else has made a higher bid than you, and the seller has accepted. Gazumping can leave you out of pocket if you have already paid for things like a survey or legal fees, not to mention losing a house that you were prepared to invest a lot of capital in.
Unfortunately there is not much you can do to stop this happening if you live in England or Wales – under the Scottish system, gazumping is very unlikely. The best way to help prevent gazumping is to try to be nice to the seller. Show them you have the money ready, and are prepared to move quickly. Try to be accomodating in dealing with the seller and try not to be fussy over trivial matters. If the seller has a good relationship with you, it will be harder for them to let you down. It is also possible to take out insurance against gazumping. GA Property Services and John Charcol offer this type of insurance, but you should be fully aware of the details of the insurance before you bid for a property.
Scottish System In Scotland, sellers normally set a final date when all bids must be made by, and then choose from these bids. The bid is then accepted in writing. It is possible for the seller to accept a newer, more profitable, bid but their solicitor will refuse to act for the seller as this is professional misconduct in Scotland. The seller would have to find another solicitor, which is probably more trouble than its worth, meaning gazumping is much less of a problem in Scotland. Check out our buying section or house buying FAQ for more information and advice on house buying.