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Selling your house can be an exciting time, filled with anticipation for your next chapter. However, the process can become stressful if you encounter gazundering, where the buyer unexpectedly lowers their offer just before exchanging contracts.

While not everyone experiences gazundering new research indicates a significant increase in the UK, particularly with buyer demand weakening due to factors like higher mortgage rates. This leaves many sellers feeling pressured to accept lower prices.

This article aims to equip you with all the essential information about gazundering; understanding gazundering, the legality of gazundering, minimising the risk, predicting the possibility and how you can utilise effective strategies if it does happen.

By understanding these aspects, you can navigate the selling process with greater confidence and be better prepared to protect your interests even in challenging market conditions.

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What is gazundering?

Gazundering is a tactic used by some property buyers where they unexpectedly lower their offer just before exchanging contracts. This critical stage formalises the sale and creates a legally binding agreement.

Being gazundered places sellers in a difficult position. Accepting the lower offer might feel like the only way to avoid the chain collapsing. This can lead to delays in their own move and potentially incur additional costs.

Recent research in the UK highlights the concerning rise of gazundering. Key findings from the Open Property Group study reveal:

  • 26% of sellers reported experiencing gazundering in the last year, marking a significant increase compared to previous periods. 

  • 22% of sellers faced attempts to reduce offers within two weeks of exchange, showing the last-minute pressure tactics used by some buyers.

  • 78% of gazundered sellers accepted the lower offer, mainly due to:

  • Avoiding further delays in finding another buyer (35%)

  • Protecting their onward purchase (22%)

  • Avoiding the hassle of restarting the selling process (14%)

The study further explored the reasons behind gazundering:

  • 35% of buyers cited issues identified during the survey as the justification for their lower offer.

  • 24% of buyers admitted to “chancing their arm” by attempting to secure a lower price without legitimate reasons.

  • 16% of buyers offered no explanation for reducing their offer.

These findings underscore the increased prevalence of gazundering and the pressure it places on sellers. While some buyers may have genuine concerns based on surveys, the study also reveals a concerning trend of buyers trying to exploit market conditions for personal gain.

How does gazundering happen?

Gazundering occurs during the property buying process, specifically right before contracts are exchanged. Here’s a step by step process of the gazundering process so you can be on the lookout for buyers considering to gazunder you:

Agreement on offer: 

The buyer and seller agree on a price for the property. This agreement is usually verbal at this stage.

Survey and legal checks: 

The buyer conducts a survey of the property to identify any potential issues and instructs a solicitor to carry out legal checks. 

The “trigger” for gazundering:

  • Survey findings

  • Market fluctuations

  • Negotiation tactic

The gazundering attempt:

The buyer informs the seller of their intention to reduce the previously agreed offer. This can be a stressful and unexpected situation for the seller, especially if they are already committed to moving forward with the purchase of their new home.

Sellers decision:

The seller then has to decide whether to:

  • Accept the lower offer: This might be the preferred option if they are desperate to sell or worried about the chain collapsing.

  • Reject the lower offer: This could lead to the sale falling through if the buyer doesn’t back down. However, the seller might be able to find another buyer who is willing to pay the original price.

  • Counter-offer: The seller can attempt to negotiate with the buyer to reach a compromise that is acceptable to both parties. 

It’s important to note that gazundering is not illegal in most jurisdictions. However, it can be a stressful and frustrating experience for sellers, it’s important to understand the potential consequences before getting involved in a property transaction.

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Is gazundering illegal?

While gazundering may feel unfair, it’s not illegal in England and Wales. Buyers can legally lower their offer before contracts are exchanged. 

Interestingly, in Scotland gazundering is less common due to the regulations of the Law Society of Scotland. 

These rules prohibit solicitors from lowering a buyer’s offer after it has been accepted, unless there are legitimate reasons such as issues revealed in the survey or a significant change in market conditions. 

If a buyer in Scotland insists on gazundering, the solicitor is obliged to withdraw from representing the. 

Is gazundering immoral?

Whether gazundering is considered unethical is a complex question with no universally accepted answer. It depends heavily on the context of the situation and the motivations behind the buyer’s actions.

Arguments against gazundering:
  • Unduly pressures sellers: Gazundering can put immense pressure on sellers, particularly those in solicitors, who may feel forced to accept a lower offer to avoid delays or the collapse of the sale. This can be particularly stressful for sellers who have already invested time and resources into the selling process.

  • Lack of transparency: If the buyer is aware of major issues with the property but doesn’t disclose them until later to justify a lower offer, it can be seen as deceptive and manipulative.

Why do people 'gazunder'?

While some legitimate reasons exist, such as new information revealed in the survey (a detailed inspection of the property), gazundering can also be a negotiation tactic. By timing the lower offer close to exchange, the buyer hopes to pressure the seller into accepting, even if it means sacrificing some profit. 

  • New information: The buyer may have received new information about the property through the survey that significantly impacts its value, such as structural issues or unexpected repairs.

  • Market fluctuations: A sudden drop in the property market could lead the buyer to believe the agreed upon price is no longer fair.

  • Mortgage expiration: In rare cases, a buyer’s mortgage offer might expire, and they are unable to secure a new one affordable for the original agreed price. 

  • Chain collapse: If the buyer’s own chain collapses, they might no longer be able to afford the property at the original price, leading to the seller being gazundered for a lower price. 

However, gazundering can also be used as a negotiation tactic, particularly when:

  • Sellers are in a chain: Knowing the seller has taken the property off the market and is dependent on the sale to proceed with their own move, the buyer might attempt to lower the offer, hoping the seller will accept to avoid the chain collapsing. 

It’s important to remember that even though gazundering is not illegal, it can be unethical if done without justification.

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How do you stop gazundering?

Gazundering can be a stressful experience, but it’s not insurmountable. Here are some strategies to help you stop gazundering in its tracks:


Don’t automatically accept the lower offer. Try to negotiate a compromise that is closer to the original price.

Seek professional advice

A good estate agent and solicitor can advise you on your options and guide you through the negotiation process.

Have a backup plan

Be prepared to walk away from the sale if necessary. Consider having a list of interested buyers your estate agent can contact.

Consider insurance

Residential abortive transaction insurance can help cover legal and other costs if the sale falls through.

Address survey issues

If the buyer is concerned about issues identified in the survey, consider offering to fix them yourself instead of accepting a lower offer.

How do you avoid gazundering?

In order to avoid gazumping in the first place, here are some things to consider when listing your property:

Price your house realistically

An overpriced house is more likely to be subject to gazundering negotiations.

Complete the survey early

This gives the buyer less time to have second thoughts and reduces the risk of them finding another property they consider a better deal.

Be transparent about any issues

Avoid hiding any problems with the property, as discovery later could lead to gazundering.

Choose a good estate agent

An experienced agent will stay in close contact with the buyer and keep informed of the situation.

Seek a chain free buyer

Avoiding a chain can minimise the risk of gazundering, as delays and complications within the chain can create vulnerabilities.

Streamline the process

Work with your buyer to expedite paperwork, exchange and completion dates to reduce the window for potential gazundering.

Set a bottom line

Determine the absolute lowest price you are willing to accept before entering negotiations.

Remember, gazundering can be a tactic in negotiation, not always a reflection of the property’s true value. By staying informed, having a plan and seeking professional advice, you can increase your chances of avoiding gazundering successfully and achieve a successful sale.

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Gazumping vs Gazundering: What’s the difference?

Both gazumping and gazundering are tactics used in the property buying and selling process that can cause stress and uncertainty for buyers and sellers respectively. However they differ significantly in who they impact and how. 

The basic difference between the two is that with gazumping, the seller benefits and the buyer loses, but with gazundering the buyer benefits but the seller loses.

Who benefits?SellerBuyer
Who loses?BuyerSeller
Who initiates the change?SellerBuyer
Change in offer direction?IncreasesDecreases
Seller’s choice?Yes (can choose between offers)Limited (accept lower offer, reject and risk collapse, or attempt to negotiate)
Impact on initial buyer/seller?Loses the property despite accepted offerPressured to accept lower price or risk sale falling through


  • Occurs: When a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after they have already accepted an offer from you.

  • Impact: This practice disadvantages the initial buyer who loses the property despite having an accepted offer.

  • Seller's choice: In gazumping, the seller has the choice to accept the higher offer or stay with the original agreement.


  • Occurs: When a buyer unexpectedly lowers their offer just before contracts are exchanged.

  • Impact: This practice disadvantages the seller who may be pressured to accept a lower price or risk the sale falling through.

  • Seller's limited choice: Unlike gazumping, the seller in gazundering has limited options. They can either accept the lower offer, reject it and risk the sale collapsing, or attempt to negotiate a higher price with the buyer.

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Will gazundering happen to you in 2024?

Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict with certainty whether you will experience gazundering in 2024. While a buyer's market does increase the general potential for it, several factors influence the specific likelihood for your property:

  • Market conditions: While some regions might be experiencing a buyer's market, this doesn't guarantee gazundering. Location, property type, and pricing all play a role.

  • Individual circumstances: The details of your sale, such as the number of interested buyers, your selling urgency, and the negotiation skills involved, significantly impact the risk.

  • Your negotiation power: Even in a buyer's market, you have some bargaining power, especially if your property is in a desirable location, has unique features, or is competitively priced.

While predicting gazundering is impossible, being aware of potential indicators can help you stay informed:

  • Multiple offers below asking price: This might suggest a buyer's market and potentially increase the risk.

  • Buyers expressing excessive concerns about the survey: Frequent claims of major issues, especially regarding minor points, could be an attempt to justify a lower offer.

  • Delays initiated by the buyer: Delays, particularly near exchange, might be a tactic to create pressure for a lower offer. 

Gazundering occurs more frequently in a buyer’s market as there is an increased leverage for buyers due to there being more properties available for purchase. This gives buyers greater leverage as they have more options to choose from and can potentially find a similar property at a lower price. 

When there are more buyers competing for fewer properties, sellers are more likely to be open to negotiations and accepting lower offers, which can empower some buyers to try gazundering, hoping to secure a better deal.

Finally, uncertainty in the market is a huge driver for gazundering, as in a buyer’s market there is a greater uncertainty about future market trends. This in order to mitigate the potential risks, some buyers might try to secure a lower price upfront to protect themselves from the property potentially decreasing in value later. 

It’s important to note that gazundering is not exclusive to buyer’s markets and can happen in any market condition. However, the factors mentioned above create a more favourable environment for it to occur and potentially be successful.

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How do you deal with gazundering in 2024?

Gazundering can be a stressful experience for sellers, and while it’s not guaranteed that it will happen to you this year, being prepared for the possibility can empower you to navigate it effectively.

If you have been gazundered, the first thing you should do is consult with your experienced estate agent. They can advise you on the current market trends, the specific circumstances of your situation and your options for dealing with a  gazundering attempt.

It’s important that you involve your solicitor as soon as you have been gazundered as they can guide you through the legal aspects of the negotiations and ensure your interests are protected. 

What do you do when you have been gazundered?

When you have been gazundered, you should keep an open line of communication with your estate agent, solicitor and the buyer throughout the process. Clearly communicate your expectations and concerns and be transparent about your willingness to negotiate but not at any cost. 

Luckily, you have several options at your disposal which can keep your house sale moving in the right direction, including:

Be prepared to walk away

While selling your property is likely important, don’t be pressured into accepting an offer that significantly undervalues your property. 


Don’t automatically accept the lower offer. Try to negotiate with the buyer to reach a compromise closer to your original asking price. Be prepared to present justifications for your price such as recent comparable sales in the area, unique features of your property, or any upgrades you’ve made.

Reject the offer

You have the right to reject the lower offer, especially if it significantly falls below your acceptable price range. This might lead to the sale falling through, but it could also give you the opportunity to find another buyer who is willing to pay closer to your asking price.

Explore alternatives

Depending on your situation, you might explore alternative solutions like:

  • Bridging loan: This could help you cover the gap between the sale price and your asking price if you need to move quickly.

  • Extending the exchange date: If feasible, discuss extending the exchange date with the buyer to give you more time to find another buyer or explore other options.

  • Explore property auctions: Property auctions are a great way to sell a house fast for market value, but there is no guarantee that it will sell.

Why should you use a cash buyer when you’ve been gazundered?

While these usually come with lower offers, they eliminate the risk of gazundering altogether. Opting for a cash buyer can provide certainty and speed, as the sale can be completed quickly without the risk of delays or additional negotiations.

Gazundering creates doubts about a buyer’s commitment and raises the risk of the sale falling through. Choosing a cash buyer eliminates this risk and guarantees the sale will be completed, providing financial security and peace of mind. 

Some sellers might be facing time constraints due to personal circumstances like relocation or needing to purchase another property. A cash buyer can complete the sale swiftly, meeting the seller’s tight timeline, regardless of the gazundering attempt. 

Sellers experiencing financial difficulties might prioritise securing a fast and guaranteed sale over potentially getting a higher price through traditional methods. A cash buyer offers quick access to the funds which can be crucial in such situations. 

If this sounds advantageous for your situation, you may want to consider selling with a cash house buyer like ourselves. We are a leading UK cash house buyer, with thousands of excellent reviews on TrustPilot. 

We operate on a below market value purchasing process, but in return for purchasing your property below market value, we operate a fast house sale. We can buy your house in as little as seven days, all while covering and handling the legal aspects on the house sale. 

If you want to keep your house sale moving, fill out our postcode form below:

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.