Q: My husband and I are feeling really peeved and disappointed at being gazumped on our dream home. Despite having our offer accepted by the owner and then paying good money for a building inspection, the property was sold to someone else. Are we entitled to be reimbursed for the money we outlaid? Allison, Bonny Hills.
A. Being gazumped does feel bad, and often leaves a very bitter taste in your mouth.
At present the number of investors and cashed-up buyers in the marketplace is incredibly high, and some can be very aggressive in their pursuit of what they perceive to be a winning property.
To answer your question about reimbursement, when a buyer is gazumped in these circumstances, neither the seller nor their agent is legally liable or required to reimburse your costs, despite an apparent breach of an oral agreement. Whatever monies have been spent on building inspections, solicitor costs and bank fees are lost; however, if you have paid a deposit to the agent, that money is refundable in full.
The deal is not “done” until contracts are exchanged, and in the meantime, agents can field offers from other interested parties. It’s common for multiple offers to be made at the last minute. Some potential buyers may have slept on their decision or have been waiting for something else to come into play before being able to make an offer.
When an offer is made to the agent, he or she is legally obligated to refer the offer to the owner(s), with the decision then up to the owner(s) on whether to accept any other interest.
My advice to purchasers to reduce the risk of being gazumped is to be clear in your communication with the agent and to have your finance and legal representative in place, as you need to get to the exchange of contracts stage within days of having your offer accepted. Answers are general comment, and readers should always seek their own independent professional advice.
Send your real estate questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Trembath is Principal/Licensee at Greg Trembath Real Estate. Licensed Real Estate Agent – Licensed Auctioneer.
This column was from issue 117 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus.