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Gazumping - contracts and house buying.

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buckaroo2 | 09:14 Fri 21st Apr 2006 | Business & Finance
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This question is prompted by the reports of an increase in the number of house buyers that are 'gazumped'. I recall a TV programme many years ago suggesting that the buyer/vendor sign a contract saying they agree to the house sale/purchase with each side putting a deposit to be held by a third party (or something along these lines). The idea being that the buyer wouldn't lose any money paid out for surveys etc if the seller accepted a higher offer.
Has anyone encountered anything similar? Or has anyone asked the seller to sign a similar contract/agreement?

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If you are the buyer, I think it is a good idea, because the majority of the risk is on the buyer during the period up to exchange of contracts (in England and Wales I am talking). Use one of the two solicitors to hold the deposits in escrow. I've never actually done it but I have suggested it. In the end, it is all about trust - if one is able to maintain a personal relationship with the seller during the 'difficult' period of waiting up to exchange, they are perhaps less likely to pull out. But there is still an element of risk.

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