Q. My Solicitor has just informed me that there appears to be more than the usual amount of gazundering going on in his office at the moment, as a seller is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening to me?

A. I’m afraid to report that given the current market conditions gazundering – the practice where a buyer suddenly drops their offer close to the exchange of contracts in the hope of getting a better deal – is on the increase. To prevent this, as a seller it is most important that you see a solicitor very early on so that they can prepare all the paper work before the property is marketed, so as soon as your agent secures a buyer the solicitor can send out the contract and reduce the time between an offer and an exchange. It is this delay which is being exploited by gazunderers. You need to set a timeline for your buyer at the beginning of the process. Tell them that you expect to exchange within three or four weeks because your solicitor has all the paperwork ready so they should be able to proceed very quickly. Unfortunately Gazundering is not breaking any law so it’s up to you as a seller to take control, with the assistance of both an efficient solicitor and Estate Agent that is willing to help speed the process along.