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What is gazumping in real estate sales?

5 min read · 14th, January, 2024
James Chetcuti, Founder, Trainer, Real Estate Agent and Auctioneer for RETSNSW

James Chetcuti

Founder / Trainer / Real Estate Agent and Auctioneer

Gazumping occurs when an agent or seller accepts your offer to buy a property at an agreed price but sells it to someone else, usually for a higher amount.

The agent must pass on any further offers until contracts are exchanged. In NSW, a sale is binding upon exchange, where both parties sign contracts and a deposit is usually paid.

If you’re gazumped, neither the agent nor the seller are obliged to compensate you for expenses like legal advice or inspection reports, but your expression of interest payment should be refunded.


To protect yourself:


  1. Have pre-arranged loan finance and the 10% deposit ready.
  2. Get the sale contract early and have it checked by a conveyancer.
  3. Aim to exchange contracts quickly to avoid gazumping. Residential buyers have a five-day cooling-off period, which can be extended by agreement.
  4. During the cooling-off period, you can do inspections, but rescinding the contract forfeits 0.25% of the purchase price.
  5. Negotiate firmly and ensure your offers are passed on by the agent.
  6. Ask for written evidence of passed-on offers if possible.
  7. Be prepared to increase your offer if needed.
  8. Remember, the vendor can change their mind before contracts are exchanged, and they’re not obligated to sell to any specific buyer.

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