Gazumped! Dud deal leaves dad homeless

John Pratt stands outside the flat in North Street, Glenrothes.
John Pratt stands outside the flat in North Street, Glenrothes.

A dad who was racing against time to buy a home for himself and his children says he has been left devastated after being ‘gazumped’.

John Pratt thought he had struck a deal to buy a two-bedroomed flat above Your Move in North Street, Glenrothes, which belonged to legal firm Innes Johnston and was being sold through First for Homes.

He said: “I needed somewhere quickly as my relationship had broken down after selling the house myself and and partner lived in.

“I have a daughter and stepdaughter, both of whom will be staying over on a regular basis.”

On Monday, August 28, John viewed the flat and immediately put in an offer of £65,000 which was accepted verbally that day, with an entry date of September 15.

Two days later he said alarm bells rang when he was advised by First for Homes not to buy any furniture for the property.

On Friday, September 1, written confirmation of his offer came through the letterbox – but just two hours later, he was astonished to learn the deal had folded.

He said: “I received a phone call from my solicitors saying that Innes Johnston had accepted another offer.

“I phoned First for Homes and was told another buyer had been working for some time to get the property but I had pipped them.

“I’m devastated by this.”

A spokesman for First for Homes said he was “sorry to hear of the change in circumstances regarding Mr Pratt’s offer for the property.”

“At this time the the property was withdrawn from the market by First for Homes,” he commented.

“First for Homes are now actively searching for a suitable property for Mr Pratt and his family with a matter of urgency.”

The spokesman continued: “We would like to make the public aware legally until contracts are exchanged or signed by both the buyer and seller solicitors, either party can withdraw their offer at any time without obligation in any sale of any property in Scotland.”

An independent legal firm in Fife confirmed either party could withdraw until missives were signed.

However, a representative, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “While, strictly speaking, the matter was dealt with legally, it is unusual for this to happen in Scotland.”

The Gazette approached Innes Johnston, but the firm was not prepared to comment on the matter.