A Twickenham company director has spoken about the stress of selling a house, especially when being gazundered in London’s cooling housing market.

Justin Cook, originally from Texas, spoke to the Richmond and Twickenham Times about his experience of gazundering in an effort to warn others of what to look out for.

Gazundering refers to suddenly lowering the amount of an offer that one has made to the seller of a property, usually just before the exchange of contracts.

Mr Cook and his wife bought their Victorian cottage in Twickenham’s Hamilton Road conservation area four years ago after struggling to get onto the property ladder, he has since been left “appalled” by the lack of protection for all parties during the house sale process.

He told the Richmond and Twickenham Times that selling his house has been the most painful and worst experience that he’s ever had.

He said: “Can’t we sign contracts that commit people to the offer agreed prior to exchange?”

“Why is it legal in England and Wales for people to do this? In Scotland you can’t do this or in the America. This is legalised extortion.”

The couple invested £20,000 into renovating and improving their home but were forced to upsize after having twins.

Their property was put on the market in April for £585k but they expected to get £580k so that they could break even.

They eventually found a bigger house that they loved, the vendors of the house that they wanted to buy were relocating to Canada and they accepted a reasonable offer from Mr Cook and his wife. However things were not as smooth with Mr Cook’s own house sale.

But Mr Cook’s buyers started to put pressure on them just before exchange of contracts when they asked for a further reduction of £7,000.

Mr Cook added: “They knew that if we did not cave into them then the chain would break”.

Mr Cook and his wife had already spent a significant sum in valuations, surveys and legal fees and they didn’t want to also gazunder the vendors of the property that they were committed to buying.

“We sold for the same price as we bought for”, he added, saying the gazundering became so bad that he and his wife were thinking of pulling out of the sale entirely.

His wife has now given birth to identical twins who are now ten weeks old.

“We had too much to lose. We have had to write off 20k in investment,” Mr Cook added.

“I’m going to change the way that I do business in the future.”