How to protect yourself
Ensure that you don't lose a property you want.
Sign a contract and pay a .25% non refundable deposit. For example if you are purchasing a property at $500,000 you would put down $1250 to secure the property for 5 business days while your solicitor reviews the contract, you get a pest and building report and ensure your finance is unconditionally approved.
We are often put in the uncomfortable positon that we have a owner accept a offer from a buyer to then be faced a few days later with a higher offer from another buyer and under the NSW Fair Trading guidelines we are obligated to put that offer forward to the owner and more often than not the owner will want to take the higher offer.
That then makes for a very unhappy person who sometimes has spent $1,000 plus getting reports done and having a solicitor review the contract on their behalf so if you genuinely want the property .25% deposit is a small investment to secure it for you.
For more information read the NSW Fair Trading gazumping page: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Buying_property/Making_an_offer/Gazumping.page