Viewing is publicised for one or two specific time periods, then bidding begins. Bids tend to be time-limited both on the buyer's side and the seller's (you have so many hours to enter a higher bid and the seller has a certain time period to decide whether to accept the bid). All bids are binding. It is also a legal requirement to disclose fully the state of the property, with the agent and seller liable for non-disclosure.
If your bid has been accepted there can be no gazumping. Typical time frames for a sale drop from months in the English system, to weeks, with sales and contracts being confirmed and sealed within days.
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