Buying a property can be a competitive process, especially in parts of the UK where house prices are high and there are more buyers than properties for sale.
In a seller’s market, you need to be strategic to beat other buyers to your dream home.
1. Be organised
Get your mortgage offer in writing and find a conveyancing solicitor; this shows that you’ve passed your credit and reference checks and that you’re ready to buy a property.
If you’re also selling your home, wait until you’ve accepted an offer before you start house-hunting; you’ll be perceived as more motivated to move than someone who hasn’t put their property on the market yet.
2. Be pro-active with estate agents
Register with several agents and contact them regularly to ask about new properties. Try to build a rapport so that they’ll contact you before other buyers when a property becomes available.
Ask about the sellers to find out how you can make yourself a more appealing buyer; for example a seller might want to know that certain features of their property won’t be changed and you could reassure them of this.
3. Act fast with viewings
View properties which meet your requirements as soon as possible. Most viewings happen at the weekend and most offers are made on Mondays so if you can view a property during the week, you might have the edge on other buyers.
Many estate agents offer evening viewings so you can fit them in around your schedule, and you could ask your boss if they’d be prepared to let you work flexible hours while you’re house-hunting.
4. Be ready to move quickly
If you have no chain, tell the seller you’ll be ready to move whenever they are. This might mean paying some extra rent on your current property if you need to move out before the notice period is up, but it’s a small price to pay.
If you have a chain and you need to move out of your home before your purchase is ready to complete, consider renting temporary accommodation or staying with family in the meantime.
5. Make your best offer first, and do it in writing
Email the seller (via the estate agent) about why you want to buy their home. Sellers may be more likely to choose a buyer whose motivation resonates with them; for example people who have brought up children in the house might like to sell it to new or expectant parents.
Although it’s tempting to start low and leave room to negotiate, the seller could receive many offers and reject low ones outright. The higher your first offer, the more likely it is to be accepted – or at least countered.
6. Avoid being gazumped
When your offer is accepted, don’t just celebrate – ask for the property to be taken off the market so other buyers can’t view it or make offers.
If you’re looking to buy a property, contact Peter Robinson & Co property solicitors for advice.