It’s not easy being a property buyer in the present economic climate in parts of the country demand outstrips supply and homebuyers are having to act fast if and when they see somewhere they like.
As with everything sellers’ markets come and go, here are some tips if you are hoping to buy in the coming months.
If several people are after the same property the vendor will favour someone who can move quickly and is less likely to withdraw an offer – which means someone who has their finances in order.
Whether you use your own bank or the services of a mortgage broker, make sure you can get the amount you need for the property, subject to a satisfactory survey and legal title of the property. This means the credit scoring has been done and employer or accountant references prepared. In other words, the lender is satisfied and all that remains is for them to be happy lending on the property you find.
If you need to sell a property in order to buy, get it on the market first. You are unlikely to have your offer accepted if your property is not even on the market. Prospective buyers who have an offer agreed on their own property and have sold subject to contract (SSTC) are ranked highly by estate agents. The reason for this is that these people will be motivated to get moving in order to keep their chain together.
Know what you want, be proactive!
Tell agents exactly what you want, but also what you might compromise on. If you’d like your three-bed semi to come with a garage but, in the absence of one might settle for off-street parking, say so. Most importantly, if you’re offered a property which matches your requirements, view it as soon as possible. Failing to do so may not only lose you the property, you might also be considered a timewaster.
Build a relationship
Keep a note of the estate agents you have registered with and contact them regularly. Don’t wait to hear from them. A buyer I knew created a spreadsheet of agents’ names and would phone on a weekly basis. One morning she called the agent minutes after a sale had fallen through due to chain issues and she became the new buyer. Her efforts and methodical approach paid off.
Most estate agencies operate what’s known as a communal buyer register. This means no one member of staff has ownership of a prospective buyer’s records. Each sales negotiator is free to contact any buyer on that register. With that in mind, getting to know several sales negotiators may be prudent.
Estate agents are not only competing for business with their rivals, but employees in the same firm also battle between themselves for sales. Where a property attracts numerous offers, they should be put forward to the seller by an impartial member of staff – ideally the office manager. If you viewed through one sales negotiator, don’t rely on his colleague to present your offer in the best light – he might have an offer from a buyer of his own.
Get to know the office manager. They’re not always concerned with which buyer gets the property as long as the deal goes through. The exception to this is where one of the buyers competing for a property is also selling through the same branch (double commission). Get on well with the branch manager and that goes some way to keeping wayward sales negotiator’s in check.
If your offer has been accepted and your finances proved, asking for the property to be withdrawn from the market is a fair request and prevents a sale from falling through.