When we first decided to set up a blog, we thought long and hard about the content and our intentions, why did we want to do it?
We felt, as we are sure many companies do, that we wanted to get our take on issues facing Sellers, Buyers, Tenants and Landlords alike but without the blog being a blatant cynical advertising campaign. I suppose we wanted to be able to show what we are really about and let the public make up their own minds about the type of company we are.
So, with this in mind, we are carefully choosing the content to make it relevant to the current market place. You won’t see loads of adverts for what we do, just straight forward advice designed to help you get a clear view of the marketplace.
This brings us to where we are now, as I sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard, thinking about conversations we have had with our buyers and sellers throughout recent weeks and months, looking at what are the biggest issues in this buoyant market. Without any hesitation we all said that the one question we get asked more than anything else is “How on earth can I buy a house?”
In itself, it seems like a very simple, maybe too simple, question and many of you who haven’t recently been out as a buyer will wonder why it has even been asked. But look at the facts. Property stocks are low and the number of buyers is through the roof (pardon the pun!)
Every day we are seeing buyers lose out to other buyers, sometimes on 4 or 5 properties in a row and the frustration clearly is mounting.
So, how do you make sure that in a seller led market you get taken seriously as a buyer?
We have put a few pointers together in a quick and easy format to help:
Be ready. As a buyer it is important to realise exactly how many people you are up against when you are buying. Only yesterday we spoke to a buyer, who is feeling the stress, saying “But I’m in a good position, I have a good deposit!” This was certainly true. However, the property that she had seen had also had 10 other viewers in similar situations so how can she put herself ahead?
Firstly, be able to prove it. Speak to a mortgage broker and get an agreement in principal. If you have a large deposit, have proof ready. If you are a Cash buyer also have proof ready. If you can provide this info quicker than others it may just give you an edge. If you have a property to sell first you need to have a buyer behind you to be taken seriously. Do whatever you can to be ready to offer and proceed.
Don’t rely on the net – If we look back at the last 6 months of the properties we have taken on, a large percentage had viewings lined up before they even appeared on the net and even more surprisingly a large percentage of them had offers before they showed online. This isn’t because we willingly held them back, purely as we wait for vendor’s approval on the write up. Every day we hear buyers say “Oh I won’t leave my details; I’ll keep an eye on Rightmove.” This puts you at a disadvantage and cuts out a large number of available homes. Give agents your details and make yourself contactable. Our system automatically emails you properties and we are sure many agents have similar systems so make sure you are subscribed to hear as soon as they come on.
Now, I can hear many of you already mumbling under your breath that the agent will then bombard you with properties and getting off the list is harder than leaving the mafia! We know the reputation that some agents have for spamming you with unwanted info so why not get a free email address just for your search? I can’t take credit for this idea to be fair, a buyer came in a few weeks ago and had an email address of something similar to stevespropertysearch@gmail (just an example – don’t go emailing Steve lol). We thought this was a great idea; you get the advantages of being fully informed and then shut it down when you are suited. No more emails! Genius!
Stay in touch –Agents have so many buyers on their systems right now it is hard for us to get round to calling all of you so feel free to call us, pop in, drop us an email from time to time just to see if there is anything new that hasn’t hit the general circulation yet. We really don’t mind, it’s what we are here for. We actively use social media to promote properties for those early days but we know you don’t all use this avenue so feel free to call us and let us know you are still looking. One buyer calls us like clockwork every Monday and we know the call is coming so the team are ready with the latest properties. If there isn’t anything the call takes him no time at all.
Give us feedback – When you have viewed let us know your thoughts quickly. If it’s a good property it will not hang around. Only yesterday a buyer, who was thinking of offering, said to me that they were going to wait until after the weekend to show their hand. Now, as much as we understand his reasons, we had to explain how dangerous a strategy this was, if any of the buyers offers what the owner wants then the door could be closed then and there on any other buyers. Don’t rush into anything but certainly don’t hang around once you have decided it’s the home you want.
Offer wisely. Probably the best advice we can offer you is to be sensible with your offer. I was interested to see a thread on a Facebook page recently, one of these community pages designed to connect local people with each other, and the original poster had mentioned that they were thinking about an offer on a house that they loved in the area and were asking as to what they should offer – The advice was astonishing to say the least and it showed how misguided some people are about the market we are in.
There were plenty of statements of “offer what you think it is worth to you and don’t get carried away”. This is advice that we would advocate. But, what took us back was the amount of people telling the poster to offer low, be cheeky, slash the price etc etc. We are not in that market and we haven’t been for some time now, follow this advice and time and time again you will lose out.
So, be sensible, ask yourself at what price would you be happy to walk away from the property and then offer just below that. I’ve seen too many buyers faces when they lose out over a couple of thousand pounds and the owner has taken away the chance to increase. I know some people think Estate Agents are heartless but we never like giving bad news especially when it can be avoided.
We could go on all day about what can be done and we are happy to talk to as many of you as possible to help you move but, for now, follow these tips and although I can’t promise you’ll suddenly have your dream home tomorrow I can say it might just make it that little bit easier.
Happy house hunting!