How to stand out as a homebuyer in a tricky market

27th November 2019

happy couple embracing

If you’re looking for a new home, you may need to up your game.

There’s been a sharp drop in the number of properties coming onto the market – almost 15% fewer in November than the month before.¹

It’s the biggest monthly fall in listings in a decade, going all the way back to August 2009.¹

Along with a fall in asking prices – down 1.3% over the last month¹ – competition from other interested buyers is likely to hot up.

So how can you stand out from the crowd and make sure you’ve got the best chance of having an offer accepted?

The smaller the chain, the better

One of the reasons why buying a home can be stressful is the fact that so much of it is out of your hands.

You could be relying on selling your home, as well as other sales going through lower down the chain, which can add time and worry to the process.

So if you’re not in a chain – you might be a first-time buyer, for example – make sure you emphasise the fact when you make an offer. Your ability to move quickly will make you considerably more attractive to the seller.

The estate agent Nested can help you become chain-free if you’re selling a property. They’ll put aside a cash sum in advance of your sale, even if your home isn’t under offer yet, and give you a document as proof of your funds.²

Alternatively, you could become chain-free by selling your home and renting while you’re looking for your next place.

Be realistic with your offer

When it’s a quiet market, and you don’t have much in the way of competition, there’s not much to lose by making a cheeky offer.

But if you’re in a crowded field of potential buyers you’d be better off making a realistic offer, while emphasising your advantages as a buyer, such as being chain-free.

Research what similar properties in the area have sold for to help you work out what to offer. Rightmove and Zoopla both have tools that can help you with this. ³

Get a Mortgage in Principle

Make sure you have a Mortgage in Principle before you start looking at homes.

Sometimes called a Decision in Principle, Agreement in Principle, MIP, DIP, or AIP, it’s a document from a lender confirming they’d be happy to offer you a mortgage up to a certain amount.

It’s got nothing to do with a particular mortgage, it simply confirms that, as things stand, the lender would be open to giving you one.

“Having a MIP in place from the start of your property hunt can be helpful, as it shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer,” said Joe Gaytten, a Mortgage Adviser at Trussle.

“What’s more, it also gives them an element of confidence that you’ll be able to afford to buy the property.”

Our MIPs are free and you can get one here in minutes.

Proof of deposit

As well as showing that you’re likely to be able to get a mortgage, it can also help to prove that you have a deposit.

So if you’re relying on a helping hand from a loved one, and have other money scattered across a number of accounts, bring it all together in one place so it’s easier to show you have the funds.

Cosy up to estate agents

Estate agents may be working for the seller, but they can be a great ally to you as a buyer.

If you’ve got a good relationship with them, they’ll be more inclined to tell you about properties that are about to come onto the market, which you might be able to see first.

So keep in regular touch with estate agents by phone or email in between viewings, as it’ll show how keen you are to find your dream home.

If you’ve shown them you’re a committed buyer, they’re more likely to be enthusiastic about your offer when they present it to the sellers.

And hopefully, yours will be the one the buyers choose.

Related articles:


¹ Rightmove

² Nested

³ Rightmove / Zoopla

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