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Carol Bryson MNAEA, Managing Director of JP Harll

When the Property Market is moving along quickly and you know that there are others also looking at a home you are interested in, what can you do, to help yourself be the person whose offer is the one that is accepted.

You may have already read our other blog on how to make the legal process quicker and you have ensured you have acceptable proofs of identity and address, proof of deposit monies and your Agreement in Principle from your Mortgage Adviser if necessary.

Telephone a couple of local Solicitors to get quotes based on the highest figure you are looking to spend. 

Check with the Solicitors that they are on your Mortgage Lenders Approved Panel (if you need a mortgage). Many mortgage lenders will only work with Conveyancing Solicitors that are on their Approved Panel.  It is worth asking in advance because if they are not on the panel, you will then have to instruct another Solicitor who is.  This occasionally results in a buyer using two solicitors, which obviously adds to the cost and time delays.

Make your decision on which firm you want to use and instruct them to act on your behalf.  Find out how much they want from you as ‘monies on account’ as they will not start the process without payment.

Check the amount of Stamp Duty you are going to have to pay.  You can also do this using this Government Stamp Duty Calculator

Pop in to the Solicitors office with your Proof of Identity and Address.  They will check they are the original documents and check you against them.  If you cannot do this, they will have to carry out Electronic Checks and you will have to pay for those.   Pay the ‘monies on account’.  If you pay by cheque, they will wait 5 working days until the cheque has cleared before they will open a file for you.


Okay? On your marks, get set, go …

Book in that viewing!  Ask ‘when is the earliest opportunity I can go?’  Not, I would like to book in a viewing on Saturday for …

When the market is hot and there is little choice of properties think, ‘What can I do for the seller?’ Not ‘what can they do for me?’  So that if you do like the property and want to buy it, the seller will want to choose you as their buyer.

I have to be straight with you here.  It’s not all about you.  Buyers tend to think that the ball is in their court if they find a property but in a seller’s market, like it is now, it’s about the seller and it is ultimately up to them to decide who they want to sell to.

Even though you may be in an excellent position - even a cash buyer, if someone else views first and makes an offer and the seller is happy with it, they might decide to accept it and take the property off the market.  Even though you might be willing to offer more, if the seller decides ‘I am happy with what I have been offered and can’t be bothered with any more viewings’ – even if it’s the agent doing the viewings.  Ultimately, you will miss out. 

So if you are really keen and they can show you round on Tuesday, go on Tuesday because, whilst some Sellers like to give anybody who has a viewing booked in, an opportunity to view and make an offer and some like to go to ‘best and final’ offers, people are not all the same.

If you view today and think about it tomorrow, you may find that the person who viewed yesterday and thinks about it today, makes an offer and has it accepted before you have made your decision on whether to offer or not.

If you think this can’t be true, only a couple of weeks ago, I was still showing people round a property on the first afternoon of viewings.  The first viewer went straight to the office with an offer and their ‘proofs’ whilst I was still at the property.  The Seller was happy.  We were instructed to take it straight off the market and not to take any other offers.  The seller wanted a simple, straightforward sale.  No complications, no competition, no messing about.


Okay?  During the viewing

If it is the Home Owner showing you round, please oh please, do not point out everything that you think is wrong with the property.

Do not tell them what you intend doing to it, if you think it needs XY and Z.

The property could be the Home Owners pride and joy and if you insult them, you might only have your offer accepted if they have no one else to sell to.

What you are also doing is indicating that you might not be the best person to sell to as you might pull out of the purchase should you see something else you prefer or, you may prove to be someone who tries to renegotiate further down the line.

Sellers generally want as stress free a time as possible.  Especially if they have an onward purchase. 

Oh and please, do not criticise anybody’s Grandmother’s Probate Property.


Okay? You’ve viewed.  You love it.  You want it.

Get that offer in!

Don’t wait for the agent to call you to ask you what your thoughts are on the property.

Be pro-active.  Pick up that phone and put your offer forward. Better still, pop in to their office if they have one and take your proof of identity and address with you.  Take your proof of funding.

What you are indicating to the seller is you’re keen and you’re prepared.  That you are not messing about and you’re ready to instruct a solicitor on your behalf.

Don’t be afraid to show your Agreement in Principle.  It may state that you can afford to buy at a Million pounds – that doesn’t mean you are willing to spend it.

When deciding what level of offer to come forward with, bear in mind how much you want the property, how many other people are booked in to view and how many similar properties there are available at the same time.

One thing to consider, especially if you are a cash buyer.  Cash is not necessarily King.  The world has moved on and, generally, sellers don’t care where the money comes from, whether it’s your bank account or a Mortgage Lender’s.

Insult the Sellers and you might not get another chance.


Okay?  You’re waiting to hear if your offer has been accepted.

Make sure you are available.  If possible provide more than one phone number and let the agent know if you are going to be in meetings or at work or you work shifts.  Let the agent know so that they don’t think you have gone ‘missing in action’.  If you are buying with someone else, see if they can answer the phone whilst you are unavailable.  If you are unable to take calls at work, can you communicate via email?


Okay?  You’ve got competition.  Someone else has put an offer forward.

What can you do to get the home of your dreams?

You don’t know what the seller’s driver is.  It might be the highest price?  It might be the quickest sale? It might be the easiest option?

Ask the agent what would help you get your offer accepted?  It might be that they are looking for a higher offer but it could just as easily be ‘flexibility’.  If you are still living at home with parents, you are in rented accommodation that you can remain in or, you have alternative accommodation that you can go to, to give the Sellers time to find an onward purchase, then let them know. 


Okay?  You’ve missed out and somebody else has had an offer accepted on your dream home

This is not the end of the world.  What is meant to be, will be.

Make sure the Agent knows that you are still interested.  Ask them to come back to you if, for any reason, the sale does not proceed to Completion.

You would be surprised how many people have eventually bought a property they thought had slipped through their fingers.

Good luck.