Written by Lisa Proffitt | 28th August 2020

New Home

How to be the best house buyer in a competitive market

Post lock-down the housing market has exploded into life. The experience of being stuck inside has made buyers prioritise outside space, resulting in a surge in demand for prime country houses with lovely gardens.

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Not only that, working from home has made 90 minutes the new 60 minutes for city workers and the traditional commuter belt has widened with South Northants in Michael Graham’s region emerging as a new hot spot for buyers keen to escape to the country.

So how can you stand out as a buyer with so much competition for the top rural properties?

Be prepared

If several buyers are after the same property the seller will usually favour someone who can move quickly and won't have to pull out. In other words, someone who has their finances in order. Get your ducks in a row. Prove that you can actually close on the home. This means obtaining a mortgage in principle, if you plan to apply for a mortgage. If you’re a cash buyer, submit proof of funds along with your offer. Have your solicitor and mortgage broker lined up and be in a position to say how quickly you can complete the transaction.

Communicate with your agent

Tell your agent exactly what you’re looking for in your dream country home and be clear on the top three things you will not compromise on. If you'd like your period cottage to come with a garage but for the right property would settle for off-street parking, say so. Perhaps you want a location that has no road noise but also has good transport links. If so a compromise might be in order. Most importantly, if your agent alerts you to a property which matches your search criteria, view it as soon as possible. If it’s not quite right, give prompt feedback. Position yourself as a serious buyer who knows exactly what their ideal property looks like.

Get your home on the market

If you need to sell in order to buy, don’t hang around, get your property on the market asap. You're unlikely to have your offer accepted on a house you want to buy if your property is yet to reach the market. Prospective buyers who have an offer agreed on their own property and have sold subject to contract (SSTC) are in the strongest position.

Be tactful when making an offer

Don’t highlight the property’s flaws to justify a low offer. Talking about the money you’ll need in reserve to upgrade a tired kitchen or replace an avocado bathroom suite is rarely a good idea. More likely it will offend the seller and may put you out of the running for good. It’s better to flatter and explain why you love the property before tactfully explaining the reasons for offering lower than the asking price.

Multiple bids

If you find yourself in a situation where there are multiple bids, nail your colours to the mast. Up your bid quickly and strongly to the top of your budget.

Sealed bids

If a property has multiple potential offers it may go to a sealed bid. In which case think very carefully about what the property is worth to you. Is it a forever home that you can’t bear to see slip away? Try to find out from the estate agent or seller how many other people are bidding, but stay realistic. A top tip for sealed bids is never to offer a round number. For example, offer £875,050 rather than £875,000 just in case another bidder offers that neat amount.

Be empathic

Selling a family home to downsize is very often an emotional experience for the vendors. Property is all about people and sometimes if a seller has to choose between two prospective buyers both equally ready to proceed with their offer a personal story or comment on an offer form can make a big difference.

If you’re planning an escape to the country and would like some help locating your dream home we would love to hear from you - contact your local Michael Graham office now. As a starting point, the three village homes listed below all have stylish interiors and rooms with a view.


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