At present, the market is very difficult for buyers. Very few properties are coming to the market and every house is receiving multiple offers. Many of the properties we’re selling right now involve us having to let a buyer know they’re not able to buy the house, even though they’ve gone over the asking price!
So as a buyer, how do you submit the best offer possible? The first thing to understand is that the estate agent and the owner will quite likely have very different criteria for what is their most suitable buyer, so you need to be smart in making sure yours it the most desirable.
Estate agents will generally wish to be paid as quickly as possible, regardless of the owner they’re working for, so their important criteria are:
Are you going to complete really quickly and with causing as little fuss and problems as possible?
The owners are probably more along the lines of:
Will the buyer let us have the right amount of time in finding a place to buy ourselves? If we take too long, will they pull out?
Is the buyer honest and going to mess us about?
Are these people going to enjoy our home as we did?
Who is paying the most money?
Now, realistically, the agent can portray the buyer in whichever light they like, but will inevitably champion their preferred buyer and make recommendation to the owner as such.
So your first job is to appear a high quality buyer to the agent at all times. Enquiry, to viewing, everything should be handled in a nice way and causing them as little fuss as possible. I know it’s probably hard if the agent is a bit of an arse (and there are a few like that), but that will be easily forgotten when you’re in your new home. You don’t want to be over the top and acting desperate, just be calm, motivated and let the agent know that this is not a rash decision. I’ve personally had it lots of times where a buyer is so excited on viewing that I can’t trust they’re making a rational decision that they’re going to stick with. Remember, agents are paid when deals complete.
So once the agent is impressed and likes you, it’s time to think about the owner. Now, if a buyer went behind my back and spoke with a seller direct, I wouldn’t mind, but estate agents have the most fragile egos and they’re easy to offend, so you have to be careful. If you’re in front with the agent, I’d say to stick with that side and have him champion you to the seller. If you have little or no confidence in the agent, I would bypass them and speak with the seller direct (if possible).
This communication must be done in writing, in a nice way, and to send the same communication to the agent too. If the seller lives at the property post it through their door in a hand written envelope. The letter should include:
Complimenting them on their home and thanking them for letting you go and view it.
Your offer for the property.
Your position and your time-scale. Really push the flexibility side of things if they’re going to be buying on. Something along the lines of “We know how hard it’s been for us to find a property and would be as flexible as we possibly can in enabling you to find a suitable property of your own without being rushed.” Realistically, if someone is motivated to move, they will move as quickly as they can, so what you say is irrelevant to the actual sale time-scale, but will help you get the house. If you do or don’t say it, the owner will still move in exactly the same speed.
Leave your contact details and say that if they have any questions or queries that you’d be very happy to hear from them.
The last thing is that you’ve obviously got to be right up there price-wise, but at present, everyone is offering high and being matched by others.