11 MARCH 2015
When there is very little stock on the market it can be tricky finding a house to buy. But there are ways of helping yourself.
Ensure you are covering all bases. Start with the open market and scrutinise those properties that you might have overlooked the first time around. Look at what’s for sale from different angles: something that might not suit you as it stands might be suitable for a development opportunity so you can turn it into what you want.
Look into what’s available in the private market. This is where a buying agent really comes into their own: senior selling agents know our clients are serious because they have retained our services and we have checked that they are qualified purchasers. This gains us access to properties they are keeping in their bottom drawer that buyers might not otherwise see.
Follow opportunities in the area by making an approach at the right time. Look out for the ‘four Ds’ death, debt, divorce and disaster, which often cause people to sell up. But be careful with private approaches: if you knock on a door and ask to buy someone’s house when it is not for sale, it will be expensive. However, if the owner is planning to sell in a couple of years they may bring that forward and you may not have to pay a premium. It’s all about inside knowledge, something buying agents are very good at.
Sometimes you have to pay a premium for a property but that doesn’t matter as long as the buyer is aware this is the case and they are paying it for the right reason. Good reasons may include scarcity of that type of property, it’s located in the right area for the right schools or commute, and the buyer is going to live there for some years.
Always trust your gut instinct. We all want something different from a property – what makes a great home for me may be different to you so rely on how you feel instead of just what someone is telling you.