Hot tips for buyers in a busy housing market

What can buyers do to gain an edge in this busy housing market?

The market in the Scottish Borders has never been hotter with buyers competing for properties and having to bid well over the asking price or be prepared to put in a strong offer at a closing date to outbid the competition.

Market analysis confirms that the demand for rural and coastal properties is at an all-time high.

Latest data from Rightmove shows that in April 2021 there were 45% more buyers contacting estate agents about properties for sale than in April 2019.  ESPC latest figures are also showing prices increasing and increased seller activity with valuation requests for the end of April up 23% week-on-week.

With so many home-hunters looking to move right now, property viewings are competitive.

Many estate agents are prioritising physical viewings for buyers in the best position and who are ready to move forward with a purchase straight away. While some will find this frustrating there is no point viewing unless in a position to proceed and in Scotland agents are still following the house moving protocol which recommends buyers only view if serious and in a position to offer and where possible view a video or virtual viewing first. This is also sensible for buyers before they travel a long distance and many are moving to areas like the Borders seeking a change of location often citing a better quality of life as the prime reason for moving.

Buyers who can make a clean offer have an advantage

A clean offer is one that is not subject to a loan, a survey or a sale. It’s not necessary to have the funds physically in the bank, they just need to be available for when the title is transferred, which is on the Date of Entry (referred to in England as the Completion Date.)

Rightmove quote a recent survey that found that almost half of estate agents are asking that a buyer has already had an offer accepted on their home if they want to physically view a property, and just over a third are asking that a buyer at least has their property already on the market. For first-time buyers many agents are asking that they first have a mortgage in principle before they can view and buyers who have done their research and spoken to a financial adviser will be preferred.

According to Rightmove’s property expert :

“There is a very real possibility that you could miss out on the home you really want to move to if you haven’t already put your own up for sale, or if you’re a first-time buyer and you haven’t first researched what you can definitely afford. We recently found that a much higher proportion of chain-free homes are up for sale, so it’s clear some buyers are already choosing to sell first and buy next rather than tie themselves into a chain.”

With so many cash buyers to compete with and sellers and their agents aware of the benefit of certainty buyers need to be in the best possible position before they request a viewing. Sellers do not want to lose out on a hot market by agreeing to put their marketing on hold and stop viewings only to have an agreed offer fall through months later.

Our own Ron Hastings says:

“In a sellers market it is the buyers that have to convince sellers and their agents that they are a sound bet. I recommend buyers get their ducks lined up with finances ready whether it be investments, a dependant sale or a mortgage. It is also important to be clear on what final price you can offer bearing in mind that in a hot market the property is likely to go to Closing Date (known as Best and Final Offers in England).”  For guidance on closing dates see our website article

Do you need to sell to be able to buy?

What can be done if you have a house to sell and your purchase depends on the funds from your sale? Until you are on market and well advanced with an agreed sale you will not be in the best position to proceed as any offer would need to be conditional on your sale otherwise you could be in breach of contract.

Selling agents stock is at an all time low. The  situation is unprecedented in recent times but as a result of pent up demand and increased enthusiasm from buyers available homes are few and far between. The best advice for buyers with a property to sell is to maximise your position, market your property and progress your sale. If you are funding with a remortgage make sure you factor in all your costs including any additional costs like stamp duty or LBTT in Scotland and the second home supplement.

Once you have finances arranged, an offer accepted on your own home or better still sold with cash in the bank buyers are more likely to accept a good offer. Even if you have yet to conclude missives in Scotland or exchange contracts on your sale elsewhere, if you are heading in the right direction and the sale is well advanced sellers are usually willing to entertain an offer. This is particularly the case if the buyer is able to give sellers agents suitable confirmation of their position and, for sellers who have yet to find their onward move, some flexibility on the move date giving them a bit more time to find their next place.

Are you looking to buy your new home and desperate to get ahead of the competition?

Sign up to Hastings Legal YouTube page and you will be notified of Virtual Tours of our properties that are coming On Market BEFORE they appear on RightMove, ESPC etc. and even our own website! click here

Hastings Legal are trusted and long-established Solicitor Estate Agents in the Scottish Borders.

•   Selling your property with a Solicitor Estate Agent means you have control of the process from start to finish.

•   Our extensive database of purchasers who are looking to buy their dream home in this area is at your disposal.

•   Our advertising reach is both local and national including our High Street Offices, exclusive ESPC* and  Rightmove

•   Our Virtual Viewing Video Tours are the New Normal for a first viewing and are included for no extra charge.

•   Professional photographs as standard

•   We regularly achieve more than the Home Report Value for our Sellers, often at Closing Date

See our guides: • Buying a House and • Selling your House Legal Process

It’s never too early to call Hastings Legal, Solicitors and Estate Agents in the Scottish Borders

* only Solicitor Estate agents can advertise in ESPC – the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre

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