How to become a ‘power buyer’
Summer may be drawing to an end, but the autumn housing market is still as fast paced as it has been all year.
Buyers are facing hot competition right now. The number of people chasing after every available property for sale is at its highest ever, and is double the level seen in 2019, before the pandemic began. So if you’ve been looking to move, you’ve no doubt noticed how competitive it is.
“To be in pole-position in the race for the best property, you need to have greater buying power than the rest of the field,” says our property expert Tim Bannister.
What we’re now seeing, in the most competitive market ever, is that sellers are turning to ‘power buyers’: those who have already found a buyer for their own property, are chain-free, or have no need to sell at all.
So, how can you become a ‘power buyer’?
There are three ways you can put yourself in pole position to secure your dream property.
1. Get a sale agreed on your current home before you buy
If you’re going to be selling your home in order to move, the best advice from estate agents is to put your home on the market now. Many sellers are choosing buyers with sales already agreed.
Some people are opting to sell their home first and then move into rented accommodation so they can take their time looking for their next property and be ready to move fast when the right home comes up.
Estate agent Peter Woodthorpe, Director at Readings Property Group in Leicester, says: “Potential sellers are reluctant to list their homes before they have found somewhere to buy, but realistically, securing that property is almost impossible unless they already have a buyer of their own lined up.
“More sellers need to allow us to find buyers for them on a subject to contract, no sale no fee basis, which in turn will increase the volume of property on the market to everyone’s advantage.”
2. Get a mortgage in principle if you’re a first-time buyer
If you’re looking to buy a first home, but you haven’t got a mortgage agreed in principle yet, you’ll save valuable time by starting this process now. The first two things a sellers’ estate agent will ask is to provide confirmation from a lender that you are able to apply for a mortgage to cover the cost of the property, and proof of funds to pay the deposit.
“With so much competition, sellers can easily discount those who aren’t in the most powerful position to proceed on a purchase. It is imperative that buyers have their finances lined up before making an offer,” says Glynis Frew, CEO of national estate agents Hunters.
3. Let your estate agent know if you’re a cash buyer
Cash buyers who don’t need to sell a property in order to buy will be attractive to vendors, so make sure your estate agent is aware you are ready to act fast.
Early signs of more sellers coming to market
The good news, as we enter the busy autumn period, is that we are seeing early signs of more properties coming to market. The number of new listings in the first two weeks of September was 14 per cent higher than the last two weeks of August.
Although this is still an early snapshot, autumn is traditionally a busy time for property – people put their homes on the market with the aim of starting the New Year in a new property – which should mean we see more and more choice coming through.
Read our full House Price Index report here and also check what’s happening to asking prices in your region.