Are you ready to start househunting?

The country housing market always comes alive in the Spring, and for us it is a very busy season as more properties come to market and more buyers come out of hibernation.

 In some ways this is the best time to buy as those who have been holding off give their agents the ‘nod’ and the whole market feels re-energised:  buyers get to see all that the market has to offer and sellers know they are going to get the greatest footfall through the door.

However, for the buyer in particular, this does mean more competition – so how do you make sure that you stay one step ahead and are in the best position to secure the house of your dreams?

Be really ready

Unless you are in the fortunate position of being a cash buyer, then don’t waste your time going house hunting until your house is at the very least on the market, and preferably only once you have secured an offer on the house you are selling.

This way, if you find your next property, you are in a position to move. If you aren’t and the competitor for the property is able to proceed, the seller will more than often or not go with the buyer who offers them the most attractive ‘package’. 

Know your numbers

You would be surprised just how often house sales fall through as a result of poor financial readiness.  As well as being proceedable, the best buyers are those who can prove to the vendor that they have their finances in order. This is usually in the form of a letter from the lender offering an ‘agreement in principle’, or evidence of available funds if a cash buyer.  

Not being able to prove to the buyer that you can afford the offer you have put forward can rule you out in a competitive situation. Sellers are desperate to avoid offers being accepted and champagne drunk only to find out a couple of weeks later that that loan isn’t going to materialise resulting in the whole agreement falling through and broken hearts and stress all around.  

Know what you are looking for

Our last pre-buying tip is if you are buying with a partner, then make sure that you are both on the same page before you start. This might seem an obvious point but in our experience buying a house becomes harder if the couple buying haven’t decided what their individual ‘deal breakers’ are. 

There is the practical side of things to consider like proximity to commute and good schools, but you can end up on a bit of wild goose chase if one partner hankers after a pretty country cottage but the other craves sleek and modern, or one of you values privacy but the other needs to have neighbours all around them.

No house is going to fit all criteria, so know your compromise before you start. Just by going through an online property portal you will begin to see what type of place you can get for your money, which will help you focus on what’s important for you in the process of finding your new home.