Keeping a cool head in a hot property market

Posted on: January 19th, 2015

As the residential property market across the South East, and particularly along the south coast, hots up, would be buyers are once again having to navigate the high pressure sales tactics not seen since the last property boom.

Ian Peach offers this advice.

The open day

Open days are increasingly popular and enormously helpful for the busy homeowner looking to sell.

Having five, 10 or even 20 potential purchasers visit your home all on the same day saves time and can sell the home very quickly. But for the purchaser it can often induce a sense of panic. It is not uncommon, particularly in the popular London boroughs, for potential buyers to be given a 20-minute slot to view a home, with initial offers expected a few days later. If potential buyers take too long to decide they will lose the house.

The sealed bids

Sealed bids, with purchasers submitting their best and final bids to the sellers’ estate agent, are again on the rise. It is, however, a myth that the highest bid will automatically win.

Take, for example, the seller that has agreed their next purchase. It may well be that a buyer who can act quickly will be more attractive than simply the highest bid.

Include with your bid a covering letter that explains your personal circumstances, why the property is right for you and your family. Explain too whether you are in a position to move quickly or can be flexible with regards moving dates, perhaps to coincide with school holidays. If a mortgage is needed and you have your funding in place that too can be a major plus and should be highlighted. It is a sellers’ market and all of these things might help.

Sealed bids are opened at a pre-agreed time by the agent. It may sound obvious, but do not miss that deadline or your bid will not be considered.


Gazumping is more often experienced in the central London markets, but is not unheard of outside of the capital, particularly for very desirable homes.

There is little that can be done to avoid being gazumped. The estate agent is obliged to consider all offers, and sellers will almost invariably welcome higher offers.

At Coffin Mew, we offer purchasers the following advice:

  • Have your funding in place, with a ‘mortgage in principle’ offer agreed.
  • Ensure you have your conveyancing solicitor appointed and ready to act for you.
  • Have your surveyor ready to conduct the survey and to deliver their report quickly.
  • Have realistic target dates in mind and be prepared to move quickly.

The right team

Buying a new home is for most people the single most expensive purchase they will make. It is not the time to cut costs and opt for the cheapest team to help smooth that purchase.

Choose your solicitors carefully. You will want to check their experience and credentials, and their qualifications. Ensure that they have a good reputation in the marketplace, and have the capacity to look after your purchase or sale. Ask whether they have a team to support them if they need to take time off during your purchase. This is essential if you wish to move quickly. Also check how they intend to communicate with you. Are they happy to send you texts/emails or do they use ‘snail mail’.

Your solicitors must be able to ‘think outside the box’ on less straightforward matters or when problems arise. It’s important that they are able to offer up practical solutions to issues that arise and at Coffin Mew we pride ourselves on our ability to do this whilst always keeping your desired outcome at the heart of what we do for you.

A stress free move is priceless!

Coffin Mew have been Highly Commended in the category CQS Award for Excellence in Conveyancing Practice at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2014 and accredited by The Law Society for Conveyancing Quality.