Buying a new home can often be stressful and time consuming. Try to think of it differently; it is a very exciting time in your life and you will always remember buying a home, just try and ensure you have fond memories of it by hiring a Buyer’s Agent who can make the whole transaction a much happier and smoother affair. If not, read below and take our advise to help you with this important stage of your life.

1 First and foremost, the most important tip of all is about FINANCE. Don’t even start looking before you obtain a letter of offer from a financial institution. A letter of offer will typically last 6 months so there is no problem in feeling rushed into buying straight away. Even if the 6 months lapse, it is usually quite straightforward to have it renewed. The main reason for finance being so important is because an Estate Agent will not take you seriously if you haven’t got it. If you put a bid on a home that you have fallen for, one of the first questions you will be asked is what about your financial situation. Don’t get us wrong, they will take any offer you put forward but only as a means to obtaining a higher offer from another bidder who has finance in place. They will never go sale agreed with a buyer without finance.
2 LOCATION is crucial, whether you plan to upgrade in a few years or plan to live their all your life, location is key. Regardless of what the house is like, you have to live there and if you don’t like the area you’ll never settle in the house. If certain locations are narrowed down, your search will also be much easier. Do not make the mistake of looking all over for the perfect property, you will exhaust and confuse yourself. Location, location, location first and the property will follow.
3 While searching, do not be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS. An Estate Agent is supposed to be truthful in answering any or all of your questions. If they don’t know the answers to your questions, ask them to find out and always follow up if you don’t hear from them again. You need to be as informed as you possibly can. The obvious questions to ask are about the house; “Does the extension have an architectural cert?” “Has the heating or wiring been upgraded in recent years?” “What direction is the garden facing?” However, the questions that you also need to be asking are less obvious but puts you in a better position if you are planning on bidding on the property. “What is the vendors situation?” “Are they trading up or down?” If they are trading up chances are they require a certain figure for the property in order to purchase their new home, if they are “What is their minimum sale figure?” This may not always be answered but there’s no harm in trying, our motto is ask and you shall receive. “Are the vendors sale agreed on their new property?” If they are, they may be looking for quick sale agreed status in order not to lose what they have found. “Do they need the proceeds from this sale to purchase their new one?” They may not, which means they are in no rush. “When do they want to close?” If you are a first time buyer you are in a better position than many buyers and as long as your finance is in place you are a most attractive option to any vendor. Always let the Estate Agent know that you are finance approved and can close at the vendor’s discretion.
4 When you are ready to start bidding on a property, do not be afraid to BID QUICK AND BID LOW. For some reason a lot of buyers like to sit on the fence and wait for bidding to ease up and the sale to be closer to closing before putting in their offer. This doesn’t make sense for one main reason; if you are interested in a property that has no offers on it and you hold back you are running the risk of another buyer offering the guide price or higher. The only way to counter offer is by going higher so you could be saving money by offering early and low. Never offer the guide price as your first offer, keep the bids as low as possible, without insulting the vendor. Even if the Estate Agent laughs at your offer and informs you it will not buy the house, they still have an obligation to put your bid forward to the vendor and you have started the ball rolling. Don’t be disheartened if it is refused and never bid against yourself, unless you are given a guarantee from the Estate Agent that a specific higher bid will secure you the property.
5 Find out what is the POSITION OF OTHER BIDDERS. You may not be told but it’s worth asking about the people you may be bidding against. “Are they a first time buyer?” “Have they finance in place?” “Are they subject to sale?” If someone who is a less attractive buyer has just outbid you, you do not necessarily have to counter offer. Stick to your original offer informing the Estate Agent that your offer still stands, as you are a more secure bet for the vendor.  
6 Do not get confused, as a buyer, THE ESTATE AGENT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. He/She is working for the vendor and has the vendor’s interests at heart. Their job is to get the highest price possible for their client. Do not forget that.  
7 Know WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR SALE prior to bidding. Do not go blindly offering on a property without knowing what you are actually buying. If there are items in the house you want, ask if they can be included and if not, the vendor may sell them separately. On the other hand if you want the house completely cleared and nothing in it when you get your keys, tell your Solicitor and he/she can arrange for it to be a condition of sale in your contracts. It is a good idea also to ask the agent if you can inspect the house just prior to closing to ensure it is what you have asked for.  
8 Have your LEGAL affairs in order when you start bidding. When you go sale agreed on a property you want the vendor to know how serious you are and not have them thinking they have an unstable buyer. Your deposit and Solicitor’s details should be ready to hand over to the Estate Agent as soon as you have been told you are sale agreed. This will also reduce the risk of gazumping. A good and reputable Solicitor is extremely important when you are purchasing, it could mean the difference of a sale going through with ease or you losing the sale completely.  
9 Don’t forget your STAMP DUTY liability and other legal fees. Know the rates applicable to you when you are offering on a property and ensure you are still in budget. A lot of sales fall through as buyers get caught up with the excitement of buying a house and forget they will also have additional fees on top of the price of the property.
10 Always have a good SURVEYOR check out the property as soon as you are sale agreed. They are there to give you a more informed professional opinion on the property you are about to purchase. There may be many things wrong with a property that you can’t see. Some may be crucial to your budget, there may be work that has to be carried out on the property and even if it’s not immediate, it may affect your resale value.  

Buying a new home can often be stressful and time consuming. Try to think of it differently, it is a very exciting time in your life and you will always remember buying a home, just try and ensure you have fond memories of the transaction.