Now the election uncertainty has passed, market commentators are saying momentum will return to the UK housing market with fierce competition among buyers expected to resume as supply fails to keep up with demand. To investigate the lengths that buyers are willing to go to in order to secure a property in todays’ sellers’ market, QualitySolicitors conducted a survey* among over 500 people who have bought a property in the last 2 years.
The findings showed that the onus is now on buyers to market themselves better, bidding wars are commonplace and that many fail to get a mortgage in principle or solicitor in place to help them move quickly once an offer is accepted and demonstrate they are serious buyers.
The majority (88%) of buyers said they make an effort to make themselves appealing to the seller, including:
- Bribe-to-buy: Over one in 20 buyers (6%) admitted to offering the seller or estate agent a bribe to sway them into accepting their offer and a further 7% say they baked a cake or bought flowers to impress the seller
- Sweet-talking property shoppers: Over a quarter (26%) said they made conversation with the seller and were very polite
- Smart dresser: First impressions count for a sixth (14%) of buyers who make sure they look the part to impress the seller
- Cash in the bank: One in five (22%) will provide proof to the seller of cash in the bank to demonstrate they’re a good buyer
Surprisingly, despite these creative approaches, many buyers fail on some of the basic first steps that turn them into a ‘good buyer’ for the seller, with 72% failing to check they had a good credit rating, 59% not bothering to secure a mortgage in principle and 74% failing to get a solicitor in place to help them move things forward quickly.
Richard Carter, conveyancing expert at QualitySolicitors Martin Tolhurst comments, “In a sellers’ market, the onus is on the buyer to make themselves as appealing as possible. It is surprising to see so many buyers not getting the basics right, such as checking their credit rating or getting a mortgage in principle in place. Flowers and sweet talking are all very nice but many sellers just want to know you have the cash and experts in place to get things moving quickly. Unfortunately, as you miss out on properties it is natural to start to panic which can then lead to rash purchasing decisions. At QualitySolicitors, we offer free-first advice and advise any buyers looking for advice on how to make themselves as ‘marketable’ as possible to sellers to get in touch.’
* The QualitySolicitors housing market buyer behaviour research was conducted in March 2015 by OnePoll and asked over 500 respondents, who had bought a property in the last 2 years, for their views.