5 tips to secure a property in an overcrowded market

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Property market analyst and commentator, Kate Faulkner, shares her tips on how to secure a property if you’re competing with lots of people looking to buy or rent.

If you need to find a property and keep turning up to lots of viewings for rent or to buy only to find a queue of other people outside or you are limited to a 15 minute viewing, that is a horrible situation to be in and one that is tricky to overcome.

There are five things you can do to help yourself if the market is this busy:-

1. Wait until ‘out of season’ times. For example, many people don’t want to buy or rent from November to December time, so this can mean you help to reduce the amount of people you are competing with. Summertime tends to be odd. Some years everything goes very quiet, other years it can be equally hectic, so try during the school holidays and see if there are less people around.

2. Preparation is key. Make sure you turn up to viewings on-time whether buying or renting. Also if the landlord or the letting agent has a choice of which person to take on, the one who has all of their information to hand and is ‘ready to go’ is the one they are most likely to choose. So if buying, having your legal company ready, if renting, all of your identity information and evidence to show you can afford the property is essential, having good references from previous landlords, agents or work can help too.

3. From April 2016, anyone who owns a home can rent a room and secure £7,500 tax free. That’s a lot of extra cash and it means instead of renting a room in a house share with lots of other people, many friends/family might like to earn a bit of extra cash and you can rent a room in their home, especially if it’s quite big, which gives you a bit more freedom than you would if renting with lots of other people.

4. Look for alternative accommodation. For example, there are things like house boats, mobile homes and even some companies who own commercial premises who want someone to live in their premises and do so at a great price, but you are there to help keep the property secure, so bear in mind it could be a little lonely!

5. Consider buying elsewhere where the market isn’t so busy and if you can, agree to work a few days from say London, Oxford or Brighton and find somewhere to stay for a few nights a week that’s reasonable. I used to do this when working in Newbury. Instead of travelling great long distances from home, it was almost cheaper as I didn’t have the travel costs either. Currently I live just over an hour from London near Grantham. It’s about a quarter of the price of where much of my work comes from: London, but despite a few early starts and late evenings, it is, for me, absolutely worth it.