Eight buyers for every house

With eight buyers chasing each house, how can you be sure they’ll pick you?

Updated: 
Homes for sale supply at record low

Estate agents say there are more people looking for a new home now than at any other time in the past 11 years. Meanwhile, the number of properties on the market has failed to keep pace - so that the average agent has 462 people looking to buy, and just 44 properties for sale. Buyers need the right approach to secure a house in this kind of market.

The report from the National Association of Estate Agents found that the number of houses for sale has finally started to increase, and went up 25% between June and July. However, it still falls way short of demand - so on average there are eight buyers chasing each home on the market.

The unbalanced nature of the market means it's proving tricky to complete a purchase. The average number of sales per branch remained stuck at nine over the course of the month. Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said this wasn't particularly surprising at this time of year, because so many sellers go on holiday and the sales process grinds to a halt for a few weeks.

However, he added that he hoped to see more sellers encouraged to come into the market by the increased activity, and the number of sales start to ramp up.

How to buy in a sellers' market

When you are trying to buy in this kind of market, you need the right tactics to ensure you are top of the pile when a seller is considering the offers on the table. There are five vital steps worth taking.

1. Get your mortgage agreed in principle.
If the lender has already indicated that they will lend what you need for a house, you will be able to move quickly when you find the right property. Sellers are looking for a stress-free sale, so this will appeal.

2. Get your mortgage broker to contact the estate agent
If you have a mortgage agreed, and you are using a broker, getting them to call the agent to confirm lending is in place will help your offer stand out from the others.

3. Sell your house first
If your home is sold (subject to contract), then the estate agent and the seller know you will be keen to sell as soon as possible so you're not holding your chain up. This will move you closer to the top of the pile.

4. Decide exactly what you want
Make your list of must-haves, and nice-to-haves, and be absolutely certain of them. You need to be able to look at a house and know quickly whether you can live with its drawbacks in order to take advantage of its plus points. That way, as soon as a house hits the market, you will know if you want to see it, and as soon as you see it you'll be able to move quickly with an offer.

5. Contact your estate agent regularly
It takes time to generate marketing details and upload them to the internet, and in the interim you can catch them on the phone and be first in through the door.

Property stories on AOL Money

Buffalo Bill's house goes on sale for $300,000

'Sky pool' to link London apartment blocks

Where are the nicest places to live?

10 property hotspots

10 property hotspots


How to Choose a Real Estate Agent