How best to prepare for buying a property in an overheated market

Property Reporter
18th June 2021
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Soaring demand and dwindling stock levels are not exclusive phenomena to the UK property market. Real estate firm, Cloud Nine Spain, has reported that they have had their busiest five-month spell in 20 years of doing business, resulting in a market where it can be almost impossible to secure the home you want.

Sean Woolley from Cloud Nine Spain shares his tips on how to make sure you’re in the right position to act and get the deal done and why it is now so important.

“Since the start of 2021, we have had our busiest five-month spell in 20 years of doing business on the Costa del Sol. The market has been outperforming all expectations, with a steady number of enquiries coming through and conversion rates which are double if not, triple, what we would usually see.

The high end of the market, €1m-€3m properties, has been particularly strong and there's now a shortage of stock. Because we have probably 80% of our clients chasing 20% of the available stock there’s a lot of competition and this is pushing many properties into an auction situation, leaving many disappointed house hunters. In order to not be in that position, you have to know what you want, be well-researched, come out here as soon as you’re able and be ready to act.

How to secure the property you want in a strong market

There’s no doubt that it's a hot market at the moment, particularly in the best areas, with properties priced competitively to sell. If you're not careful, and unless you can do things quickly, you're going to end up in an auction environment. And that's the last place you want to be in a market like this.

To give yourself the best chance of success, firstly make sure you work with the right people. Choose an agent who's going to be able to advise you on how best to conclude a deal, which areas to look in, which properties are hot, which areas are hot and how you can secure your perfect property.

Use the time before you come over to get your mortgage approval in place, and to get answers to all your questions about the legalities in the buying process. If you come over and you see the perfect property, there's no point making the visit if you're not prepared to act on it.

If you fall in love with something and you have to go and speak to lawyers and mortgage brokers, it's going to take another six weeks before you’re in a position to buy. Unfortunately, with the current demand, the property will likely have been sold by then.

My strong advice in this market is to get all your research done, make sure you're mortgage-approved, work out how much you have to spend and drill down to define what you want. This means that when you do come here and you do see a property that you like, you're in a really strong position, stronger than other buyers for the same property. With a local agent that you trust behind you, hopefully, you can rest assured that the property will be yours!

Personal experience of this competitive market

As well as acting for my clients, I’m actually trying to buy a house myself and have not been able to secure one despite making three offers and having over 20 years of experience in real estate.

I lost one house, even though I made an almost asking price offer because I couldn't quite complete in the timescales that the vendor wanted. Due to the demand, my delay led to the property going to an alternative buyer. I made a very good offer, transferred a reservation, sent a deposit to the lawyer and signed a reservation contract to try and get the deal done. Yet it still wasn't enough because there was somebody else who was in a better position to buy that property than I was.

I tried to buy another property, but this time there'd already been an offer made. And although there was no money down, the owner gave him first refusal, and so I lost that one as well! And that's a property that has been on the market for about three years. Then I tried to buy a plot of land, and that also went before I could secure a deal.

I know I’ll secure a great property, but it goes to show that even as somebody with over 20 years’ experience in this business who is doing deals all the time on behalf of clients, trained in the skills of buying and selling property, I have found myself behind the market. This is why I’m trying to equip my clients and other buyers with the right knowledge to be able to take the steps to prepare themselves and be ready to snap up a fantastic property on the Costa del Sol.”

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